Recently I discovered Far Cry 2. Fantastic game. Huge, open world. Good assortment of weapons. Vehicles. Graphics are more than serviceable. Its a solid, a very good game.
I can't play it.
Its too violent.
I enjoyed Fallout. Especially FONV. Ditto for both Borderlands games, Dishonored and even Saints Row III. All of those feature violence. Borderlands and SRIII thrive on it. So why can I play and enjoy these games, while finding Far Cry difficult.
The theme of each game matters. Lets face it: if you're taking the violence in SRIII or the Borderlands games even remotely seriously, please, stop reading this and seek help. I mean that without any malice and with the sincerest concern for your well-being. The violence in those games is truly over the top - but the setting is so outlandish that it seems like cartoon violence to me. The same holds true for Fallout. Violence exists in these games, but the setting and theme place distance between the player and the violence through use of the context in which the violence takes place.
Not so in Far Cry 2. Running through a realistic, third world nation, blasting away at people with smuggled weapons while searching for malaria meds on a black market, simply isn't something I can enjoy. Certainly I can appreciate the excellent gun play, the open world, the lush jungles, the responsive vehicles. Everything about this screams "This is what Crysis should have been."
But I can't enjoy the game. The setting is, for me, too real. And thus, so is the violence. It seems somehow wrong to actually take pleasure in games such as Far Cry 2 and Spec Ops: The Line. This is admittedly a subjective line, and I am still playing the game in small doses, trying to suspend my disbelief, to place myself in the shoes of an actor performing a role. I might even manage one day. But I wrestle with the immediacy of the violence such a realistic, believable context creates.
I don't seek to draw some imaginary line. To claim that enjoying Crysis is okay "because it has aliens and a Michael Bay story" while enjoying Far Cry 2 is wrong because it lacks aliens and is more Tony Scott (may he rest in peace.) I won' condemn anyone for enjoying Far Cry 2 - its an excellent game. As for me, I have always wondered whether such a personal line existed, and now I think I might have found it.
Has anyone else ever experienced similar feelings? And believe me, I won't condemn anyone who has not. I simply want to foster intelligent discussion on the matter.