Tuesday, 28 October 2008

War stories from Mosate Soleo

Update: I've noticed so may people have hit this blog post by googling 'Sefapane Nitrous Bug' or 'Sefapane Truck Bug', so here's a hint to getting your truck inside the garage: approach from the North. That is all.

** AVAST! Far Cry 2 spoilers ahoy! **

Far Cry 2 is all about the little details. I overheard a conversation between two militia men.

“Do you want to scrape some cash together and go to that bar, Mike’s?”

“No, we can’t. That place is off limits now – only expats allowed in there.”

It’s these short, humanizing vignettes that add some of the bite to your actions. I think, that I've missed out on many of the even more gut-wrenching reactions though, because I've been super careful with my saves and loads and always opted for the most ‘successful’ path. Justin Keverne alludes to some of the extreme situations the game can present you with in with his recent post ‘Mercenary Behaviour’. I similarly had my first rescue buddy lying on the ground dying at one stage, but the game bugged up and wouldn't let me use one of my many, many syretes. Instead of treating it as an accidental part of the narrative, I caved and loaded. On reflection, I wish I had stuck with the former.

Later in the 2nd act I had the only doctor in the village, and hence provider of my precious malaria pills, disappear and refuse to return even after the fighting had well and truly stopped (which I am somewhat confident was also a bug). I just continued on with my condition, expecting him to return at some future date, however it ended up messing with a mission.

I had been getting warnings about my deteriorating health for about an hour. The commander of the ULL in the south, whatsisname, had asked me to take out a truck loaded up with nitrous oxide bottles, depriving their enemies the ADR, of the gas - precious for its use in surgery. “Less surgery means less survivors”, he told me. Sounds like the potential for a good time, and they paid in stones too. That scratched my Pavlovian itch for reward, so I was content to oblige.

My newest fellow merc buddy, Marty, had a better idea. Hijack the truck and take it to Sefapane in the North-West. There, he would meet me and we’d blow it up in the middle of town, putting a dent in the operations of both the ADR and the ULL. Two birds with one stone. I pulled the flatbed truck into the garage which promptly sealed shut behind me, just in time for me to see Marty appear. He instructed me to open a gas bottle in the back of the truck, while he exposed a wire in a circuit box on the wall. Before I had a chance, another Malaria attack made its presence felt and having had no pills for a long, long time I succumbed to its embrace. I woke up in the hospital, effectively sealing me out of the room Marty and my current mission were both locked in. Again, I reloaded.

The second time, I knew I had to be quicker. I had to be faster so I could get in and out before my attack came on and incapacitated me. I got in, got out, blew it up and was helping Marty fight off the stragglers when, predictably, my Malaria kicked in and I passed out. I really should have stuck with it this time and treated it as part of the story, I mean, talk about a compelling unintended narrativee consequence, but Marty was now missing because I hadn’t fought off the stragglers and my awful habit of meta-gaming refused to let me ‘waste’ the game asset that was Marty. Again I caved and tried it differently.

Now, with the mission safely in my rearview mirror, my rescue buddy won't stop commenting on how amazing it is that Marty & I escaped from that last adventure unscathed every time I see her. “I feel you’re a dependable asset”, she tells me. I feel ashamed, and move on.


Unknown said...

The first time one of my buddies died it was pretty odd for me too. He had been wounded the same way in four previous missions, each time all I had to do was inject him with a syrette and he was back on his feet, no problem. But not this time. Instead it didn't work. So the syrette came back up and he told me to give him another hit. No workies. The final syrette (which he asked for as well) was enough to overcome him and death took hold.

But obviously, it was intended to happen (that could hardly have been a bug :p), so I let it be. Shortly after I was asked to rescue another foreigner, my new buddy.

So really, you should just start treating the game as it was intended to be. I feel like you might be missing out on what the game is really about, such as the sometimes uncontrollable nature of life. :)

Otherwise, you sound way ahead of me, I'm still in the 1st act after 8 hours over the weekend. Too bad work takes up so much time. :(

Ben Abraham said...

Hey Jon.

Yeah I've definitely been getting that vibe - that most of what happens is intended, and that I should just let it happen. I'm nearly through I think and even though the 2nd act has been better than the first I still can't wait to start again and play more in a more cavalier attitude.

Make no mistake, this game is LOOOOONG. I'm 23 hours in and only at 73%, 23 of 33 main missions.

CrashTranslation said...

Coincidentally that mission is where Frank Bilders mate his maker.

Ben Abraham said...

Oh dear, now I wonder if I've messed with the game even MORE by treating deliberate things as bugs... =/

Definitely more research is needed!

Anonymous said...

God damn it!
Now I'm upset that I've given this game a pass, it actually sounds intellegent.
The part where you said you were overcome and ended up in a hospital intrigued me, I'm looking for a game where failing doesn't give you the game over screen, where failing and recouping your losses is all part of the game.

Ben Abraham said...

Sounds like you *do* want Far Cry 2, ihavetheprincess. Have you read anything about the buddy system? If you 'die' and a buddy is available, they will come rescue you, hoiking you up on their back and carting you off somewhere safer so you can patch up and help you take out the last few guys.

That said, it will only happen the first time you get 'killed' but it is certainly a HUGE step forward.

Maybe you'd enjoy my post, 'Far Cry, Wrongs and Rights' in which I talk about my experiences with the buddy system.