A Note before we begin: I’ll be taking a week off for Christmas this year and resuming posts on January the 4th. However, in anticipation of the fact that the 11th of January will be my one year anniversary here I’m going to figure out a way to do a two part entry for those weeks. For now, the final post of 2012.
This entry was, in its original design going to be an entry on different varieties of villains and how each of them are effective. However in writing that article I found that the entire first half of the entry was really just an elaborate excuse to talk about Vaas Montenegro from Farcry 3.
So why not just skip that nonsense and talk about the madman who’s turning heads?
He’s probably pointing at something he’s going to use on you.
Early in promotion of the game Vaas was easily highlighted as one of the main features. His antagonism towards the player was showing through a series of vignettes where he attempted to kill the player by tying you to a cinderblock and hurling it into water. That water probably had things in it that could kill you. Slowly.
It says something in a game like Farcry 3 where players will talk continuously about how the island is full of dangerous wildlife that is vastly more fatal then the various locals who are actively attempting to kill you and yet Vaas is the scariest thing. The odd thing is that Vaas is something of a benchmark in the game as much as he is an antagonist.
You see as the player you take the role of Jason, a rich kid out to have fun. You end up on Vaas’s island (Rook Island) and you, your brothers and friends are all captured by him and held ransom. Of course, Vaas doesn’t really intend to let you go but you manage to escape. From then on your goal is to be able to survive in the wild and be able to kill the pirates. By game’s end you learn that your growth in game is actually identical to that of Vaas except he decided to slip his leash and become something new rather than subject himself to the will of another.
I’m going to give you the spoiler warning now as I can’t talk more without revealing game details. You’ve been warned.
Both you and Vaas are trained by Vaas’s sister Citra who’s design was to create the perfect warrior. By game’s end you learn her true maligned purpose and that you are a replacement for Vaas. Considering how you end up having sex with Citra before being killed by her, should you choose to follow her design, it’s understandable that Vaas would not want to follow his sister’s ideal. He turned on her and started working for a man named Hoyt Volker who provided Vaas with the drugs, men and weapons to make him king of the island. I should point out that you as Jason also use drugs in the game to give you enhanced abilities.
By time you and Vaas meet he seems to be the clear threat on the island as Citra only talks about how he betrayed her, hiding her own malicious intent behind her desire to help you take down Vaas which is your objective anyway so why question it?
Vaas is, in many ways, the perfect villain. He is simply vicious and cruel without measure or limits and the worst part of it is just how smart he is. There is no clever way to take him down, no trick or simple way to defeat him. The only way to do it is to be a better, smarter killer then him. Even in his final moments in game he’s able to outwit your plans to take him down. So much so that many people have speculated that due to the nature of his death he might not actually be dead despite what the official story says. Think about that and compare it to other enemies that are similar to the player in video games.
The other thing is thought that Vaas is a representation of what you will become or at least how capable you will be once you’re strong enough. That’s a common element in games where the player can gain strength. However, in Farcry 3 you don’t even start off as being even remotely capable. Physically you are a blank slate with as much talent for survival and combat as the common man. You aren’t a level 1 Fighter class like in Final Fantasy, you don’t have basic abilities that are improved over time like in Megaman X, you are a base ordinary human in an environment that may well exist in the real world. Your goal is to be as tough, as smart as good as the monster that has (as far as you know) been this way as long as he’s lived. Good luck.
The lead-in for the original draft of this article was just how frightening the more violent enemies in media become the smarter they become. It’s a logical fear at that considering violent enemies are really only limited by their intelligence in how much harm they can cause. The more intelligent, the more creative and pervasive it gets. Vaas is very, very creative.
There are several commercials and actual live action segments of Michael Mando the actor who’s face, voice and movement are used for Vaas (as well as the character’s creator if interview is to be believed) which I’d link you to, but they’re so disturbing I’d rather you found them of your own determination. I mean that, they do some messed up stuff so deranged I had to walk away.
Overall I would love to see the character of Vaas face off against an equally strong willed and talented protagonist someone who is in the style of the Punisher or Ezio Auditore. A character who isn’t just a capable fighter but also someone with no reservations about killing and can give Vaas a good strong fight without limits beyond their own physical or mental abilities. Not a player character but someone who we see on screen facing Vaas and matching him. Good villains deserve great heroes that equal them in capacity if not in talent and Vaas has become too memorable for this to be his sole appearance. So let’s hope we see more of him facing some worthwhile enemies.
That is if Vaas survives the plot of Farcry 3 of course.
So too does this work exist.