Far Cry 4 May Be An Amazing Game but Its Morality Leaves Me Wanting More
I’ll preface this by saying I’m very early on in my Kyrat adventure. So far, Far Cry 4 plays very similarly to the third installment. I’m still working out precisely where Kyrat actually is – although the mission to the Himalayas does help narrow it down.
Personally, I enjoyed the trip to Indonesia in Far Cry 3 but that’s neither here nor there.
While I’m absolutely in love with the game, I find the missions surrounding the leadership of the Golden Path thoroughly inane. The story has you listen to proposals by two people vying for leadership of the Golden Path. You are then given the choice of whose plan to follow in each mission. One of the candidates is a no-nonsense, bloodthirsty, war dog woman, Amita and the other is a cautious man, Sabal, who favours saving hostages over striking blows against the Royal Army. It’s all a fairly transparent attempt to subvert gender stereotypes so well hats off there, Ubisoft.
These decisions are tricky at best. On one hand, there’s saving captured soldiers. On the other, stealing intelligence to prevent an attack. They’re the sort of decisions, made with ambiguous information, that real world tacticians have to face. This does have some merit as far as lending the narrative some gravitas though the consequences really irk me.
I sided with Amita and I expect this is why I had a few extra moments to set up defenses and plan our strategy for handling a skirmish. The fallout of this is that Sabal spent the next mission briefing chewing me out. Fair enough, if some random upstart flouted my authority and got friends killed, I’d give him hell too.
The problem, however, is that I’ve got no option but to sit there and take this verbal abuse. If either decision results in an argument, this generates the feeling that no matter what you choose, you’re wrong. I can’t help but feel that this isn’t only frustrating but, if taken to the extreme, makes the player feel like they should stop playing. Or stop doing the main quest at least. Essentially the same thing.
Skyrim, for example, has characters that berate you on a regular basis. At least it gives you the illusion of being able to fight back. Even if it is through scripted responses and just a mirage. Ulfric may laugh derisively as I debate my point with him but at least I can feel like I’m trying to argue. If all else fails I’ve got the option of blasting him into the stratosphere.
Maybe the feeling of futility is an inevitability of war. It’s true but Far Cry 4 is also a game and we need progress and, at least some, validation to make playing worthwhile.