Jason Brody and the descent in to madness.

{Be warned, potential spoilers afoot!}

When I first picked up Far Cry 3 I was expecting to love the characters outside of the one I was to play, Jason Brody. Forefront in my mind was Vaas, a character who was painted by most of the marketing material as the main big bad.

I love characters in any form of entertainment that can show a genuine mania, and Vass delivered on this perfectly, but in some ways he paled in comparison to some of the others in this games cast of nut-jobs.

Out of all of them it can be argued that Jason, himself, ends up being the worst off - he starts the game as a frightened rich boy who witnesses his older brother’s death and is subsequently hunted like a wild animal, he struggles with his first kill which was a fluke. Quickly after this he takes to murdering people without batting an eyelash, something which didn't sit right with me after his initial reaction to seeing death first-hand. That was until he had a conversation with one of his friends who had escaped from Vaas’ clutches.

‘You know, I never thought I’d be able to kill someone. The first time, it felt wrong, which is good, right? But now, now it feels like winning.’

After Jason had said this I realised that he is right, killing in these games feels like winning, mainly because it is, you don’t take over an encampment by politely asking them to move out and make room. You go there and stalk them, personally I find some high ground and pin point everyone that I can see in the camp, if there are caged animals I will shoot their cages open so that the angry animal can thin the herd a little before I shoot the alarm boxes to isolate my prey... and then, then I start taking them out from a distance before moving in to take care of the straggles with a knife or a shotgun to the face.

In one instance I caused such a panic that the enemy A.I accidentally set fire to everything around them and I didn’t have to take anyone’s life with my own hands, all I did was sit up on a hill overlooking the camp and giggle as the fire ripped through the camp killing everyone, it was beautiful.

For us, the players, it should feel like winning, but for the character you inhabit to express that same feeling? That chilled me to the bone and it feels wrong, like I am no longer playing the hero, but someone who could quite easily become a danger to himself and those he loves, or professes to love, that single line of text in hindsight was a wonderful piece of foreshadowing of the how far Jason would go. Suddenly the loading screens between chapters made sense with their exclusive focus on C.S Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland and especially the quotes that paint Alice as borderline insane.

Jason Brody is not a hero, not in the slightest, partly because he not only finds killing easy, but he comes to enjoy it and partly because in the process of following the Path of The Warrior his narcissistic qualities come to bear, he becomes so embroiled in the power that the Tatau can give him to exact revenge upon Vaas and Hoyt that he pushes away those that care about him, chiefly his girlfriend; Liza Snow, who barely recognises Jason as he descends in to insanity.

As a player you find yourself questioning what is actually happening in the game world, for example when you confront the villains of this game you slip in to a dream-like state in which you engage the enemy one on one, usually with a knife, and in this hallucination you best them and take their life, in all but one of these hallucinations you see the aftermath of the fight, the body of your enemy is at your feet so you can feel safe in the assumption that that character is dead, but there is one character whose body I have not seen, whether through my own inattention or done so deliberately by Ubisoft, and now I find myself thinking - Did I actually kill him? Because that hallucination was especially surreal, Jason never questions it and other characters tell you that the deed was done, but throughout the game you get the sense that you cannot truly trust anyone except Jason’s friends, even if Jason, himself, doesn't allow his friends close any more.

At the end of Jason’s Path lies a choice, between two options that both lead to endings that no one could describe as happy, one see’s a character die that Jason cares for, despite the players misgivings, the other leads to much more dire consequences.

In the end Jason is not a hero, everything he touches turns to ash in his hands and he is left doubting himself and knowing that he can never return to the life he once knew, one way... or another.

You could consider this a review, and if that is how you want to take it then I highly recommend Far Cry 3 to anyone, even people who normally don’t enjoy first-person shooters, The Rook Islands are beautiful enough to capture anyone’s imagination, but there is a rotten core at the centre of this paradise.