Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon seems like one of those games that never should have happened. After the main game went out the door, a small team at Ubisoft was given the basic framework of Far Cry 3 and a very short time frame to turn in an expansion pack.
What we got out of that is a mishmash of every single 80s movie staring Michael Biehn and featuring giant lizards that shoot lasers out of their eyes. Roll your D20s, nerds, it’s time to review Blood Dragon.
While Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is based on the exact same engine and mechanics as the base game, the actual story and setting is about as different as you can get. In an alternate future where Russia and the United States have made the world a nuclear wasteland, you play as Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt, a Mark IV Cyber Commando who must stop a rogue madman (who is also Rex’s old commanding officer, as luck would have it) from using the blood of an otherworldly creature called a blood dragon to turn humans all over the world into zombies…or something to that effect. While Blood Dragon’s story is what you would expect to find on an 80s straight-to-VHS movie, the way the story is told, through SNES-quality vignettes helps add to the whole neon-future milieu the game has going on. While the cutscenes eventually wear out their welcome, there’s just enough charm and 80s movie cliches in there to help them pull through the majority of the game.
Because Blood Dragon is a straight lift from Far Cry 3, a lot of the mechanics will be very similar. You still creep through bushes, use a bow and arrow for silent kills and your machete for close-combat. Where Blood Dragon stands out is its liberal use of 80s movie inspired weapons and one-liners. Rex’s basic pistol is straight out of RoboCop, as is the sniper rifle. Killing an enemy will prompt Rex to throw out a quip (stabbing enemies will have Rex say something like “hope he got the point” and things to that effect) and using the melee key without something in front of you to stab will make Rex throw up the bird. Blood Dragon is the kind of game that knows exactly what it is and what type of player is going to appreciate the source material and it revels in that. The various wildlife of the island are glowing neon, and all of the database entries on the animals, weapons and friends and allies are written in a very tongue in cheek kind of way.
One difference to Blood Dragon that players will notice is that, while you do gain levels for killing enemies and completing quests, there is no more kill tree to drop points in to; rather there is a set upgrade path for Rex to progress along. Thankfully, leveling up is a trivial task, especially if you complete sidequests so before too long you should have all the perks you’ll need.
While the designs of the weapons, enemies and creatures are great, the environment in Blood Dragon often makes navigation difficult. With a black ground and neon pink sky, the terrain kind of gets lost and it’s hard to see enemies and animals without tagging them first.
Even though the story for the game is kind of short, there’s a variety of sidequests and other distractions for you. Liberating bases around the island, a classic Far Cry 3 past-time, will give you access to Adventure Cabinets which allows you to tackle the side missions. There’s also all the requisite collectibles that you could possibly want, from old TVs to VHS tapes that contain some, frankly hilarious, 80s movie parodies and send-ups.
While Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a fine game in and of itself, mostly what it accomplishes is making you want to play more Far Cry. If you grew up with 80s action movies on repeat, then this is the game for you. While the lengthy cutscenes and troublesome aesthetic might be a turn off, this is the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that games need more of. If you’ve been hungry for more Far Cry 3-styled action, pick this one up.
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