Far Cry 3: Is Buck Immune To Bullets?

About halfway through Far Cry 3, the main plot has an arc where you have to save the last unsaved (and surviving) hostage, Keith, from Buck the rapist hitman. In order to do this, you have to help him find some legendary treasure of the Chinese fleet of Zhang He, one captain of which apparently broke off and settled on the game’s Rook Islands, enslaving the natives and building big old Chinese monuments for a while before Zhang He caught up with him and destroyed his little fiefdom to send a message about desertion.

It’s a cool Indiana Jones style plot. Seems better suited to a side quest rather than the main quest, since shoving it into the main quest means that you have to have Buck, a hitman who has one of your friends held hostage and also has a teacher/student fetish, thus justifying his exposition dumps where he tells you the history of the ancient ruins you’re raiding while still maintaining enough menace to be a plausible threat. In fact, the level of menace Buck’s given is really overdone (not to mention kink shame-y and homophobic, but that’s a whole other thing), seeing as he confronts you in person like five different times and, being the start point for a main story mission, you will almost certainly be loaded for bear every time you talk to him. He bullies protagonist Jason Brody into playing along with his schoolteacher fetish, calling him “sir” and other ego stroking.

Jason bristles, but never to the point of doing the obvious thing: Aiming his shotgun at Buck’s head and explaining to him how MAD works. Particularly since it isn’t even mutually assured destruction: Jason can kill Buck at-will (Buck has a gun tucked in his pants, but Jason has a shotgun or an assault rifle or something in his hands whenever he walks up to Buck, because it’s a first person shooter), and all Buck can do is have one of Jason’s friends killed in return. And even that requires Hector, Buck’s lackey on the other end of the phone, to go through with it after the maniac who’s killed a minimum of a half-dozen pirates (and that’s being very generous with assuming the vast, vast majority of kills are non-diegetic – if we take gameplay literally, the number is most likely 200+ and Jason regularly fights entire squads of enemies and wins) blows Buck’s head off, picks up the phone, and says “hey, I killed your boss, do you still want this ancient Chinese treasure, or should I just hit up the contacts who gave me the precise location of three of my other friends to track you down?”

And then when (inevitably) you do kill Buck, it’s with a quick time event knife fight. I’m pretty sure the idea is that you’re supposed to really despise Buck so that you kind of follow along with Jason’s journey from regular guy to player character, but the problem with this is that the player character switch gets flipped at the end of the tutorial, like eight hours before you meet Buck. The way the geography of the game is set up and the way Ubisoft open world games work, I’d gone through the pirates of the entire north island like a scythe by the time I met Buck, and he still acts like he holds all the cards. I can buy that having Keith at gunpoint in an undisclosed location is enough to coerce Jason into cooperating with the treasure hunt, but Jason doesn’t even try to threaten Buck with any of the military grade weapons he hucks around.

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