A Far Cry from Homework


I have not spent very much time playing video games recently, due to abandoning my consoles in a harried attempt to catch up on my academic and life responsibilities—after all, that’s what I’m here for. However, for some weeks previous I have been laboring away at what is quickly becoming one of my favorite games of all time, Far Cry 4.

This is a first-person shooter (FPS) by Ubisoft, and I will be the first to admit that FPS games are not my strong point. However, I play games for the story, not the play style, and Far Cry 4 has a very strong story that stands alone (so you don’t have to play the previous 3 in order to understand it). You play as Ajay Ghale, a young American man visiting a place called Kyrat in Nepal for reasons undisclosed. Ten minutes into the country, you’re abducted by a crazy man in a pink suit who turns out to be Pagan Min, the self-proclaimed despot of Kyrat with a hatred for terrorists. These self-same terrorists abduct you in their turn from Min’s castle, and turn out to be not terrorists (which you could have guessed after you saw Min stab a man in the shoulder with a tuning fork for texting at the table) but rather resistance fighters. It turns out that your father, Mohan Ghale, founded a group of rebels called the Golden Path, and this group is now being run by two very attractive people with very different visions for Kyrat. For this reason, Far Cry 4 has been referred to as an FPS dating simulator, since you are constantly having to choose whether to side with Amita, who wants Kyrat to become a drug state in order to pay for schools, medical supplies, etc. or with Sabal, who is constantly comparing you to your father and wants to maintain the traditional values of Kyrat, like to the point where women have no rights.

While you run about shooting people and trying to decide which of these is the less terrible option, you find yourself with other problems to deal with. It’s worth mentioning that this is a very difficult game, and you will die a lot. The AI is well-constructed, and enemies rarely have set patrol patterns. I have been walking along the side of the road and been purposefully run over by Min’s soldiers in their stupid red jeep. But what you really have to watch out for is the wildlife.

Imagine this scenario in your head. I’m sneaking up on an enemy base, bow-and-arrow in hand, stealth mode fully engaged. I am the night, I am the shadows, I am the Nepalese version of Batman. I get out my camera so that I can scope the base from where I crouch behind a waist-length wall. As I scan the area, I hear a small, inquisitive hyena-esque cackle from nearby. Full of dread, I lower my camera and turn around. Not five feet away, a honey badger stares at me.

Now, I don’t know the extent of your knowledge about honey badgers, but here’s something to bear in mind: these things tear into beehives and contentedly devour their contents while the entire hive swarms and stings them. If ever an animal had zero hecks to give, it is the honey badger. Far Cry 4 recognizes this, and chooses to accurately depict their behavior and strength in-game.

This story ends with the entire base abruptly becoming alerted to my presence as I scream and flail wildly, an angry honey badger (they’re always angry) attached to my arm by the teeth and claws. By the time I finally manage to fling it off, people are coming at me with shotguns and grenade launchers. As I tear off down the hill, seeking shelter or a river to dive into or a cliff to jump off of, I hear further screaming and shooting behind me. Someone at the base calls for reinforcements. My health bar is flashing, informing me that if I so much as trip at this point I will die. And still I hear the cackling of the honey badger on the air, in between gunshots, intermingled with the screams of Min’s soldiers as it sends them to a gory, badger-y death.

Bear in mind that this is only one of many traumatizing wildlife encounters I have had in this game, and that you will have if you purchase it. It’s fantastic and seems fairly realistic, and on top of all that the quality is astounding (I’ve never seen such realistically rendering video game people in my entire life) and it runs smoothly. So if you, too, seek hours of entertainment and homework procrastination, I suggest you borrow or order it ASAP. Then you should tell me you play it, so that we can sit at the cafeteria and swap wildlife encounter stories. Have you ever attacked a bear with a flamethrower, only to run out of fuel as soon as you make it mad and then had to run for your life through an increasingly flaming forest while an angry bear on fire pursues you?

Don’t worry. You will.

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