So last week I thought it would be hilarious to put together a whimsical article charting the horrible demises of all gamingdom’s wonderful, unsuspecting creatures off the back of your outrage. Ha, yes, see those digital goats burn. Man is dominant. Destroy. Metaaal.
Some of you did not find this funny in the slightest and have yet to forgive me. I consoled myself by playing loads of Far Cry 3, and I’ve realised that gaming’s animal kingdom has not forgiven me, either.
“Who is the real monster here?” cry its leopards and tigers from the undergrowth I hunker in, silenced sniper rifle in hand, watching, waiting for the perfect time to strike that there red-flagged outpost in the short distance. Soon the perfect time arrives, and I miss it because I’m dodging tigers and leopards. So I have to make do with the imperfect time to strike, and I do, and then this happens:
I have never, ever played a game where I’m genuinely more fearful of the animals, for Christ’s sake, than all the guys with guns and grenades. I now flatly refuse to spend more than a few seconds in any river. I just can’t do it. Those crocodiles, man. They make no sound. Then they have you in a deathroll and it’s all you can do not to become a sloppy croc borry some hours later.
Likewise the goddamn tigers. Venturing off the beaten track is terrifying because of these majestic assholes. There you crouch, hidden from view and lining up the shot to end all shots on some meandering g goon yapping about his chlamydia, when you hear it. What sounds like a yawn so chesty it could inhale the skin from your bones. You peek over to the left or right, ever so carefully, and there he is. Tiger man. Sniffing for you.
Killing and skinning enough of them, I thought, was a missed opportunity on the part of Ubisoft: You’ll net the “Poacher” trophy, which is worth something. I thought it should’ve been worth nothing, and that’s a little statement I’d have been pretty happy with. Instead, you have to exist in a state of perpetual terror as man VS. beast quickly becomes man very averse to beast. It’s kind of worse.
I’ve become so scarred by Far Cry 3’s jungle pantheon that, last night, I reached an absolute personal gaming low. Moments after liberating a base from Vaas’ henchmen, the predatory peals of a leopard still trapped in its bamboo cage tapped into an over the top instinct I’m pretty sure has been cultivated solely by this game. I did a mad pirouette, brandished my RPG, and sent a rocket crashing into a caged animal. I wouldn’t even go near the result until the smoke had cleared just in case it was some kind of cyborg leopard.
I am imagining cyborg leopards. Are you happy now, Ubisoft?