Gaming is full of insta-bad asses. You take control of a seemingly average guy or girl, only to have them develop into a skilled fighter, hero, magician etc with very little to no transition explaining their acquisition of said skills and/or power.
The more video games I play, the more I notice this weird trope. I believe these characters are is referred to as Mary Sue and Gary Stu in film, which essentially fits that description. I however have affectionately dubbed this occurrence the Jason Brody Complex.
Before I continue, I just want to say that I think Far Cry 3 is a good game. It was my first foray into the Far Cry series, and I’m finding this open world shooter very enjoyable. One thing I love in a good open world game is immersion, it’s pretty much what keeps me playing the game. Once that immersion is lost, I’ll get bored and quickly be look for something else to play.
This is where the Jason Brody Complex presents the biggest issue, breaking of immersion. The story to this game is spectacular, and the opening scenes kicked off this epic story of survival in an really emotional way. The scene where Jason gets his first kill instantly grabbed me, as I would probably have a similar reaction to taking a life, (even though he was trying to kill me first). Even though all you can see is Jason’s trembling hands as he watches the man who’s life he he just ended slump over and bleed out, it’s all you need to see. That is what hooked me about this game, they took those emotions of fear, hopelessness, and isolation and portrayed them so very well with these opening scenes.
What threw me off the most, is the fact that this entitled rich kid picks up a gun, and now he can not only shoot, but he can out shoot armies of murderous drug and slave traders (occasionally from a conveniently placed zip line), hunt wild animals, field dress them, craft gear to expand his arsenal with said wild animals…who taught him this stuff!? On top of all that he’s accepted into the Rakyat tribe with open arms, and little to no objection despite him being nothing short of an outsider. To me it felt like a massive acceleration of plot as well as a blatant use of “convenient” plot devices. I felt like I had missed an entire training segment where he actually learns how to shoot, skin an animal, and sneak through the jungle without being detected by man nor beast alike.
I don’t think having Jason fumble when loading a new magazine, or dropping his machete is a viable solution, as that would mean messing with the actual game mechanics…which would just make the game unfair. Is there a way to combat this trope without pissing off the gamer? Probably not. This is one of the struggles of balance in games like this.
I don’t see this as a deal breaker. I’m still enjoying this game quite a bit. It’s just weird tropes like these that force me to take a step back and say “Something doesn’t seem right about this”.
What do you think about this gaming trope? Is it annoying? Does it break the immersion for you? Do you not care? Let me know in the comments!