Forget everything you think you know about Far Cry 3 when starting Blood Dragon. With the exception of the core element of an open-world on a tropical island, there’s hardly anything that has stayed the same. The entire Far Cry 3 experience has been streamlined as there is no longer a need to sell the items looted, sorry, pilfered. Levels are gained and given to you without so much as seeing a skill tree. There are analogues to pistols, shotguns, SMGs, sniper rifles as they all return with new names with futuristic-sounding attachments. Enemies are varied, and are no longer simple pirates. These cyborgs want you deader than a “Where’s the Beef?” commercial.
An anti-tutorial, tutorial teaches you the basics for the uninitiated. There isn’t a way to skip it, but it’s so well done that you’ll end up cracking a smile and enjoy taking in the insane amount of pop-up tooltips. It is very much a statement on modern videogame design.
This a new 2007 for Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, nuclear war has happened in the form of the Vietnam War II. Everything has changed.
As Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt, a half-human, half-cyborg, you’re tasked with your partner Spider to infiltrate the once-good guy, Sloan’s evil tropical island. Things of course go terribly and you’re forced to find Sloan by yourself and stop him before he launches more destruction unto the world. The story is paper thin, only giving you a motive for revenge and reason to quickly drop you into the open world to weaken Sloan’s defenses in a bombastic and over-the-top environment with the intention to bring him down for good.
Far Cry 3 lightens things up with Blood Dragon as it is quite humorous with the jokes, with Phil LaMarr (Dead Island series, MAD TV) as your gone-too-quick partner Spider. And Michael Biehn (The Terminator,Aliens, Navy Seals) providing the voice for Rex Colt. His one-liners are the epitome of an 80′s action movie:“And that was just using my left hand” and even the fourth wall-breaking “So I collect shit, unlock shit, and get shit. Got it“.Other voice acting and interactions are done with 16-bit cutscenes. Incredibly campy. Incredibly wonderful all the same.
Empowerment is a funny thing, too much of it and you’re a diety without a challenge. Too little of it and it becomes overbearing and no longer fun. Blood Dragon eschews any balance and makes you the baddest manborg on the planet, with your T-1000 style run that feels as fast as any of the jeeps you can drive, to which I rarely used. Late game weapons have to be seen to be believed, and are exactly what you’d expect from this power fantasy come to life.
The Blood Dragons are bitchin’. Not only are they your worst enemy, but they can be your best friend. Taking the outposts, ahem, garrisons make them a powerful tool. Remember how you’d shoot the cage where an animal was being held, whether it was a bear, cassowary, or tiger? Now amplify that by 100x where free-roaming Blood Dragons can be lured in by tossing a cyber heart from a pilfered enemy into the encampment. This will wreak absolute chaos. Blood Dragons can’t enter garrisons directly, but they’re powerful laser blasts can. Now, if someone (you) were to turn off the overshield, they might just clear out that garrison for you. How could you possibly complete an achievement for killing 25 blood dragons with such a powerful ally?
My PC Specs:
– Intel Core i7 3770k @ 3.9GHz (Turbo)
– 8GB DDR3 RAM
– NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti
The island of Blood Dragon is a dark and dreary place where red clouds fill the sky, lightning flashes, and it is always night. Neon permeates from every one of Blood Dragon’s pores. Weapons, enemies, garrisons, and even blood dragons themselves glow with such passion that you can’t help but smile and take it all in.
Australian duo, Power Glove, revitalizes the 80s with their synthesized tracks and ambiance. Percussion is the right tempo when the action is hot. When it’s not, you’ll be hearing the sound of lasers blasting, blood dragons roaring, overshields powering the garrisons with a gentle hum, and scientists in rigid battles with cyborgs.
It should be noted, that none of Far Cry 3′s weaker modes such as the multiplayer or co-op make an appearance, as to keep the game’s costs low and I think a realization that this type of experience is best told in a single player setting and doesn’t introduce any fluff.
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is full of (cyber)heart. It’s anachronistic and an amalgamation of movies we love, grew up with, and saw terribly edited on television. And while I won’t spoil it, even the end credits nail the 80s movie to a tee. Blood Dragon’s light-hearted approach to the serious tone of Far Cry 3 works to the game’s credit, completely separating the entities. It’s far too short for its own good, running a total of six hours as I’d rather see this as a full retail product (perhaps testing the waters for Far Cry 4). I’ll be going back to start a new campaign since obtaining 100% completion. Be kind, rewind.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by PR for review purposes