Review: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon’s intro might just be the perfect example of setting a game’s tone. Set in the dystopian future of 2007, players assume the role of Sargent Rex ‘Power’ Colt, a survivor of Vietnam War II, and are tasked with stopping a cyber-army called ‘Omega Force’. That’s merely the set up, what follows is an absolutely ludicrous series of events that merely serve to up the ante in every possible way. Suffice to say, by the end of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, you’ve experienced a great many things, some of which you’re pretty sure you’ll never see in another video game. As a send up of 80’s action films, it is pitch-perfect. But as a send up of Video Games as a whole? Blood Dragon plays it a little too safe with its side missions to be granted that particular title.
Blood Dragon’s story is absolutely absurd. While the set up is fairly silly, the narrative twists and turns around Colt’s hunt for his former Colonel, Sloane, and the game manages to make even the most tired of plot conventions feel fresh, in the hands of its pixel art cutscenes and fantastic soundtrack. As Colt growls his way through cheesy dialogue while synths churn in the background, you can’t help but smile. Blood Dragon knows exactly how stupid it is, and it revels in that fact throughout the entire adventure. To describe any single moment would be to ruin the surprise, but I can’t say that I’ve laughed as much at a video game as I did at Blood Dragon’s closing moments.
It helps that the gameplay is incredibly solid throughout. With a foundation as fun as Far Cry 3’s to build on, Blood Dragon takes the ideas used in that game, and, while it doesn’t necessarily iterate on them, it condenses them, creating a game world packed with things to do. Should you go hunting for tigers with glowing eyes? Or maybe take on one of the predator challenges, taking out a particular enemy with a specially designated weapon. Blood Dragon doesn’t skimp on activities, but you can’t help but feel that the game’s best tricks have been reserved for the main story, with the rest appearing more like filler. The gameplay is good enough to carry them, but they don’t quite match up to the highs you experience in Rex’s main quest. Still, they’re a decent diversion, earning you a bunch of cool upgrades for your arsenal.
While Far Cry 3 had some performance issues on PS3, Blood Dragon appears to run far more smoothly than its more expansive brother. Perhaps this could be due to the smaller island, or the increased fog, but I never encountered a moment where it really bogged down, even with around 15 enemies on screen at once. There’s some smart visual effects going on in the game, from the VCR filters and color separation that accompany some effects, creating the most visually distinct game since Kane & Lynch 2. Some may be put off by the overabundance of neon, but I loved how garish everything looked, with bright, eye popping colors on most of the weapons. The Bow especially, which appeared to be rimmed with a dazzling blue light.
With Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Ubisoft appears to have given their team just enough rope to hang themselves with. The could have played it safe, and crafted a new adventure with similar characters to the base game. Instead what we’ve gotten is one of the most exciting and inventive first person shooters I’ve played in quite some time. If rose tinted glasses aren’t your thing, then Blood Dragon isn’t going to be for you. However, if you love a good bad action film, and revel in grandiose idiocy, then have I got the game for you. Just make sure to savor it.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- A pitch-perfect parody of 80s action films
- Enough content to keep you busy for a good while
- Fantastic music
What I Dislike:
- Side missions are nowhere near as interesting as the main missions.