Far Cry 3 Aims at Cliches But Ends Up Criticizing Gamers
Yeah, that’s right. You get to kill your naggy, fun-hating “girlfriend.” Preferably by yelling a great one-liner at your TV, like, “No, you have no ambition and are going nowhere in your life!”
Far Cry 3 portrays this as a red pill/blue pill choice — pick the red pill (kill your girlfriend), stay in Wonderland (Rook Island). Pick blue (save everyone), go home. Killing your friends and staying in the game cuts to the next scene of Jason banging Citra, complete with her top off for your viewing delight. And in the final seconds, she stabs you (Jason) in the heart and says, “You win.”
That’s the blue pill, in fact — the final insult, the kick out of Wonderland. When your adolescent fantasy is at its height, the game kills you and tells you what a fool you are. “You win.” It was all for nothing, you died at the end, and, oh yeah, those are digital fake boobs, which makes them faker than porn.
Saving your friends is the red pill. It keeps you in the fantasy. It lets you maintain the fiction that you’re a “nice guy,” a hero, that all this time you spent with this video game was good for something, that you’re not lured by digital boobs. You get to keep playing games instead of being shown what a waste it all is.
In Killscreen’s review of Far Cry 3, Joseph Bernstein writes that FC3 is the first game about the Millenial generation, and that the whole game is about ditching your first-world problems and growing up through Jason Brody. I’d argue it’s the exact opposite — the entire game is a mirror of Brody’s listless spending of money and accomplishing of nothing portrayed in cutscenes. The entire game is filled with faceless enemies you kill by the thousands, animals you hunt for really no good reason, and bosses you fight and kill in dream states. It’s power fantasy after power fantasy, literally stacked on top of each other. It doesn’t culminate in “growing up” or facing “real-world problems.” It culminates in your getting the absolute height of adolescent fantasy — for Jason, it’s literally f–king a hot exotic fantasy woman who’s all about him and his tattoos and his assault rifle. Then she kills you at the height of the fantasy because that’s all it is, and you ought to f–king grow up already.
I can’t think of a game that has made me feel more like an overgrown child ever, in my entire life, than Far Cry 3 has. It’s a literal criticism of many gamers — maybe just those male gamers at whom such tropes and stereotypes are aimed — whether it means to be or not. But if you choose the “good guy” ending, you’ll miss the point entirely. Unfortunately, that point doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s a worthwhile discussion to ask us why we might take pleasure in these various adolescent mainstays, but Far Cry 3 doesn’t offer an alternative, and an insult isn’t nearly the same thing as a thoughtful comment.