Thursday, July 07, 2011

An uncomfortable feeling.

I'm playing a new game called Far Cry 2. Unlike Massive Multiplayer games like World of Warcraft or First Person shooters this game has a HUGE open world and no rigid plot. You can go wherever you want. Despite the game being a few years old its still gorgeous. And the developers did a great job of keeping the game mechanics hidden. No heads up displays. To look at the map you physically pull out a map. Same with getting in and out of cars. All smoothly animated. It helps keep the world feeling real. There's changing weather and cycles of day and night. If you are injured you have to stop and perform first aid on yourself.

  And while all that is great I'm having a hard time continuing the game. It's set in a fictional African Nation in a brutal civil war. I've been sent in to kill "The Jackal". A shadowy arms dealer supplying both factions. But in the process of gathering intel I am forced to work with both factions doing fairly horrible things. Destroying important infrastructure, assassinating citizens and political leaders. Yes, some of them are corrupt, but others...who can tell?  Arms dealers hire me to knock off competition. An occasional phone call from a faceless voice sends me off to kill someone without any context of who they are.There seems to be an underground attempting to get people out of the way of the fighting, but helping them does nothing to slow the conflict.

 Yes, it's just a game.  I've killed thousands of mutants, aliens, zombies and faceless soldiers in other games. This is different. The militias wear no uniforms. Mercenaries roam the countryside.  They speak in thick South African accents and seem to delight in the conflict and the money they are making. (The local currency is uncut diamonds, another nod to an all too bloody reality of Africa) It all strikes a little too close to reality.  I'm not very keen to keep going on missions for these thugs that are partnered with or controlled by foreign mercenaries.