Far Cry 3 has corrupted me, readers. It has turned me from a softly-spoken vegetarian and loving cat-owner into... something else. It's not that I don't love animals anymore, exactly. It's more that I love them for... different reasons. For instance: the noises they make when they burn, and the many wondrous things that can be assembled using their skin.
Animals in Far Cry 3 are both friend and enemy - a threat that becomes a resource once you've dealt with it, and a tactical advantage waiting to be triggered. Care to join me on a little retrospective safari?
First contact with a Cassowary
I can vividly recall the moment Far Cry 3 tripped the switch marked "9/10" in my brain. It was a starry night. A soft breeze lulled the ferns along the shore as I stepped from the waves, machete in one hand, shotgun in the other. Up the beach lay the target, a rudimentary mining facility overrun by pirate scum, and unbeknownst to me, a terrible avian force had been roused therein by the idiocies of AI pathfinding. As I sidled up to a corrugated iron fence and looked for a discreet access point, there was a sudden commotion of AK fire. Then a man came tumbling - nay, flying across the sky, arms thrown wide to embrace the shades of his ancestors.
A second later, a nightmare stood on the precipice. It resembled the offspring of a Pink Floyd album and some candyfloss, but believe me when I tell you that not Conan the Barbarian himself could have met those eyes without trembling. A Cassowary, for those who haven't been keeping up with their ornithology, is basically a cut-price ostrich that communicates by kicking things to death. If you're ever around and about in the jungle, and you hear a noise like a door being torn off its hinges, it's time for a change of scene.
The Tale of Two Bears
Bears. The arseholes of the animal kingdom, or at least that portion of the animal kingdom that resides inside videogames. The ones in Far Cry 3 are as annoying as the ones in Skyrim, as I discovered one afternoon when I trotted, whistling, into a roadside bush and it turned around and bit me in the face. Respawning, I succumbed to the red mist, ran to the nearest shop, bought the biggest RPG in the game and returned to the scene of my death, demanding satisfaction.
The bear that had killed me was nowhere to be seen, but I spotted another one just down the road, engaged in bear-fisticuffs with a jeep. I levelled the RPG, fired and watched the blast cloud propel both grizzly and car into the stratosphere. Sweet lady victory! Then I turned around and the bear I'd been hunting bit me in the face.
Spegging up and down a bay without a care in the world, I feel a sharp bump beneath my jetski. Turns out I've been unintentionally playing chicken with a now-deceased Mako shark. You know what sharks are good for, right? That's right - storing money. For some, strange reason Ubisoft has decreed that the manliest thing you can craft from the skin of the world's purest predator is a fancy wallet. I'd have gone with sharktooth-filled frag grenades, myself.
Don't bring a knife to a Bison Fight
Or you'll get repeatedly bowled over and poked in the britches. This was my introduction to Far Cry 3's ecosystem, incidentally. The rest of the office actually came round to my desk to watch.
Free your tiger brothers
Among the stupider habits of Rook Island's pirates is keeping really angry tigers in balsawood cages, right slap bang in the middle of camp. A quick burst with an assault rifle should free the beast, whereupon it'll leap up and savage everybody nearby. You can assist by setting it on fire, if you like. Usefully, enemy bullets don't seem to do as much damage to animals as yours - a single big cat outbreak is generally enough to make human-skin handbags of an entire encampment.