Grasping At Immorality: A Tale of Two Games

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The first thing that sprang to mind? Joker's speech to Harvey Dent during the hospital scene in The Dark Knight.

"If I announced tomorrow that I was going to shoot a gangbanger...or blow up a truckload of soldiers...nobody bats an eyelash. But if I try to shoot one little mayor, well, everybody just loses their minds!!"

In Far Cry 2, whether you're destroying freshwater pipelines or malarial aid stations, the people you kill are always armed, always out to kill you, and so it feels no different than anything else really. But when you're placed in front of a group of unarmed civilians with a 100-round clip machinegun, people are bound to get a little worked up about things.

Agreed with Rmx above though that Andy seems to have more or less COMPLETELY missed the point of Far Cry 2. The whole game was designed to make you ask questions about your morality while offering absolutely no benefits or detriments gameplay-wise; there are no alternate endings, no secret upgrades, whether you choose to blow up that malaria station or give your dying buddy a mercy-kill is entirely up to your own moral compass.

The only exception to that might be the arms dealer missions (you unlock more guns with them) but that once again goes back to Joker's point; if you traffick weapons of death, I think it's expected that you'd die under the smoking barrel of one.

Andy approached Far Cry 2 probably like he did with most games, which was the lack of consequence becoming interpreted as encouragement to go wild. Oh and also with a short attention span. I like how he conveniently forgets to mention the conflict diamonds used to buy the freedom of refugees, too--THOSE WERE MISSIONS REQURIED TO PROGRESS, HOW DID HE MISS THEM?!

In that regard, it might less be a failing of Andy to appreciate FC2's nuances, and instead be FC2's inability to convey its messages to the average FPS gamer.

Calling it a run-of-the-mill shooter hurts, by the way.

Well I don't have much to add to this that hasn't already been thoroughly abused, raped, and plastered to the street thinner then the average Alex Mercer victim. But I do remember the MW2 scene had some narrative purpose...even if it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense.

*Spoilers, be warned fairly ye fan boys*

The solder selected at the end of the first mission is the adopted into the CIA (formerly America's dirty hand/black-ops) and told he's going to be stuck next to this heartless arms dealer. Now supposedly you are to stick with this ass as a mole and feed America information he tells you about up coming plots and deals...presumably to give the stock market a heads up. Your character finds himself dragged into the airport massacre without forewarning. You play along with and then finally into Malkrov's hands. He expected America to spy on him and he used THAT to start a war, from which he could profit. Without the end of the Airport scene you have no idea why America is under attack from both coasts, and from the Russians at that. Now to be clear; this doesn't excuse the rest of the disjointed plot, but the airport level is the explanation as to why you fight in the American solders side of the game. I haven't played the game without the level in question so I'm not sure if they sum in up to you in between, but other then a brief flash in the back ground of a cut scene you have no idea what started the war. It could have easily been a cutscene itself, yes....but the whole idea of MW is to see things thru the invovled peoples eyes and get a sense of just what...if anything....lies beyond the trenches.

Interesting opinions, but I think both RMX and Skytorn are the ones missing the point here.

rmx687:
Throughout the game, the worst you can do is help the factions get a one up on eachother and take a quick paycheck.

Really? I thought murdering a man because he sold a merc buddy of man a crappy used car a couple years back was the worst thing I could do. Or close to it, at least; I kinda lost track after awhile. I wonder how exactly that helped the revolution?

Skytorn:
Andy approached Far Cry 2 probably like he did with most games, which was the lack of consequence becoming interpreted as encouragement to go wild. Oh and also with a short attention span. I like how he conveniently forgets to mention the conflict diamonds used to buy the freedom of refugees, too--THOSE WERE MISSIONS REQURIED TO PROGRESS, HOW DID HE MISS THEM?!

Oh, you mean the very last mission in the game, when you suddenly, for no apparent reason, agree to save the country and then commit suicide because the guy you were sent there to kill in the first place says you have to? Where I come from, we call that a half-assed, hastily-tacked-on ending designed to give the thing a false feeling of gravitas. I thought it was actually quite a let-down, a cop-out really; a way to make gamers feel better about spending 95% of FC2 being the worst human being on the face of the planet.

It's a very simple matter: Modern Warfare 2 has players doing bad things for good reasons, while Far Cry 2 has players doing worse things for terrible reasons. Unless someone can come up with a better explanation (and that'd take some convincing) it's either hypocrisy, stupidity or gross ignorance.

unsupported defenses of a game

One other thing, even though I don't really want to turn this into an off-topic conversation: What exactly am I defending?

Malygris:

One other thing, even though I don't really want to turn this into an off-topic conversation: What exactly am I defending?

You said Modern Warfare 2 "portrays complex heroism."

I forgot about the side mission over the car...

Meh, screw the whole thing. Go watch Generation Kill. You'll get far more entertainment and social commentary than CoD:MW2 and FC2 combined.

Malygris:
Interesting opinions, but I think both RMX and Skytorn are the ones missing the point here.

Right, my bad, the refugee missions weren't done with conflict diamonds. I forgot, you straight up deliver passports to refugees, to help them leave the country, in exchange for malaria pills that keep your sickness at bay. That helps my point! If MW2 is about bad things for good reasons, then those missions (REQUIRED FOR PROGRESSION) are about good things (helping the African version of the underground railroad) for a natural reason (staying alive).

I approached Far Cry 2 like a role-playing game in the truest sense, and evidently the writers did too. Besides from your brief biography you are basically a blank slate, absent of any motivations or morality--

But just because the game fails to impose on you motivations doesn't mean those motivations are absent. They are present, they are YOURS and YOURS ALONE. Whether you blow up a water station or subvert the mission by striking a blow against the two factions, it is entirely up to you (unless all your buddies are dead and therefore unable to offer you option #2, but the game's reasoning is if you can't even spare the syrette to heal them you are unlikely to be a good enough guy to choose a second option). If you want to be the most monstrous mercenary that ever walked the earth, you are given that choice--or you can try to walk the line of a good guy caught in a bad place.

That's my point. IT'S ALL UP TO YOU. You have, as have Andy, confused "you can" with "you must". Every day, even in real life, we're given the option of just plain flipping out on our fellows, but even when there would be no significant consequences behind these actions (like, for example, the abuse or harassment a boss might sic on his subordinates) most of us choose not to, don't we? That's morality. That's a lot more real to me than MW2's "you're actually a good guy so don't worry about it".

Even in MW2, when roles are thrust upon you, you can still subvert the morality that was trying to be imposed--imagine people who gleefully mowed down the civvies in the airport (and they absolutely exist); sure, they're still playing a CIA agent but their actions are decidedly unheroic and in a real-life context would be considered downright monstrous, motivation.

If you had bothered to read the rest of my reply while your eyes were unglazed, you might've been able to comment on these points the first time I said them.

I'm sorry if this is starting to sound harsh, but you implied that I was hypocritical, stupid, or ignorant--and I think I've been tame in comparison.

"For what I'm pretty sure was the first time in my gaming life, I had actual moral qualms about what I was being asked to do."

Right, and condemning the whole innocent, miserable and disgruntled population of Megaton in Fallout 3 to destruction and radioactive death meant nothing?
Boy, gimme a piece of whatever it is you're on

rmx687:
This is due to the biggest failure of "No Russian" mission in MW2: it has no substantive purpose to the plot, and fails to stand as anything other than shock value to facilitate its buzz. Makarov completely evaporates as a villain throughout the rest of the story, the conflict with his organization is never resolved, you even ask him for his help at the end of the game to take out a villain with even less evident motives. There is no meaningful value a player can extract from the level.

This. Makarov serves almost no purpose in the game, and the only thing indicating that he's even in the game after the airport mission is somebody saying "hey, we need to go here and do this so we can find Makarov." I couldn't have cared less about the guy. It's nothing like, say, Final Fantasy VII where the villain makes regular appearances and you have a very good reason to chase after him (not just because the plot demands it, but because you really want to kill him).

As for moral choices, I find that my reluctance to be a bad guy in games like Baldur's Gate is largely caused by the fact that being a good guy nets you better rewards and other advantages. Having genuine moral dilemmas in games is impossible, because there are no real consequences for anything. It's just a game, and you can always load a save or start over.

Tonimata:
Right, and condemning the whole innocent, miserable and disgruntled population of Megaton in Fallout 3 to destruction and radioactive death meant nothing?

Not if you didn't do it. Which I didn't. Fallout 3 gives the choice: "Blow up Megaton, or save it." Far Cry 2 gives you another kind of choice: "Do what you're told or turn off the game and play something else."

Skytorn:
But just because the game fails to impose on you motivations doesn't mean those motivations are absent.

But the motivation is present: Money. That's it. It's not as though you have the option to ignore the missions you're given; your only choice is whether or not to pile some extra mayhem on top at the behest of one of your merc buddies.

bagodix:
Having genuine moral dilemmas in games is impossible, because there are no real consequences for anything. It's just a game, and you can always load a save or start over.

Absolutely true. Which is one of the things I found most interesting about Far Cry 2; instead of making some bullshit pretense about morality, it strips it from the equation completely and just makes you a douchebag.

Malygris:

Absolutely true. Which is one of the things I found most interesting about Far Cry 2; instead of making some bullshit pretense about morality, it strips it from the equation completely and just makes you a douchebag.

That isn't true. What Skytorn is trying to get across, and I wholeheartedly agree, is that Far Cry 2 is more of an RPG than most actual RPG's that have come out recently. You have a choice on how to tackle missions and even the one where you kill the guy who sold one of your buddies a bad car, you don't have to do it. You can do other buddy missions or anything else and cancel it out. Your character is literally a blank slate, as Skytorn said, and the only impact the story forces on you are the feelings you get from the actions you take.

You still haven't explained how Modern Warfare 2 "portrays complex heroism".

Silk_Sk:
Frankly, I'm amazed Prototype hasn't raised any eyebrows either. The words "civilian massacre" just do not do the game justice.

Amen to that. Prototype just sort of assumes you have no problem with curbstomping innocent bystanders so hard they explode and then consuming their bodies to sustain yourself. It all justifies itself with about one line of dialogue in which Alex Mercer says "Cuz I'm special."

Yet compare that single scene - which is, I would hope, ultimately a look at the tangled web of higher causes - to the entirety of Far Cry 2, a game in which running people down and setting them on fire is something you do while driving yourself to other areas of the game, where you'll do the really bad stuff. Far Cry 2 is one of the most utterly amoral games I've ever played, yet it rated nary a wagging finger from anyone except dissatisfied game critics. Can someone explain this to me?

Because who gives a monkey's anus about Africa?

/sarcasm

Indeed, this guy raises some good points. But despite enjoying every second of Far Cry 2 through the 2 playthroughs I did of it, I never once cared for what I was doing. I'm guessing in all seriousness it's partly because it was set in Africa.

Here in the western world we're more likely to be uproared by a scene that shows civilians from our culture being brutaly tortured and murdered than in Africa. In fact, Far Cry 2 might as we'll have been set in middle earth.

Also, rarely do you ever see innocent civilians in FC2. If you ever do, they're cowering in their homes and you cannot kill them under any circumstance. Had you been given the choice to shoot them in the face in the middle of a field then perhaps it would've been a different story.

mechanixis:

Silk_Sk:
Frankly, I'm amazed Prototype hasn't raised any eyebrows either. The words "civilian massacre" just do not do the game justice.

Amen to that. Prototype just sort of assumes you have no problem with curbstomping innocent bystanders so hard they explode and then consuming their bodies to sustain yourself. It all justifies itself with about one line of dialogue in which Alex Mercer says "Cuz I'm special."

I've only watched videos of it, but perhaps it's because it's so ludicrously over-the-top and fantasie it would be impossible for anyone to take it seriously or act out any of what happens in that game... unless you're a real life sorcerer?

rmx687:
Far Cry 2 is more of an RPG than most actual RPG's that have come out recently.

What? Is this a serious statement?

I think we're done here.

Malygris:

rmx687:
Far Cry 2 is more of an RPG than most actual RPG's that have come out recently.

What? Is this a serious statement?

I think we're done here.

I know exactly what he means. Far Cry 2 is a role-playing game in the truest sense because, Christ, just go read my previous posts.

Malygris:

But the motivation is present: Money. That's it. It's not as though you have the option to ignore the missions you're given; your only choice is whether or not to pile some extra mayhem on top at the behest of one of your merc buddies.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that your memory is failing, rather than it just being you lying through your teeth, or not knowing what the word "extra" means--but you can ABSOLUTELY ignore the missions you were given, BY SUBVERTING IT WITH ONE OF YOUR MERC BUDDIES. You don't blow up the water station AND the opposing faction trying to take it out! You CHOOSE one of the two! That's the point! Choice!

Money's everywhere. You can get the conflict diamonds that get you guns by doing any number of other missions with more morally justifiable underpinnings--hell, if you really don't want to, you can just pick these diamonds up in scavenger quests.

But what puts a gigantic, tree-sized stake through the heart of your argument is that this money, for which you ostensibly are doing atrocities for, are paid to you by your employer BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY DO THEM. From there, you can team with your merc buddy or be a complete monster--which goes back to the moral choice that I'm talking about.

The only time when your point is valid is the arms dealer missions, which I addressed in my post via Joker's speech about the "plan"--at this point you're just holding fingers in your ear and singing "lalala" now. Pathetic.

If you played the game like a douchebag, Malygris, that's all you. That's not your character. The choice to blow up a water station was your choice, no one said "but thou must" to you. MW2 would be analogous if they gave you the choice of mowing down Makarov instead, but you don't, do you? You gotta do it, and that takes out the morality of the situation entirely.

Skytorn:
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that your memory is failing, rather than it just being you lying through your teeth, or not knowing what the word "extra" means--but you can ABSOLUTELY ignore the missions you were given, BY SUBVERTING IT WITH ONE OF YOUR MERC BUDDIES. You don't blow up the water station AND the opposing faction trying to take it out! You CHOOSE one of the two! That's the point! Choice!

You're obviously getting pretty worked up over this. You're completely off-base and the point that I think you're trying to make isn't particularly relevant to the original article anyway, but before I attempt to drop this completely I think we should look at this "water station" you're yelling about.

You have two choices: One, blow up the pipeline to deny fresh water to the people of neighbouring countries, or two, disable an automatic cutoff system, THEN blow up the pipeline, denying fresh water to the people of neighbouring countries and also flooding the UFLL's diamond mine and clearing the general area of troops.

So you can blow shit up, or you can blow shit up and flood shit. It's great that you can enjoy it at that level but personally, I'm not seeing a lot of either choice or role-playing opportunities there. And now I think we should move on.

Malygris:

Tonimata:
Right, and condemning the whole innocent, miserable and disgruntled population of Megaton in Fallout 3 to destruction and radioactive death meant nothing?

Not if you didn't do it. Which I didn't. Fallout 3 gives the choice: "Blow up Megaton, or save it." Far Cry 2 gives you another kind of choice: "Do what you're told or turn off the game and play something else."

I still did it to see if the game really was serious. Damn my curiosity. Although we have to bear in mind that there's other games that pose ammorality in a much more aceeptable way than Far Cry 2 (Quote [PROTOTYPE]). Maybe it's because you're playing the role of a pseudo-God, and even get named as one, but the amoral things you get to do in it simply don't seem to have the same weight as being a mortal and rather fragile human. Like humans tend to be.

Tonimata:
I still did it to see if the game really was serious. Damn my curiosity. Although we have to bear in mind that there's other games that pose ammorality in a much more aceeptable way than Far Cry 2 (Quote [PROTOTYPE]). Maybe it's because you're playing the role of a pseudo-God, and even get named as one, but the amoral things you get to do in it simply don't seem to have the same weight as being a mortal and rather fragile human. Like humans tend to be.

This may be true (never played Prototype) but the point, which I think we've long left behind, isn't whether any one game is more or less "moral" than another, but that MW2 is far from the worst, yet it's the one generating all the OH NOES MAKING KIDS TERRISTS uproar. Far Cry 2 has players doing far worse things, yet Ubi can slap an "M" on it and throw it out the door, and nobody raises an eyebrow. Does that make sense to you?

A lot of people keep bringing up Prototype. I guess the reason why there was no real emphasis on the whole killing civilian was because the way I saw it they were doomed anyway. The bridge is the only way out of the city. The militarty set up turrets on it that shoot anything that tries to cross including civilians. So if the military doesn't kill the people the ever growing horde of infected will. Sure you can not kill people but they're pretty much dead anyway was the way I saw it.

Very funny article. Gotta love the irony!

a very interesting article. i won't repeat the posts you made near the end about it's popularity or setting.

A lot of your argument is based on the context of a game. IE: the THOUGHT of cutting off malaria medication to an african village. But there's a whole new plateau we judge games by. and that's CONTENT

in far cry 2 you never saw the repercussions of your actions. You never saw the africans dying of malaria or the family of the truck driver you just IED'd. And even if you did, why would you care? EVERYONE WANTS TO KILL YOU. There are no civilians (except the ones hiding in houses waiting for passports). Enemies don't behave in a very immersive way. They scratch their heads and grunt, occasionally making conversation about how beating babies to death in front of their raped mothers is funny. You couldn't sympathise with them.

Now Modern Warfare 2. I watched the mission on youtube. HOLY FUCK. It was just WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL. First of all, you've seen people queueing up at airports just like you see on your holidays in everyday life. It's a realistic setting, not fantasy post-apocolypse. We can imagine ourselves being in the queue waiting.

The gameplay is fucking disgraceful! You've got men crying holding their guts in crawling along the floor, people dragging their dead friends away from the gunfight. People screaming and running for their lives whilst you emrcilessly run down trembling guards with an LMG laughing. And the graphics and animation of these civilians were ALMOST PERFECT. You really do feel like you're a mass murdering terrorist, unlike GTA where you're a young MC hammer in a mad cartoon world.

I'm a very logical thinker, and have thought a lot of about this so I'm not jumping the bandwagon, but this level is fucking shocking. and the fact it's skippable doesn't mask the fact the developers created a game with civilian-slaughtering mechanics. And let's face it; WHO is actually going to skip the level? Unless you've actually seen how horrendous the level is the curiosity is going to get to you. It's like they've wrapped a present, left it in front of you and said "You probably shouldn't open this if you're a pussy"

This is crossing the line, by far. It's disgusting and morally depraved. Video game or not, they've crossed the line.

13752:
Now Modern Warfare 2. I watched the mission on youtube. HOLY FUCK. It was just WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL.

Yeah, it was. The terrorists stroll through the area and fire from the hip, secure in the knowledge that Plot Armor will neutralize any threat they may face, including the player emptying a machine gun into their backs at point blank range. The security guards make life easy for our intrepid villains by practically throwing themselves at their bullets. In ordinary circumstances the tactical forces would prove troublesome (i.e. fatal), but today we will have none of that because we've got Plot Armor (and nevermind the fact that without Plot Armor the whole plot would have failed, because the terrorists would have all died).

And then Russia goes to war (pretty much ensuring their own destruction) because they find one dead American at the scene. It's as if the US is now responsible for all of its citizens.

Yes, it's wrong. On every level.

This is crossing the line, by far. It's disgusting and morally depraved. Video game or not, they've crossed the line.

But movies depicting similiar scenes of violence have crossed no lines? There's never any Moral Outrage when movies like Saw and Hostel are released. In fact, Saw is so popular that they're working on the seventh fucking goddamn movie now, and will keep going until it's no longer profitable.

Malygris:

Tonimata:
I still did it to see if the game really was serious. Damn my curiosity. Although we have to bear in mind that there's other games that pose ammorality in a much more aceeptable way than Far Cry 2 (Quote [PROTOTYPE]). Maybe it's because you're playing the role of a pseudo-God, and even get named as one, but the amoral things you get to do in it simply don't seem to have the same weight as being a mortal and rather fragile human. Like humans tend to be.

This may be true (never played Prototype) but the point, which I think we've long left behind, isn't whether any one game is more or less "moral" than another, but that MW2 is far from the worst, yet it's the one generating all the OH NOES MAKING KIDS TERRISTS uproar. Far Cry 2 has players doing far worse things, yet Ubi can slap an "M" on it and throw it out the door, and nobody raises an eyebrow. Does that make sense to you?

In a normal day, I'd have to say no, but after being exposed to a reduced, yet irreductible group of the most despicable, spoilt and disgusting little brats I've ever seen in my life, and considering that I've been working in my mother's summer school for a while now, I have to say HELL no. I'm honestly worried about the fact that not many, way too many crimes and the corruption of our future generations are blamed on our culture and method of escapism, but after seeing the results, I can't deny that there might be some truth in it. After all, children are, if anything, impressionable, and it's undeniable that they are in constant search for attitudes to copy and values to adopt. Although it's always the parents fault for letting them buy these games (The other day I went to buy Modern Warfare 2 and a kid not far past his 8 years of age couldn't decide if he should get Assassin's creed 2, Modern Warfare 2, or Gears of War 2), it's revolting to see the effects of such carelessness on these poor, innocent souls, corrupted by circumstances.

On the other hand, I still cannot understand how on Earth do the parents always manage to point out the negative part of the argument when it comes to games and the influence these have on their children. It is true that Modern Warfare touches some very delicate aspects of human society and, more importantly, human psyche, which, like I said before, can be influential on their children, but indeed so does Far Cry 2. In fact, I can't remember there being so much hatred towards Far Cry 2 as there was towards Resident Evil 5. At least all you did in the latter was shoot African zombies, whereas in the prior you could, and quoting you, deny a whole village its water supply, THEN kill 'em all.

My opinion is, and regardless that it has been said before, that games that can sell so much as MW2 are not only always going to be an easier target due to their size for unfair, baseless criticism than a less hyped game. It's also rather notorious how everyone completely overlooked the fact that Infinity Ward is trying to implement a message in their games. Maybe it wasn't so clear in the first one, and with the terrifyingly breathtaking final scene, were you see the characters you've gone through a whole game and way too many bloody battles fall like leaves to Russian gunfire, you'd think the message "War is bad" is clear enough, but when the main campaign of the second game calls itself "For the Record", you immediately know they're up to something. When the campaign portrays some of the most gruesome, mind-numbing aspects of war and the extents some people are ready to reach to in it, the message is made clear. When you, as the main character, go through constant near-death experiences, perhaps as many as a real soldier (a really lucky soldier) could go through in his life, specially the last one, then the message buries itself deep inside you.

It's sad that there's so many thick heads out there. And of course, a message cannot compete with bullets. Something terribly shameful

You don't get the point here. It's not about killing innocents. It's about the fact that there are actually NO such thing as a Russian terrorist (except the times when Tsar/Emperor ruled Russia).
MW2: They shown Russian terrorists and offended us, Russians, because there's no Russian terrorists exist now.
Far Cry 2: Can't see what's so wrong with it.

Iv played both games. I did not finish Farcry, because it broke half way through. quite the piss off that was. Cod 4(2) "No Russian" mission was a bit...un nerving to say the least. the elevator doors opended and then it was just a mess of bodies. but really...there might have been like what, 5 security guards there in that airport? (not counting the riot shield equipped Swat teams that show up later). with all the airport scares in the past 10 years, you would think Russia, a country that isn't afraid to flex its military muscles, could have more than guys with pistols?. and another thing, couldn't Joseph Alen (that's you by the way) Blow down Makarov with the machine gun the game gave us? end the game right there.

On the other hand, Far cry was a game about 2 sides of heartless, Gun totting mercs and bandits duking it out in Africa, with you thrown there, starting it out with a nice set of morals. kill the bad guy who gives bad gun to the bad people. however, as the game goes on, we see just how far we, the player, are willing to go to finish the job. as one mission plays out (assuming you subvert to your buddies) we kill the former king of Africa, the only man who has ANY interest in the safety of the people of this warzone we call a nation, rip the signet ring of his cold dead hand, and hand it over to his European playboy Son so he can inherit daddies bank account. Missions like these made me realize...am I a bad person? and yet, I pushed onward, with police officer I killed, every medicinal producing planet I blew up, I justified it by saying "it all be worth it when I stop the war" but was it? I don't know, I didn't finish the game. it made me realize just how far we, as a society could go to justify our means. sadly, to answer your question Andy, no one cares about Africa. its far away, its dirty, and as I butcher the opening scenes quote "everyone just planned there next tax-deductible donation and forgot about the place", people just throw money at the country to make them feel better about themselves for living in a three story house and stuffing big macs down our throats. sad, but true

Aside from the fact that Modern Warfare 2 deals with terrorism detrimental to Westerners, and Far Cry 2 deals with slaughtering Africans (a nasty and extremely hypocritical distinction which is nonetheless being made by decision-makers everywhere), it probably has something to do with the actuality of the issue: terrorism is the hot-button issue of the decade, despite it causing minimal deaths outside already destabilized states, while mercenaries slaughtering Africans indiscriminately is old news - and criticizing a game about it might bring focus to the uncomfortable fact that nothing is done about it in real life either.

A human rights analysis of Far Cry 2 (and some other well-known games) has actually been made (!), and can be seen here:

http://www.gamepolitics.com/2009/11/20/fighting-fair-international-humanitarian-law-applied-games

Apparently, it is quite concerned with shooting at a church-building, and not so much about denying fresh water to civilians...

Lord_Gremlin:
You don't get the point here. It's not about killing innocents. It's about the fact that there are actually NO such thing as a Russian terrorist (except the times when Tsar/Emperor ruled Russia).
MW2: They shown Russian terrorists and offended us, Russians, because there's no Russian terrorists exist now.

The game also has a US Army general who betrays the country by plunging it into war against Russia. I'm pretty sure he doesn't exist either. So what is your point?

dududf:

MGlBlaze:
[quote]*Le Snippity snip snip, the Snipper.

Dammit Ninja'ed...

I was ninja'd on being ninja'd...

But he is right. The level of hypocrisy has reached nosebleed levels...

Malygris:
Oh, you mean the very last mission in the game, when you suddenly, for no apparent reason, agree to save the country and then commit suicide because the guy you were sent there to kill in the first place says you have to? Where I come from, we call that a half-assed, hastily-tacked-on ending designed to give the thing a false feeling of gravitas. I thought it was actually quite a let-down, a cop-out really; a way to make gamers feel better about spending 95% of FC2 being the worst human being on the face of the planet.

It's a bit sudden, isn't it?

I don't quite think so bad of it as you do: When you look at the way it's building up the refugee missions, the way the Jackal is made so ambiguous, the grotesque self-absorption of the factions, and most of all the way that it never, ever gives you any mission that puts you one step closer to your target, it's clear the game wants you to start questioning the merit of killing the Jackal. He's a convenient target; most similar to the way the US started saying, "If we kill this guy in Iraq, it'll all be fixed!" over and over again.

The problem is, I think, that it didn't given us a chance to make that choice ourselves. I really wanted to go into that crucial point and have the choice: Get into a gunfight, or hear what he has to say?

The game needed a little dose of free choice, with some alternate endings.

It occurs to me that the primary resource in Far Cry 2 is conflict diamonds, and one of the main scavenger hunt minigames is looking for more. In a way, that's more morally ambiguous than the airport assault in MW2.

BlindChance:

Malygris:
Oh, you mean the very last mission in the game, when you suddenly, for no apparent reason, agree to save the country and then commit suicide because the guy you were sent there to kill in the first place says you have to? Where I come from, we call that a half-assed, hastily-tacked-on ending designed to give the thing a false feeling of gravitas. I thought it was actually quite a let-down, a cop-out really; a way to make gamers feel better about spending 95% of FC2 being the worst human being on the face of the planet.

It's a bit sudden, isn't it?

I don't quite think so bad of it as you do: When you look at the way it's building up the refugee missions, the way the Jackal is made so ambiguous, the grotesque self-absorption of the factions, and most of all the way that it never, ever gives you any mission that puts you one step closer to your target, it's clear the game wants you to start questioning the merit of killing the Jackal. He's a convenient target; most similar to the way the US started saying, "If we kill this guy in Iraq, it'll all be fixed!" over and over again.

The problem is, I think, that it didn't given us a chance to make that choice ourselves. I really wanted to go into that crucial point and have the choice: Get into a gunfight, or hear what he has to say?

The game needed a little dose of free choice, with some alternate endings.

In a way, the ethics of the Jackel aren't that ambiguous, what he does do is actually buy into Nietzche (without seeing himself as an ubermensch, no less), and ironically, he's trying to do what he percieves as the right thing, protecting people. You can start to see why he does this in the audio tapes, where he has something of a conflict between his philosophy and his humanity.

There's an implication someplace that he's the one backing the underground evacuation, and what he is really doing here is trying to get the two sides to wipe each other out. There's hints very early on in the game that that is his goal. Conversations you walk in on in before the briefings. Its rare to get a character that's this complex in a videogame though, especially a shooter.

That said, yes, there should have been a lot more in the way of meaningful choices in the game. Rather than playing both mission threads, make us choose between the UFLL or the APR. Once we choose, then make us decide if we're subverting missions for them, or actually helping them. That gives us 4 endings for each act, now give us different endings. If we worked for the UFLL but subverted all their missions we get set up because we're a traitor, if we didn't then the APR comes after us, and so on.

Starke:

In a way, the ethics of the Jackel aren't that ambiguous, what he does do is actually buy into Nietzche (without seeing himself as an ubermensch, no less), and ironically, he's trying to do what he percieves as the right thing, protecting people. You can start to see why he does this in the audio tapes, where he has something of a conflict between his philosophy and his humanity.

He certainly tries to give that impression, yes, and I'm more or less willing to believe him by the end of the game. But it is worth noting that we have no real proof of this. For all we know? If you chose to blow up the bomb, then he absconded with the diamonds and tricked you into killing yourself. We never really get any proof of his nature.

There's an implication someplace that he's the one backing the underground evacuation, and what he is really doing here is trying to get the two sides to wipe each other out. There's hints very early on in the game that that is his goal. Conversations you walk in on in before the briefings. Its rare to get a character that's this complex in a videogame though, especially a shooter.

I wouldn't say he's especially complex. He's a mirror for the player, in weird ways: You come into the game with allegedly righteous intentions, and he's leaving it with allegedly righteous intentions. But both of you massacre hundreds, if not thousands in the process. I'd be willing to argue he's of ambiguous moral nature.

That said, yes, there should have been a lot more in the way of meaningful choices in the game. Rather than playing both mission threads, make us choose between the UFLL or the APR. Once we choose, then make us decide if we're subverting missions for them, or actually helping them. That gives us 4 endings for each act, now give us different endings. If we worked for the UFLL but subverted all their missions we get set up because we're a traitor, if we didn't then the APR comes after us, and so on.

I disagree. The factions need to remain more or less a fiction -- The joke of the game is that both are the exact same thing, and it doesn't really matter one sweet damn who you side with. That's why you constantly switch sides. The game is trying to make you realise the conflict is between two groups of exactly the same repugnant nature.

Here's how I see the endings, in my fantasy Far Cry 2 director's cut.

They're not complicated ending conditions. Most of the game proceeds as planned. But this lets you not buy into the Jackal's idea: It gets you killed, but you can avoid doing so. And also, the game lets you learn it, understand it, and deliberately reject it. The violence can win.

BlindChance:

Starke:

In a way, the ethics of the Jackel aren't that ambiguous, what he does do is actually buy into Nietzche (without seeing himself as an ubermensch, no less), and ironically, he's trying to do what he percieves as the right thing, protecting people. You can start to see why he does this in the audio tapes, where he has something of a conflict between his philosophy and his humanity.

He certainly tries to give that impression, yes, and I'm more or less willing to believe him by the end of the game. But it is worth noting that we have no real proof of this. For all we know? If you chose to blow up the bomb, then he absconded with the diamonds and tricked you into killing yourself. We never really get any proof of his nature.

It is true we don't have any proof of his intentions, and for what its worth, the reverse is somewhat true, if you choose to send him to blow the bomb, there's no reason to believe you actually used the pistol on yourself. Though there is a gunshot in the closing narration (IIRC).

EDIT: I do want to say that his personal conviction does tend to indicate he's being straight with the player though. If he was really self serving, then why wouldn't he have killed you either of the times you met him when you were crippled. He couldn't have predicted that the bomb would malfunction.

There's an implication someplace that he's the one backing the underground evacuation, and what he is really doing here is trying to get the two sides to wipe each other out. There's hints very early on in the game that that is his goal. Conversations you walk in on in before the briefings. Its rare to get a character that's this complex in a videogame though, especially a shooter.

I wouldn't say he's especially complex. He's a mirror for the player, in weird ways: You come into the game with allegedly righteous intentions, and he's leaving it with allegedly righteous intentions. But both of you massacre hundreds, if not thousands in the process. I'd be willing to argue he's of ambiguous moral nature.

The catch is, and the game forces this on the player somewhat organically, is that neither of you have attacked civilians. You've masicered those who took up arms. Based on The Jackel's comments, killing these people isn't immoral, it's imperetive to save the "uninfected". Obviously that's a somewhat skewed morality system, but it does render him more complex than most characters we find in videogames. And you're right, he is a mirror to the player character.

That said, yes, there should have been a lot more in the way of meaningful choices in the game. Rather than playing both mission threads, make us choose between the UFLL or the APR. Once we choose, then make us decide if we're subverting missions for them, or actually helping them. That gives us 4 endings for each act, now give us different endings. If we worked for the UFLL but subverted all their missions we get set up because we're a traitor, if we didn't then the APR comes after us, and so on.

I disagree. The factions need to remain more or less a fiction -- The joke of the game is that both are the exact same thing, and it doesn't really matter one sweet damn who you side with. That's why you constantly switch sides. The game is trying to make you realise the conflict is between two groups of exactly the same repugnant nature.

I agree that the factions are basically a fiction, but at the same time, I'm left with the feeling that they should be, you know, factions. For instance, you sign on with the UFLL in Pala, as the game plays through act 1, you're actually accumulating territory for them, friendly territory, no less, where the patrols won't attack you on sight, and so on. When you travel through that territory you see the UFLL "troops" doing horrible things to the civilians that are left, you find villiges in flames, ect. So obviously you chose the wrong side. Jump ship in the middle and side with the APR (or start a fresh game to do so), and what you'd find is the APR is doing the exact same thing, only now they don't shoot at you on sight.

I'm not saying that there should be a real difference, there shouldn't, but that you should have more flexability to stay with a single side, and that your actions should have more of an (unintentionally) negative effect on the game world.

Here's how I see the endings, in my fantasy Far Cry 2 director's cut.

They're not complicated ending conditions. Most of the game proceeds as planned. But this lets you not buy into the Jackal's idea: It gets you killed, but you can avoid doing so. And also, the game lets you learn it, understand it, and deliberately reject it. The violence can win.

I appologize, when I was talking abou the end, I meant the end of act 1, which I just replayed a little before making that first post, so, the context in my head wasn't in the post. So, at the end of act one, your choices end up with you being routed from the north for a veriety of reasons.

I do like the idea of simply ignoring The Jackle at the end and leading to a bad ending, something the game could have benifited from. I'm less sold on the non-standard game over. If you do your job and execut the Jackel, I could see the game playing further through the established territory as a third act, trying to find a way out of the country, while the soldiers are increasingly running out of weapons, or their weapons are of even poorer quality before (IE: the AI sufferes from jams, and exploding weapons). All the while their persecution of the civilian popuation rachets up because they know they're running out of resources and getting desperate.

EDIT: The riots at the end of San Andreas come to mind actually.

I actually had a second paragraph defending the complexity, that was kinda off topic, but, here it is.

A lot of this comes from the source material though. When you poke the designers with a stick, they admit that Heart of Darkness was a major influence on the setting. One of the more obvious pieces of evidence regarding this influence is the in joke names that appear on the achievment list, some of which dirrectly reference Heart of Darkness. That can end up informing the player's perceptions of the various characters and their roles.

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