Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ReviewMay 3, 2013
It’s great to see the big publishers take a chance on something different and not so serious for a change. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was worth the risk.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon takes place in a post-apocalyptic world drenched in fog and garish neon. The main character is named Sgt. Rex ‘Power’ Colt and voiced by The Terminator‘s Michael Beihn, reading off some of the worst (best?) scripted dialogue ever put to paper. He battles dinosaurs that shoot laser beams out of their eyes. There’s even what may be the world’s first 16-bit sex scene. This is not a game that’s meant to be taken seriously, but if you have a sense of humor (and a nostalgic love for 80s action flicks), you’ll probably love this standalone DLC.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is such a crazy concept that most people, including myself, thought it was a clever joke when it was revealed by Ubisoft on April 1st. Thankfully, it wasn’t and we’ve been gifted with a rare combination: a raunchy, tongue-in-cheek satire of pop culture and action films with the production value of a triple-A title. Being able to repaint elements from Far Cry 3 and use its engine has endowed Blood Dragon with scope that most other downloadable titles would be unable to match. While the crazy 80s facade and puns may wear thin for some by the game’s end, the basic gameplay here is incredibly solid, and it all comes together for a hell of an experience.
I haven’t personally played Far Cry 3 as of yet, but I’ve played the first two, and the gameplay here isn’t terribly different. That said, Rex Colt is a cyborg, and so he can breathe underwater, survive almost any fall, and run briskly through the tropic-Tron environment without worrying about things like stamina. Though everyone’s exchanged assault rifles for laser guns, the combat and health/ repair system is mostly unchanged. You can rip out cyborg hearts a la The Darkness and use them to lure the Blood Dragons toward enemy encampments for a bit of fun. You can also follow up stealth takedowns with a shuriken throw. Most of the weapons are pretty standard fare, from sniper rifles and a Robocop-inspired pistol to a gatling gun and flamethrower. By far the coolest armament an enigmatic weapon that Rex Colt acquires during the final moments of Blood Dragon, which is accompanied by another insanely awesome gameplay experience that I won’t spoil here. That said, I was a bit disappointed that the game’s villain is defeated in a cutscene.
Michael Beihn does a great job of purposefully phoning-in a terrible performance vocally. His Rex Colt is a foul-mouthed, one-dimensional caricature, and he’s mostly hilarious. My only complaint is that some of his one liners are extremely overused- he shouts witticisms every time he guns down a hapless foe or rips out a heart, which is quite often. During cutscenes or radio chatter, however, he’s incredibly entertaining.
By taking over enemy garrisons, you can claim them as a base of operations, unlocking new side missions, the completion of which earns you new upgrades for your futuristic ordnance. There are a bunch of these strewn all over the map, and unlocking each one allows you to fast travel to that point at any time. There’s also a bunch of animals you can hunt and VHS tapes and CRTs to find for the completionists.
Though the crazy neon hues make for a cool effect at first, it gets to be a bit headache-inducing as time goes by. There’s an ever-present smog clouding the environment, which dulls everything down a bit as well as takes a bit away from the draw distance, which makes the game look less visually impressive than its big brother. The dull, drab atmosphere also made me long for the sunny blue skies of Far Cry 3 after a while, but for the most part the effect is fine.
I feel that the soundtrack for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, made by Power Glove, deserves special mention. It’s a really awesome blend of Terminator and Tron, and alongside all of the 80s references it really helps sell the vibe the game is going for.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon feels a bit like the game Duke Nukem Forever was trying to be- just far, far more successful. At around 5-6 hours, it’s tough for it to overstay its welcome, either. It’s great to see the big publishers take a chance on something different and not so serious for a change. This is one of the most enjoyable shooters I’ve played in years, and I hope it encourages others to think outside the box.