then there was Far Cry 3, which so engrossingly tackled the theme of
insanity. Jason Brody, the Brod-ster, the spoiled-rich-kid-bro-dude, was
stranded on an island and kidnapped. He was scared, but he had to kill
to survive. At first, he was reluctant to do so--but then it got easier.
He started enjoying it. He cried out gleefully while he set human
beings ablaze with a flamethrower. I mean, I did too, because I was
doing it in a video game and it was pretty damn fun, but when Jason met
up with a friend, she made a comment along the lines of "You've become a
monster." And Jason, he basically replied, "Yeah, this is kind of my
gig now." The dude had lost his mind.
course, I can't mention Far Cry 3 without name dropping Vaas, the
psychotic villain who epitomized the game's insanity. That guy was scary
in a way most video game villains just aren't. His threats didn't feel
empty--they freaked me out. He'd charm me with his soft tones and
buddy-buddy banter, then he's snap and shove a gun to my head. He was
crazy; I felt his psychotic aura through my TV.
shooters in 2012 imbued the genre with a level of maturity we'd only
seen glimpses of before. BioShock, of course, is a great example of one
that took a philosophical approach, providing intelligent commentary on
the political dimension and roles of science and religion in our
day-to-day lives. But there weren't many shooters in years past that
garnered the same chin-stroking reaction from players.
year, though? Several of them consistently touched on post-adolescent
themes. Max Payne 3 portrayed a broken man coming to terms with his
harrowing past. Call of Duty: Black Ops II elicited discussion about the
future of warfare and the possible implications of relying so heavily
on man-less drones. Medal of Honor: Warfighter attempted a more mature
take at storytelling by emphasizing the strained relationships of
military men and women torn between duty and family.
where do we go from here? The thing is, the best shooter anyone can
make--the one that perfects the art of physically pulling the
trigger--has already been made. But as with all things, the genre will
continue to evolve. Considering shooters are, at their core, about
committing the absolute worst crime you can commit against another
living thing, that evolution will necessarily be an ugly one. And its
kind of got me freaked out.
know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too
enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right
mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR
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