Choosing Between Bad and Worse

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Choosing Between Bad and Worse

Far Cry 2 provides players with just two kinds of choices - bad and worse - to underscore its gritty tale of conflict in Africa.

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Wow...that was deep. I loved it!

I'd argue choice has no place in a lot of games. It seems inappropriate, though, to shift from "murderous conscienceless rampage" to "Okay, I'll hear you out." Odd to see both sides of the coin presented in one game.

...And utterly contradicting themselves.

That "poignant lack of choice" thing wasn't intentional - they advertised a supposed "dynamic story" pretty heavily in the lead-up to the game.

Far Cry 2 also has way more choice in how firefights play out than in other shooters - at least
"reconnaissance" is an actual thing in the game.

For some reason, this makes me want to play Far Cry 2, even though the article points out a major flaw in the game's logic.

Far Cry 2 surprised the hell out of me. Was not expecting it to be so politically profound.

And I took the mountain path, so thankfully I was spared this game's logic flaw.

I remember playing Far Cry 2 and being incredibly bored. Perhaps I need to revisit it.

The awkward moment when you mistake a terrible game for being an allegory for war.

Because I'm sure as hell that the developers didn't design the game to be boring gunfights in a lifeless world.

I got bored of this game after a handful of hours. Wrapping up the shitty gameplay in this ribbon of artistic merit seems wrong to me lol.

Glad to see sombody else actually enjoyed FC2's languid story. Even if it isn't what the devs intended, it handles some pretty complex stuff by being, well, pointless. By the end of the game I was eager to be done with it all, and that feeling of dislike was a strangely appropriate accident. Which is why I don't mind the ending. The Jackal does an about face and offers you a way out of the shithole (both physically and morally).

i loved this game in all its pointlessness. i mean i actually couldn't tell you how it ended before i read this and i had 2 and a bit play throughs before i decided it was clogging up my playstation too much. really good article though, i thoroughly enjoyed it.

I didnt see how the ending when you choose the diamonds was a bad or worse decision. The Jackal takes the battery and bomb to go blow up some mountain and the pistol you are supposed to shoot yourself with was in the case with the diamonds. when you arrive at the final checkpoint they take the case away from you and now you have no pistol. Also i felt that if some jackass thinks I am going to shoot myself in the head just becuase he says to, well he can go on believing that but it doesnt make it happen. So for me the choice was letting him go blow himself up and go bribe the guards with diamonds and the guard gets a nice shiny new pistol in the deal and I walk out with the rest of the refugees on my way back to civilization. Mission acomplished! The Jackal is dead.

As for all the other missions, I thought of them as a way to get to The Jackal with the side benifit of causing harm to the 2 factions, that included the greedy buddies and the missions they gave, and the gun dealer missions since those screwed up the factions as well.

The cell tower missions on the other hand were a moral tough choice, who were these people in suits with briefcases? Are they UN observers there to check from human rights violations or to assess if UN involvement is warranted? Well I killed them because I am an asshole and figured the UN just might decide that "yeah there is a problem, we need to intervene" because everyone they send in to get facts and observe keeps getting killed. but then again I figured they were the diamond dealers representitives there to make sure the diamonds kept coming regardless of how many civilians were hurt in the process. I figured that because I didnt think the UN would send in suits but a Diamond company would. so they had to die because at the heart of the problem was the diamond trade itself not the guns or the factions.

Blast, was going to criticise the morality of the piece but your credentials have given you far more right to write.

FarCry 2 was amazing, never have I seen so many options on entering a firefight. Yeah, there are holes in it's logic but who cares? Bad or worse? How can you think about saving your own skin if that means condemning 2 million people to die in a war they neither started, needed or benefited from?

Jakub324:
Bad or worse? How can you think about saving your own skin if that means condemning 2 million people to die in a war they neither started, needed or benefited from?

How does blowing yourself up on a mountain pass in a wartorn country benifit those 2 million people when someone else(your target for assasination no less) is willing to do it instead of you? If they ever find your body(whats left of it) it would be assumed you were a member of one faction or another blowing up the pass out of the country so there is no benifit there. What benifit does it give those 2 million for you to commit suicide in a guardhouse on the border?

And once you are out of the country you can tell everyone about the atrocities going on there so thus you can benifit the remaining 2 million people by getting the word out. Or you can turn right around after getting the "malaria" cured and procure some proper weapons and gear and go back in to finish off the factions. but that would most likely be suicide option number 3 that could cauyse more harm than good solely by causing more chaos and potential crackdown on the remaining civilians.

Jakub324:
FarCry 2 was amazing, never have I seen so many options on entering a firefight. Yeah, there are holes in it's logic but who cares? Bad or worse? How can you think about saving your own skin if that means condemning 2 million people to die in a war they neither started, needed or benefited from?

To your last question...Very easily.

The lack of a bad end is what made me hate this game so much after struggling through it, I had been hired to do a job, what kind of mercenary lets petty moralising and "good versus bad" speeches get in the way of your mission? I would have liked to be able to kill the Jackal, not because I had genuine loathing for the man or his mission and attempt at redemption, but because allowing me to choose in the end wether the journey had changed me from a hired gun to a "good guy" or if I was going to stick by my mission and personally kill the gun-running son of a bitch with a contract on his head.

Sure give me a bad ending for not growing a sense of morals, make my character die a humiliating death or live out the rest of his days on the run, but at least give me a choice in my ultimate action. Killing the man outright would probably trap a whole bunch of refuges in the country, but the character I was playing did not give a damn about those people, he was a professional and every action ("good" or "bad") was performed to get me closer to my mark or to get me funding in order to properly arm myself. You would have to be a monster to not be affected by seeing the plight of the people of africa, but I never said that I was playing myself as a mercenary, no, I was playing Josip and Josip had a job to do.

I loved playing this game. It has an intense atmosphere i haven't seen in any other game. Maybe this is the result of the limited choices u have making this game such a pure experience.
Far Cry 2 isn't very story-driven, it starts out fine but after that it's pretty barren story-wise.
The ending is, in my opinion, very strong. It makes you think about about your journey, about the things you've done. I felt empty inside after that final scene, just like i might feel leaving the movie theater after watching a good (socially engaged) movie.

I played through quite a bit of Far Cry 2, but I don't think it ever clicked with me. I think the tedium of the gameplay kind of conflicted with the story it was trying to tell, at least to me. In the end, I wasn't able to finish it, but I can see how it's a much deeper game that it let out. It was just sort of bogged down (to me, at least) with "Go here, do this mission, now go here and do that mission" for far too long and I just sort of stopped.

BrotherRool:
Blast, was going to criticise the morality of the piece but your credentials have given you far more right to write.

There's no such thing as "right to write". If you disagree with something in the article, you have just as much right to point it out as the writer had to say it in the first place.

OT: I love Far Cry 2, but for some reason I have never finished it. I've got over half way through about 5 times altogether, and now since it apparently has such a crappy ending I'm kind of glad I never got further.

lunncal:

BrotherRool:
Blast, was going to criticise the morality of the piece but your credentials have given you far more right to write.

There's no such thing as "right to write". If you disagree with something in the article, you have just as much right to point it out as the writer had to say it in the first place.

OT: I love Far Cry 2, but for some reason I have never finished it. I've got over half way through about 5 times altogether, and now since it apparently has such a crappy ending I'm kind of glad I never got further.

In some senses it's true, but in others and this sense in particular, it's not.

Take conservatives, there are two types. One wants to be richer than other people. The second wants the autonomy to help people to the best of their ability and doesn't believe the government can or has right to do it for people.

The thing is, both types of people say they're the latter. So if a conservative is ranting on about how the government is stealing money from the people and that they are much better placed to help, I feel I can rip into their arguments if they follow that up with doing eff all to help people. However if they're the second, then their actions in helping people have earned them the right to say what they've said.

It's the same with this guy, if he was just complaining about how their shouldn't be such a thing as morality in the third world whilst sitting on his sofa swilling his champagne, then I could respond, if he's in war torn country living it day by day and trying to improve people's lives, then sure he's got more right to write than I have.

Apart from anything else, if you are committed to learning you should always recognise and evaluate experience in the person you're talking to.

Rob Kunzig:
Choosing Between Bad and Worse

Far Cry 2 provides players with just two kinds of choices - bad and worse - to underscore its gritty tale of conflict in Africa.

Read Full Article

Dude half of your quotes are incorrect, its "You start thinking 'too much' about morality," he says, "that's insane." Its good you realised the irony of all of it and personally I loved the ending and pretty much everything about the game.
If this is your first publicised piece, not too shabby, actually if so, its damm good. Don't let the critism let you down and at the same time don't ignore it.

That's a piece of over reading from you guys. FarCry2 was a tech demo for Dunia engine, that's it. Most of the narrative is driven by, kill this guy, kill the other guy (LPRA vs something) and no true narrative is presented. The simple fact you are a silent protagonist who can choose from 6 others silent protagonist shows how much story is being presented to you by deep dialogues. I remember getting some tapes, jackal or something, and all that nihilistic tone of the guy about fictionisia being the best thing about the game.
Want to know how it's worse? It was spread across the map in no story driven point of the game. Sorry with I'll be rude now, but all I did in FarCry2 was kill some africans (insert the n word) and sell diamonds to get better weapons to kill more africans.

note: who hired you to kill the arms dealers? do they care explaining why?

No shit the ending sucked. All the time I played the game I thought of my character as just a mercenary who doesn't give a shit about anything except the money. And in the end it turns out my character is some kind of a moral butterfly.

Though I agree that Far Cry 2 has a mostly excellent story, I think you are giving the linearity too much credit. That was a consequence of bad game design (a wide open sandbox which makes you do everything in order?) Even if we accept the linearity as a clever yet unintentional story element, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to waste our time with the massive open spaces. This game was tedious, regardless of how much I liked the atmosphere and plot. My boredom can't have been a deliberate element of the story.

maninahat:
Though I agree that Far Cry 2 has a mostly excellent story, I think you are giving the linearity too much credit. That was a consequence of bad game design (a wide open sandbox which makes you do everything in order?) Even if we accept the linearity as a clever yet unintentional story element, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to waste our time with the massive open spaces. This game was tedious, regardless of how much I liked the atmosphere and plot. My boredom can't have been a deliberate element of the story.

He is clearly rationalizing the fact that he was bored but didn't want to give up. The game isn't that deep. Not even close. Like you said, it's just bad game design.

It's amazing how deep and philosophical one can get, with elements that were nothing more than shitty design. You remind me off that guy that reads a book or watches a movie and exits the theatre having "changed" his mind. Looking at the world through open eyes. But the truth being that he simply replaced his blinds with a different shade.

The game forces you to take missions from both sides because it's poorly designed. You have to complete all the missions to get to point X in the story progression. Simple as that. Not to mention that every mission is exactly the same. Plays out exactly the same and has only One solution.

Drive to Objective. Kill Guards. Get plot item and return to employer.

Every faction will attack you regardless of whether you are going to kill them or if you are working for them. In other words. Ubisoft did not want to program a friendly AI system.

Combat feels brutal and poetic? Try poorly coded, with hilariously quick weapon degradation. You can barely fire a gun more than 300 times before it blows up. Even brand new ones. Now before people start saying. But 300 bullets is allot of bullets. That's for machine guns. Guns that have a bullet per minute ratio of over 100.

The ending? Exactly what I expected from the start. Not that I knew what was going to happen, besides the fact you weren't going to kill the Jackal. But in that it would be a crappy ending.

It's always fun to see what people tell themselves JUST so they don't have to face the fact they wasted their money and time.

I was so pissed off at the ending. I really enjoyed the game and enjoyed making sure my buddies stayed alive. Then at the end of the game all my buddies, who I spent extra effort to make sure they stayed alive, betray me. Then, when I finally have a chance to kill the Jackal, I'm given two options, blow myself up or shoot myself in the head. That no win situation REALLY pissed me off. The whole point of the game is to kill myself? No, terrible ending.

And I really liked the game up to that point. That's what makes me so angry. It's like reading a really good book only to have a bad ending.

I love how everyone here is convinced that because they didn't see the depth of the game, clearly the fault is with the game, and not with their reading.

FWIW, I find Rob Kunzig's piece to be an excellent reading of the game (apart from, as Valagetti above notes, some minor misquotation) but it ignores the game's key elements in how it uses gameplay and repetition to train the player. It's a brutal game that works well, and yes, the ending is ludicrously flawed and begins its flaws exactly when he states.

My overall thoughts are here, for anyone curious. They align pretty well with Kurzig's. The short version is that Far Cry 2 is what "No Russian" from Modern Warfare 2 wanted to be: A statement on the brutality and pointlessness of violence and a meditation on videogame violence. But it did it first, and better.

(OK, OK. Shadow of the Colossus did the 'meditation on videogame violence' bit even before that, and better again. I'm sure there's a game before SotC too.)

BlindChance:
I love how everyone here is convinced that because they didn't see the depth of the game, clearly the fault is with the game, and not with their reading.

But then again, when does it become reading into the lines a bit too deeply?

See, here's the thing about interpretation; you are never wrong so long as you can prove it. Transformers may be regarded as a piece of shit, but when looked through a certain angle it could be presented as the most profound anti-war piece in the world.

Now, that's not to say that Far Cry 2 isn't deep or whatever (I happen to somewhat agree with the interpretation), but it is an issue for anything undergoing interpretation. What some would call bad game design, others would call it an intentional mechanic. People would be surprised as to how much thought goes into the very small things in a game.

Jumplion:

BlindChance:
I love how everyone here is convinced that because they didn't see the depth of the game, clearly the fault is with the game, and not with their reading.

But then again, when does it become reading into the lines a bit too deeply?

See, here's the thing about interpretation; you are never wrong so long as you can prove it. Transformers may be regarded as a piece of shit, but when looked through a certain angle it could be presented as the most profound anti-war piece in the world.

Now, that's not to say that Far Cry 2 isn't deep or whatever (I happen to somewhat agree with the interpretation), but it is an issue for anything undergoing interpretation. What some would call bad game design, others would call it an intentional mechanic. People would be surprised as to how much thought goes into the very small things in a game.

Games shouldn't trade fun for delivering a message. If they wanted to say something about Africa and the situation there they could have done it without making the game tedious. They didn't, therefore, it's just a bad game design that can lead some to believe it's something more. It isn't.

Those of you who made it to the ending and saw suicide choice A or B are as blind as a bat. The Jackal gives you 2 choices, 1 is take the battery and explode a bomb with it thus blocking the path and killing yourself in the process, or the other taking the case of diamonds, a pistol and go to the checkpoint to bribe some guards then shoot yourself in the head.

Ok that sounds like a death for you either way. BUT its not if you were paying attention. If you choose to bribe the guards and was watching what he does before he gave the choice you would see he puts the pistol inside the case containing the diamonds because you will be searched and any weapons removed at the check point before you get a chance to bribe anyone.

What happens to any luggage or briefcases you have when you are being searched? what happened inside the guardhouse? yes you were no longer in possesion of the case or the pistol so it would be impossible to use it on yourself.

Your target for assasination just offers you a choice when you are helpless to either take a bomb and go blow up a path or a case full of diamonds and 1 pistol and go to the checkpoint and bribe some guard to let refugees pass then magicly get the pistol off the guard that was inside the case that was taken from you when they took you into custody and shoot yourself with it? Yeah OK thats going to happen.

Why would you commit suicide because The jackal told you to????

Also everyone is forgeting a little something... If someone you were hired to kill gives you that choice and he will do the other so you choose the bribery then suicide instead of suicide bomber on a friggin trail why the hell would you use the pistol on yourself? wouldnt you simply bribe the checkpoint guard and laugh at The Jackal as you joined the refugees on the other side of the fence? as well as then go home and report mission acomplished, The Jackal is dead and collect your pay?

ImprovizoR:

Games shouldn't trade fun for delivering a message. If they wanted to say something about Africa and the situation there they could have done it without making the game tedious. They didn't, therefore, it's just a bad game design that can lead some to believe it's something more. It isn't.

The game wouldve been better if they advertised and suggested everyone watch the documentary "Blood Diamonds: Beyond the Bloodshed" prior to playing.

Jumplion:
But then again, when does it become reading into the lines a bit too deeply?

See, here's the thing about interpretation; you are never wrong so long as you can prove it. Transformers may be regarded as a piece of shit, but when looked through a certain angle it could be presented as the most profound anti-war piece in the world.

You've answered your own question: Can you back it up in the text?

With Far Cry 2, it's not difficult to reach the argument Kunzig has made. His argument is well sourced within the text itself, is not easily contradicted by other points within the text, and is all-in-all a superb reading. The aforementioned Transformers reading would be easily countered by demonstrating the love and attention to detail lavished upon the military hardware and the venerated position of the military within it.

Now, that's not to say that Far Cry 2 isn't deep or whatever (I happen to somewhat agree with the interpretation), but it is an issue for anything undergoing interpretation. What some would call bad game design, others would call it an intentional mechanic. People would be surprised as to how much thought goes into the very small things in a game.

No question there, but I continue to despair how frequently people declare blanket statements about a game and don't back up their arguments. I know it's an internet forum, not an academic paper, but you need to provide some decent backup to your claims.

ImprovizoR:
Games shouldn't trade fun for delivering a message. If they wanted to say something about Africa and the situation there they could have done it without making the game tedious. They didn't, therefore, it's just a bad game design that can lead some to believe it's something more. It isn't.

See, now this is a decent argument. Acknowledges that the aforementioned elements are there, but criticizes the whole for being tedious and dull. Now, as it happens, I found the game a hell of a lot of fun. (Certainly more fun to me than Halo.) I enjoyed being able to survey a battlefield, think through a strategy and execute it. Nothing pleased me more than being able to find ways to solve a mission with a single shot. (Sometimes by sneaking into a compound with one silenced pistol shot; sometimes by firing one honking great RPG round.) I didn't manage it that often, but when I did it was glorious. But that's all subjective. If people found it tedious and dull (and I know many who did) then yeah, the game failed as entertainment.

Edit:

1337mokro:
Combat feels brutal and poetic? Try poorly coded, with hilariously quick weapon degradation. You can barely fire a gun more than 300 times before it blows up. Even brand new ones. Now before people start saying. But 300 bullets is allot of bullets. That's for machine guns. Guns that have a bullet per minute ratio of over 100.

Also, which gun were you using? My AK-47 lasted forever; my M249 was able to last numerous missions before I had to replace it.

ImprovizoR:
Games shouldn't trade fun for delivering a message. If they wanted to say something about Africa and the situation there they could have done it without making the game tedious. They didn't, therefore, it's just a bad game design that can lead some to believe it's something more. It isn't.

Why not? If a game wanted to deliver a message, it would do so through the mechanics. Evidently, for Far Cry 2, it worked for some. I'll admit that the game didn't quite click with me, it did feel repetitive at times, but ignoring and deriding a game simply because it didn't quite live up to your "fun" quota makes its attempt at a meaningful message (whether successful or not is up to you) meaningless and we can't learn anything from it.

Far Cry 2 definitely had some sort of an ulterior message behind it. Successful or not, we can learn something from it for future games.

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