I’m having a tough time getting words to come out of my brain today. I started writing this post around 4 hours ago, and between constant work interruption and my utter inability to maintain any semblance of focus, I’ve made it no further than this introduction.
It’s not that I went all wild and crazy for my birthday this weekend; far from it, in fact. But it is true that I’ve not been sleeping well lately, and when my alarm clock went off this morning I felt very much like I was dead. I took one of those mindless 20 minute shower-trances where I would stare off into space and then suddenly wonder if I had already put shampoo in my hair, or if I was simply waiting the required 3-5 minutes before I could rinse.
Anyway, here I am, in a quiet moment at work, with my mind (when it’s working) far away in the land of Far Cry 3.
I suppose it’s good that I can’t really think right now, because even though I’m having an enormous amount of fun with FC3, it’s the sort of game where I’m afraid that over-analyzing it will ruin it. It’s like, yes, it was enormously astute of some critics to point out how bizarre it was that eating years-old potato chips in Bioshock actually granted health bonuses instead of taking them away, but the game was still awesome; likewise, if I spend too much time thinking that even though the protagonist in FC3 goes from “I’m afraid of even looking at a gun” to “Holy shit this flamethrower is fucking amazing!” in a very short amount of time, killing human beings by the dozens along the way, he still says “Ewww…..” while skinning his hundredth animal.
I mean, look – there’s a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief that any gamer needs to have while playing a game with guns. Leaving aside mechanical tropes like regenerating health and the ability to take more than one bullet hit and not immediately fall down dead, there’s lots of things that gamers need to ignore in order for a game’s narrative logic to not completely fall apart. I’ve talked before about Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake and the dizzying amount of cognitive disassociation necessary for the gamer to accept that Drake isn’t a serial-murdering psychopath (who, according to my stats, murdered over 700 people in Uncharted 3) but rather a fun, charming ruffian who gets in and out of “scrapes.” This is all to say that while I appreciate FC3’s writers trying to make the player character less of a mutant super-soldier and more of a normal dude, they either need to fully commit to the premise and have him get used to skinning animals, or just leave it alone altogether.
As for the game itself.
I’d finally gotten to the point where I’d done so much dicking around (exploring, ascending radio towers, reclaiming outposts, hunting and crafting, etc.) that I actually had too much XP – i.e., it seems that a lot of the skill tree is locked until you do more story missions. And while screwing around is fun in and of itself, it turns out that you can have more fun if you have access to some of those locked skills. So, I turned back to the story last night and decided to see what’s what.
Whaddya know, the story missions are also pretty awesome. I escaped from a burning building and rescued my girlfriend, and now I’m on some sort of vision quest for the island’s high priestess, where I’ve made my way to a shanty village called “Badtown” and hooked up with some far-out CIA dude who’s having me run errands for him.
The narrative is still taking shape; there’s now apparently a super-villain that even the psychopathic Vaas must answer to, and I’m not quite sure where this high priestess / jungle mysticism thing is going, but as long as I get to continue running around and do the things I’m already doing, I’ll be happy.
I also finished the story mode in Lego Lord of the Rings, which was a lot of fun (albeit with the same stupid platforming bullshit that has plagued the Lego games since the beginning), and I’m slowly going through the game again with the intent of getting 100%. My wife is a huge LOTR fan, too, and she’s been having fun watching the strange incongruities that can happen in the post-completion phase of the game, like having Sauron and Frodo run around together solving puzzles.