Far Cry 3 screen
Indulge me a second while I offer up a tale of taking a stronghold in Far Cry 3. Being the self-punishing sort that I am, I’m trying to take all strongholds as silently as possible and without being detected, which means my method is very slow and methodical. However, on this occasion fate – and some awesome “emergent” systems – all worked in my favour. Using the cover of night, I cautiously crept around the back of this particular stronghold as I scouted it out with my binoculars. Nine pirates, with one charger in their number. After making my way to the perimeter, I took out the first goon using the tried and trusted distract-with-rock-stab-with-knife method that had served me well plenty of times before, before slinking back into the undergrowth. Eight pirates.

As I awaited my next move however, there was a shout from one of the pirates. I froze and assumed they’d seen the body of their fallen comrade. Then they started running towards me. Holding my breath, I watched as they came straight for me…and ran right past. It turned out there were three carnivorous boars behind me that were about to creep up on me, but the bandits spotted them first. As they fled, chased by seven of the remaining pirates, I took the opportunity to sprint from my concealment to the alarm box on the other side of the stronghold, deactivating the alarm and fulfilling one my objectives to clear the base. At this point I noticed that one of the pirates had not joined his comrades on the boar hunt, and was instead standing on the upper balcony of the main hut, egging them on and – most importantly – facing away from me. Taking the initiative, I plunged my blade into his chest while muffling his screams with my hand. Seven pirates.

Unfortunately, as the animation played out I noticed the other pirates were returning from their boar hunting mission, presumably successful aside from the fact they’d lost a couple of their members in the struggle. Five pirates. As a result, I didn’t have time to hide the freshly-slain body, dropping it to my feet as I legged it to cower in some handy undergrowth directly beneath a gun turret. At this point my plan was to wait until they’d returned to their patrols, and then kill them off one by one as planned. It took a while, mainly due to the slight panic raised from finding the aforementioned corpse, but eventually one of them decided to man the turret directly above me. I was ready to proceed from the darkness when I heard an exclamation that, after the excitement of the boars, I did not expect: “TIGER!”

On THIS side of the stronghold it transpired that a tiger had taken fancy to me, and I had again unwittingly lured the local wildlife towards the pirates. Humorously, due to their pro-active nature, they ran towards the stripy bastard and reached the predator faster than it got to me, which in turn resulted in the expected outcome: Four pirates. Three pirates. Two pirates. At this point I began to worry. You see, the last pirate was a bit of a straggler, and it would mean I was soon to be a closer target for the tiger than he was. I was now caught between a rock and a hard place. Only the rock was stripy and had teeth, while the hard place had guns and would have resulted in a massive drop in XP reward if I let him see me running out of the undergrowth. While he was busy mauling the last of the closest pirates to him – (One pirate.) – I held my breath in real life, while in-game started slowly edging towards the very edge of the undergrowth.

And that’s when things got hilarious.

See, though the pirate was lagging behind, he wasn’t dumb. He saw his mates get devoured. He knew his piddly gun probably wasn’t going to cut it, and so he decided to throw a Molotov cocktail at the beast as he charged towards it. It was a complete success – possibly helped by the few shots his buddies had managed to hit before their deaths – and the tiger fell as the bottle shattered on his body. However, in his fury, the pirate had momentum. Too much momentum in fact, to stop himself running into the same undergrowth as myself and the tiger. Which was now, thanks to the Molotov, on fire. As I was in there too, I had to make a hasty run for the relative safety of the center, and as I did – putting myself out as I went – the final pirate succumbed to the very flames he himself had caused in a darkly ironic twist. Zero pirates.

Far Cry Burn

The game wrenched control away from me for a second to inform me I had successfully taken the stronghold, with the full undetected bonus and only one kill by my own hands as the flames finally died down.

I’m beginning to like Far Cry 3 a lot.

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