Category Archives: Bullets of the Sun

Bullets of the Sun: [useless bullets]

Far Cry 2 gets a lot of criticism, and rightly so.

A lot of the criticism I read about it however, fail to get across why certain elements of the game are disliked. The respawning guard posts are brought up every time, and while I can understand why the developers made that decision (it would be a very empty world without it for one) I also see the frustration on the players’ side.

At the heart of the problem is that it simply seems to negate any impact you have on the world. The only way you are given to interact and change the world of Far Cry 2 is violence. Guns, explosions, blood, and fire. Nothing new to videogames of course, yet it’s unsatisfying in this context. The only choice you have is who and how to kill the residents of the world, and yet it doesn’t matter since there will always be more guards when you return.

Nothing you do will change this place. This frustration is compounded by the fact that nearly every mission you get is the equivalent of a sidequest in another game: menial tasks that NPCs can’t be bothered to do themselves (Michelle already seems to be very guilty of this).

Far Cry 2’s Africa is a shit place, and you can’t do anything about that.

 

Bullets of the Sun: the guilt

Flora meets me in a safehouse on my way to my mission. She tells me:
“If Warren Clyde can survive your latest trainwreck of an assignment, then you must be doing something right. I feel safe already.”

I wince, knowing that just hours before I let both her and Warren die violently, in that same mission.

Bullets of the Sun: empty anger, backwards clocks

I never thought this day would come.

That damn smiling Warren Clyde. He’d met me at Mike’s Bar, and saved my ass, expecting nothing in return. We were on a mission like any other. I took out the sniper post and set the convoys Warren’s way.

It was too much. He was overrun and I desperately ran through a guard post. I crashed my jeep, fended of theirs and sprinted my way to his location on the map. I heard shooting, but saw no one.

Then I took a closer look at my map and saw he was on the other side. I sprinted around the cliffside, pulling out my explosive crossbow in desperation and emptying my arrows into the gunners. The purple smoke came up. I pulled up my secondary gun and fired trying not to get killed in the process. I heard him choke out a half-joking “You…suck”. My stomach sank.

I finally got to him, sticking a syringe in him. It wasn’t enough. Another. Another.

I watched him go limp, and closed his eyes. I became anger. I tossed my grenades into the empty jeeps, fired into the air to get the attention of local patrols and burned them to death. I emptied my clip into them, and when they were dead and I was empty I took their guns and fired some more.

—–
It was here that I contemplated reloading my save. It didn’t seem right. It was my incompetence that got him killed, and it seemed that it would only be “true” if I let him rest in peace. It was only earlier that day however, that I killed him myself, mistaking him for an enemy sneaking around my safehouse and shooting both his kneecaps out. I reloaded immediately.

This time it was real though. The hazy dream of that near comedic act of stupid violence was gone. I didn’t want it to be real, but it had to be. I knew better than that though.

I reloaded my save, knowing full well I was doing wrong. It didn’t redeem me for letting him die. It didn’t redeem me for letting Flora die on my second attempt to save him, when I stupidly backed myself into a corner and had her save my ass.

Their death’s were on my consciousness. And the deaths of theirs to come.

Bullets of the Sun: we cheat death and run sunlit trails

Death and I are in love.

Videogames have given me a strange obsession with both being the bringer of death, and the recipient of it. Not many bother to subvert the tropes of its digital form.

I’ve written before about how Ben Abraham’s Permanent Death playthrough inspired me to give the game a second chance. Only now that I’ve played it do I realize the brilliance of how it handles it.

In the middle of firefight you collapse to the ground, but before the earth can reclaim you, your good old buddy from Mike’s Bar shows up, heroically dragging you to safety while keeping the others at bay with gunfire. He’ll drop you off in a safe spot, you’ll pick out a bullet from your gaping wounds and jam a syringe in yourself. Then its back to the fight. Run and gun.

The real brilliance of this is that it works the other way around as well. Seeing that purple smoke marker come up in a firefight stings your nerves with mortal terror. You are the invincible man. Your death means nothing. You’ll always be brought back. But your buddy? They are the ones who bring you back, the reason you are still here.

Run and gun.
Run and gun for their life.