For those of you keeping track of this at home (in other words, nobody), I've wrapped up playing Skyrim in my alternate-universe, game-playing world, and have moved on to the open-world, role-playing game Far Cry 4. In many ways, Far Cry 4 is similar to the other games I've been playing this year (Fallout 4 and Skyrim, aka The Elder Scrolls 5), but as it's produced by a different studio (Ubisoft) than the other games (Bethesda), it's also very different.
I've adapted to the differences and have enjoyed the game overall, and as you may be able to tell from the video clip above, it's all quite lovely - it's set in Kyrat, a fictional equivalent of modern-day Nepal, and features lush valleys and jungle surrounded by lakes and rivers, Buddhist shrines and monasteries, and huge snow-capped Himalayan mountains. On top of all that, the setting has a charming third-world ambience, with quaint little settlements and villages and ubiquitous pickup trucks that careen crazily down the roads with utter disregard to any traffic etiquette and seem to be continuously breaking down.
I completed many of the successive missions required by the game's story line, and was having fun until I got to the conclusion of the Kyrat Airport mission (titled "Free Willis" in the game). No matter how many times I tried, I simply could not catch that plane, even in my wingsuit.
Keep in mind that catching the plane is merely the tail end of a much larger mission. To even get to that point, first you have to silently eliminate six snipers at the airport without triggering an alarm, then from one of the sniper's perches, provide cover for a landing plane and then shoot about 20 or so enemy combatants after the plane lands, and then take down a helicopter that was dispatched to eliminate you, and then finally do battle with another 20 or so enemies in a gun fight that takes place all across the airport. Only then do you get to meet the titular Willis, who informs you that the file you're looking for this whole time and the goal of the entire mission is in that plane taking off on the runway.
So I chased the plane over and over, and I timed my leap from the ATV to get airborne at just the right moment, but no matter how many times I tried, I'd always wind up falling short of the plane and have to start the whole mission over. Eliminate the snipers, take down the helicopter, and engage in the extended shootout all over again, only to miss that plane yet again.
I finally cheated and went on line to get advice on what I was doing wrong, and learned that many people were having the same problem and that I was technically doing everything correctly. I was encouraged to just keep trying until I finally caught that plane. To add insult to injury, commenters said things like "Don't worry - it took me like five tries before I finally got it," but I must have tried over 50 times in the course of the past five days and still kept missing that plane.
Over on YouTube, I watched videos like the one above over and over to see what they were doing differently from me, and couldn't see where I was doing anything wrong. But it finally did dawn on me, after watching one of those videos for the umpteenth time, that everyone seemed to be closer to the plane when they first started up the ATV. By the time I would get to the ATV, the plane was already halfway down the runway, but in the videos, it was only a few feet away. At first I thought that for some reason the game was starting me at a point too far from the ATV to ever catch up to the plane, but then I realized that my error was that I was apparently running, but not sprinting, toward the ATV.
So after taking out the six snipers and completing all of the other mission requirements yet again, I hit the "shift" key while holding down the "W" key (the keyboard command to sprint and not just run) and got to the ATV before the plane was too far down the runway. I then barreled down the runway on the ATV, made the leap and got airborne with the wingsuit, approached the plane, and then . . . missed again.
But I didn't give up and I tried again and then a third time, and the third attempt, as they say, was the charm. I finally caught the plane, grabbed the file off the passenger seat, bailed out, threw a grenade into the cockpit while free falling for some reason (seems a little unnecessarily mean spirited, but whatever) and then finally deployed my parachute rather than activate my wingsuit like the game suggested (I did learn during my on-line research that activating the wingsuit only results in the player falling to their death and having to run the mission over yet again). So at least I was spared that indignity.
To be honest, it was a frustrating experience and certainly not what I consider "fun" (and isn't that the whole point of playing a game - to have fun?). But I did experience a sense of satisfaction of solving a problem and successfully completing something difficult, and after taking a little breather from the game to compose this post, will probably be back in the fictional kingdom of Kyrat to continue the game. After all, now that I finally have the file, I have to unredact its contents.