Far Cry 3 (Part 1/2): Re-evaluating Hero Culture
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
The sceneries in Far Cry 3 were absolutely beautiful and the gameplay was extremely gratifying. But what was really unique about Far Cry 3 was its protagonist, Jason Brody. When many video game protagonists focus on heroism and selfless acts, Jason Brody was more self-absorbed, more vengeful, and more inconsiderate.
His character flaws shine through when he interacts with his girlfriend, Liza. When Liza shows concern for his safety and wellbeing Jason brushes her off. Gradually, the poor woman gets heavily disheartened. Although Liza shows sympathy for Jason’s suffering, he hardly acknowledges her.
Moreover, Jason falls deep into the act of killing, especially for someone who has just witnessed a violent scene involving a loved one. Evidently, while seeking vengeance, Jason becomes enthralled in his quests when the villagers pamper his ego by calling him a ‘true warrior.’ No longer does he want to be with his friends and loved ones. He would rather stay in a crime-ridden, dangerous island to further soak in his newfound worship.
In a rational explanation to this, my understanding is that Jason is experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) throughout the game. This further enhances his gradual insanity as he delves deeper into drugs and life-threatening scenarios. After being captured by dangerous criminals and watching his older brother get killed, it is very reasonable to assume Jason would not be himself afterwards. Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky, Ph.D., C.Psych. and Teresa Lauer, MA, LMHC define PTSD as “an anxiety disorder that can occur following a traumatic event… [which] occurs when you experience an emotionally disturbing or distressing event (Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky Ph.D., 2012).” Jason displays this in the short interactions with his friends and his girlfriend.
But what does this all mean?
Personally, I found Jason’s character to be incredibly enlightening as a gamer. I absolutely adore hero culture in video games, books, and movies – no matter how realistic (or unrealistic) the heroism really is. While playing Far Cry 3 and acknowledging Jason Brody’s lack of empathy, I came across the shoreline featured in the cover art of the game.
Of course, I didn’t know this was the cover page yet. I was viewing the hanging corpses with Jason’s camera – zooming in and out and taking pictures. Eventually, I came across the buried corpse in the sand with only half of its face visible. I took more pictures, received an achievement, and walked around a bit more.
It was only after my gaming session when I felt a little uneasy from that whole experience. It was not anything even close to PTSD, of course, but I understood just how morbid the essence of the game really was. Vaas and the rest of his gang represented realistic gang-related violence, and it made me feel very awful.
It was at that moment when I empathized with Jason’s disconnect to love, his obsessive willpower, and his seeking of a new lifestyle. Rarely do we find a main character who possesses such harsh realities. In hero culture, even flawed characters overcome their lacking capabilities. Jason, however, is still flawed at the end of the game. To remind the gamer of Jason’s mental wellbeing, Jason says to himself, “I’m a monster. I can feel the anger inside me.” Far Cry 3 really helped me redefine my understanding of Hero Culture. Not every hero is perfect.
What is your opinion on Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody? Do you empathize with his character?
– Jennie Bharaj
Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky Ph.D., C. &. (2012). What Is Ptsd?: 3 Steps to Healing Trauma. CreateSpace.