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Across the vast and beautiful terrain of chaos that was Rook Island, hours upon hours of my life were invested in the liberation of pirate camps and the scaling of radio towers. At the substantial 15-hour mark, I had thoroughly completed the main storyline and the game’s intent for me was to continue on with the plethora of shenanigans that the island still had to offer. Yet, there was a motivation that was needed to do so, and the resolution of Jason Brody’s experience on Rook Island left me without it. Why? What was it that was so unsatisfactory that I couldn’t find it in myself to complete the adventurous tasks that seemed to have drawn me very easily before?

A soul search was in order. This game was, without a doubt, my favorite of the year (judging from my 2012 award selections). It integrated everything needed to hoist the Farcry franchise into stardom, and to take a step further, the vocal performances were absolutely off the charts. Was it the mechanics? No. Every action was achieved with relatively simple and smooth controller-work and was pretty commonplace and familiar among FPS’s. Was it the boring “go fetch this many of this and bring them back to me” quest structure? Nope. Every mission seemed to have a goal that set itself apart from the others (i.e. the burning of the huge marijuana fields to the tune of Skrillex/Damien Marley collaboration. Awesome.). Oh, it must have been the linear design of the quests that didn’t give me freedom to achieve the objectives in whatever manner I saw fit… WRONG! There we so many ways that each mission could have been accomplished that I spent most of my time debating which one would be the most satisfying/efficient.

But then, I found it. The one and only aspect of Farcry 3 that shot for a target and missed completely was its execution of the highest points of the story. The deaths of Buck, Hoyt, and, dare I say it, Vaas. The departure from Rook Island that could not be achieved without disaster within the Rakyat tribe or, if you chose to do so, your remaining on the island to provide a new leader to the tribe. These were points in the game that I had poured my gorgeous hi-definition blood, sweat, and tears into reaching, only to be robbed of the satisfaction by weird and trippy sequences that left more questions than answers. For example, Hoyt was the source of every bit of Jason’s suffering. He was the Ganon to Jason’s Link, the Bowser to his Mario, and his demise had been a prize to achieve. So, as Jason has finally infiltrated his ranks and had enough with his monkey business, the time was upon him to die. So, what do I as a worthy gamer get to participate in? An obscure mind-trip that blacks out everything except for Jason and Hoyt, a sequence button-punch-in-time mechanics, and the revealing of everyone in the room dead with blood everywhere. Uhh…. What just happened?

In another instance, with our buddy Buck having done God-knows-what to one of the friends we had set out to rescue, his life needed to end. So instead of having this epic battle that you get to fully experience as it is happening, Hulk-mode ensues, and we wake up to see him on the floor. You can’t be serious….

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The biggest and most terrible of these travesties, though, came with the death of arguably the best executed character of all time from a writing/designing/acting standpoint. Vaas Montenegro embodied everything that Rook Island was and what Jason Brody was becoming. His unpredictable nature and, quite frankly, the “definition of insanity” monologue created an atmosphere that was addicting and I couldn’t wait to see the next scene he was in. So, first of all, when he ended up not being the main antagonist, I was a little disturbed considering the cover art and advertising, but it’s ok. I was ready to forgive. Until my final pursuit of this psychopath ensued and concluded. And how did that go? Let me try to explain this: Hulk-mode, TV screens, glowing knife in my chest, dead man opens his eyes and smiles. Confused? YEAH ME TOO! 

So what was going on during these sequences, I was wondering? Continued to wonder. Am still wondering. Is Vaas dead? Is he not? Is that really it? So I did what all video game junkies do when something doesn’t seem to go how they expected it. I took to the internet, only to find that I wasn’t the only one with this issue. What were the designers thinking with using this trippy tactic? Ok, I understand the whole island experience was a little surreal and hippy-fied, but I need closure, people.

And just like that, I became disappointed in the game that, in my opinion, took the top spot this year. Do I still feel that way? Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, the game was amazing. This aspect was annoying and will forever leave a sense of dissatisfaction in my mind, but that’s ok. Ubisoft will correct it. If I’m lucky, which I certainly hope I am, Vaas will come waltzing back onto the screen in one of Farcry’s future installments and I’ll be absolutely ok with the questions I was left with. But, in the end, there was a better way to go about this and the other key plot points as well.

So there you are, Ubisoft. You’ll think twice before crossing Jacob again, now won’t ya?

 


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