As I’ve said before, I don’t normally play first person shooters. Partly, it’s because I’m not very good at them and partly, it’s because most shooters out there tend to be the Battlefield or Call of Medal type. I think I might have one of those names wrong there.

However, games like Far Cry 3 are very different, rather than targeting immature, pre-pubescent boys – whose parents have far more money than sense – with colourful explosions and unrealistic assumptions about warfare, Far Cry instead targets someone who is more patient and enjoys tooling around in unexplored wildernesses to build experience, inventory and skills before tackling the storyline at their own pace. A fuller article of my thoughts on Far Cry 3 will be coming along soon. In the meantime, I wanted to have express my thoughts about one of the game’s biggest aspects; big game hunting.

A major part of being in the wilderness is living with any wildlife present, and a major game mechanic in Far Cry 3 is the hunting of animals to assist you in arming yourself and making life generally easier as the game progresses. By going hunting, you can carry more ammo, more arrows, more guns and more loot as well as more money. While I get this is a computer game, it is definitely aimed at the slightly more realistic side of life. Having never hunted anything before, virtually or otherwise, this aspect of the game certainly surprised me.

Ultimately, because I’ve always lived in a big city, loved animals and preferred not to see them come to harm, the game mechanic that necessitates making virtual and relatively realistic depictions of animals into utility bags doesn’t sit easily with me. I get that this game is not set in anywhere remotely near civilization, and that the people who do live on the Rook Islands are themselves forced to make do with what resources they can find on their patch of ground. Similarly, your character must adapt to the massive change in his environment and make the best of the situation.

This led me to think about the way animals are depicted and as a game mechanic in Far Cry 3. Apart from collecting pelts and skins to fashion items to help you on your quest of escape and revenge, you have opportunities to help the locals with their animal control problems. Generally speaking, I’m not entirely comfortable with seeing the more aggressive predators such as tigers or bears depicted as an animal control problem, but then again, I don’t have large predators meandering through my backyard looking for food on a regular basis. Well, I suppose there are large, slow moving bogans in my local supermarket, but thankfully, they generally graze within different areas of the supermarket to me.

The fact is, the treatment of animals in modern society, whether they’re wild or domesticated, is an interesting issue. Obviously, we farm a lot of animals for various reasons, primarily food and skins. We also use them for transport and other, more specialised functions and even generally as pets. When animal numbers get out of hand, culls are sometimes deemed necessary in case of starvation or property damage. Even in the wild, we are constantly looking for animals out there that secrete or create unique chemicals that can form the basis of new medicines. As the animal kingdom is a part of our world and a resource base for our society, it is vitally important to maintain good practices in managing this resource. In this way, farming is obviously better than going out there hunting willy-nilly, since it’s more controlled and there is less likelihood of animal cruelty.

Thankfully, there’s not too much hunting around in Far Cry 3 for animals and the whole mechanic is optional, as are the quests corresponding to . Avoiding it does mean the game is harder and you’ll likely be far poorer, but that is the price to pay for sticking up for your values. The game isn’t impossible to finish, just…more difficult. However, in large part, the whole issue is treated rather well in the game, as you can, for most of the time you spend in it, ignore the creatures around you and take down the bad guys instead. That part is pretty satisfying.

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