The Mechanical Void: Jungle Beats
Far Cry 3 made Joshua Ens dance to its tunes.
When Jason Brody, Far Cry 3’s twentysomething protagonist, escapes into the jungle of Rook Island after watching his brother Grant die at the hands of the pirates who kidnapped them and their obnoxiously wealthy friends, he begins a journey that will not just lead him to save his friends and aid the native population, but also to lose sight of morality as he is forged anew in the fires of combat.
That process is somewhat disconnected from our experience as players: At the end of the day, my giddy laughter while rampaging through enemies might not reflect terribly well on me as a person, but it happened knowing of the skewed perspective of the ‘harmless’ fiction I was consuming. Jason’s slow descent into sweet insanity isn’t something we share, as players, but it is something the game manages to illustrate beautifully via the most destructive parts of his power trip.
There are three basic events in the game that perfectly capture Jason’s new role as gleeful killer, the first being your escape from a burning building and consequent car chase after rescuing your girlfriend Liza. You both hop into a truck, she takes the wheel while you fend off your pursuers with a conveniently placed grenade launcher. Jason whoops and yells with excitement over slight bass beats, pushing Liza to go faster even in her state of shock. “Those motherfuckers never saw that coming,” in his words.
You can see this side of him again when you rescue your friend Oliver from being sold into slavery in a similar vehicle section. Oliver steers the boat while you lay down cover fire with a machine gun, whooping and yelling with glee at the exploding boats and trucks around you. Oliver has a harder time enjoying the chaos, voice cracking with panic as he tries to maneuver the crowded waters. Again, the scene shows Jason excited over something that should leave him as shocked as his friend.
In the final, clearest example of his lust for destruction, Jason is tasked with destroying a drug lord’s crop of marijuana, which mostly means going nuts with the flamethrower you have been given in between dealing with the pirates guarding the fields, Skrillex & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s Make It Bun Dem blasting from your speakers. A mix of Marley’s rasta lyrics and Skrillex’s bass heavy dubstep, it’s an intoxicating soundtrack for your fiery adventures. You and Jason Brody both laughing as you torch plants and men.
Each one of these instances is about combining chaos and music to create that rush of adrenaline, the powerful rush that lets you forget the inhumanity of your own actions and lose yourself in the experience. That lets you experience the same reckless abandon Jason Brody has elected as his new life. Far Cry 3’s achievements and shortcomings as satire or commentary are another matter, but it sure knows how to hammer home a point with some drumming beats.
Joshua Ens, hailing from Alberta, Canada, is a welder by trade and drunkard by choice.