Quantcast
Review: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon  




Review: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon photo
Review: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

11:00 AM on 04.30.2013

Acceptable in the Eighties


You are Rex Colt. Part man, part machine, all American. As a Mark IV cyborg on the tail of the maniacal Colonel Sloane, your mission is to destroy the Cyber Soldiers, rip out their Cyber Hearts, avoid Cyber Sharks and stop a man from becoming a Cyber God. 

It would be redundant at this point to mention Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a tribute to everything gloriously stupid about 1980s entertainment, wouldn't it?

I don't know why Ubisoft decided to take this sudden and jarring direction, but I'm glad it did.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: May 1, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

Although carrying the Far Cry 3 name, Blood Dragon is not a downloadable expansion or a DLC pack, and doesn't rely on the original game in any way. It's a separate downloadable game, able to be bought by Far Cry 3 owners and newcomers alike, telling its own unique story in its own unique style.

As a game, Blood Dragon plays out like a condensed version of Far Cry 3. There's an open island to explore, but it's tiny in comparison to what the main game offered. There's a leveling system, but it's linear and without customizable upgrades. There are enemy bases to liberate, animals to hunt, and optional missions to undertake, but not very many of them, and without much variety. This is all done by choice -- Blood Dragon isn't supposed to be as large as its big-budget, retail predecessor. In fact, much of the gameplay feels like little more than a vehicle for the eighties nostalgia trip -- a trip Ubisoft proves itself exceptionally good at. 

From the low-fi introduction to the "tracking" loading screen, Blood Dragon is an homage as loving as it is keenly observed. Cutscenes are presented as vaguely animated 8-bit images that take up less than 30% of the screen, dialog and concepts are littered with references to such classic entertainment as RoboCop, Terminator, The A-Team and the World Wrestling Federation. Collectibles include VHS tapes and bulky television sets. It's all overdone, it's all labored, but it's presented with such shameless passion it comes across as remarkably heartfelt where it could have been simply cynical. 

Michael Biehn provides the voice of Rex Colt, growling woeful one-liners with reckless abandon. As you may expect, the characters are all themselves parodies of typical eighties movie instigators. We have the streetwise black sidekick (who does die first), the typical love interest (who does get a cringe-inducing sex scene), and the evil war veteran gone rogue (who does provide the obligatory "A God Am I" speech).

It's worth noting that, as over-the-top as the story is, it commits to itself with a poker face. Rather than break the fourth wall to point out how stupid they are, cutscenes instead play out as if they were genuine, without relying on nods to the viewer to get its point across. Blood Dragon is confident its audience gets the joke, and therefore plays it deliciously straight. 

This commitment is not, sadly, played out so securely in the game itself. Loading screens and in-game dialog are littered with jokes that range from smirk-worthy to embarrassingly strained. Lame gags about how weapon attachments are "like strap-ons for your guns" and Colt using not one, but two versions of the "he called shotgun" quip cross the line from parody to banality. For much of the game, Blood Dragon is effortless in its preservation of the 80s style, but the mask slips when it reaches too far, especially once dialog loops and the same, less funny wisecracks are heard over and over. 

Though its comedy may be labored at times, the visual style is perfect. The red and blue color scheme, complete with scan lines over distant terrain, feels like any number of 80s science fiction films. The way Colt steadies his shotgun over his metal arm, spins ammo magazines in the air while reloading, and flips off enemies mid-combat all drip with the kind of try-hard machismo that once was the lifeblood of American entertainment. Every little detail conspires to create a believably anachronistic far-future 2007 dystopia, and it's in such details that Blood Dragon is able to be more than a cheap plundering of the memory banks. 

The soundtrack is a perfect example. Though mostly original music, the tunes are so informed by melodramatic eighties scores you'll swear you've heard them all before -- in a good way. Heavy synthetic drums and needlessly ominous keyboard loops pierce their way through every cutscene and action sequence, further adding a level of authentic flare, and hammering home the careful attention to detail that makes Blood Dragon more than a cheap pastiche. 

As a parody and a tribute to an era many players cherish, there's no faulting this curious Far Cry spin-off. As a game, however, it leaves me wanting. The action is certainly solid, but really does feel like a brief whirlwind tour of the Far Cry series' core concepts. As you unlock guns, sneak around strongholds, and tear through Cyber Soldiers with brutal takedown moves, you get the essence of a Far Cry game, but just the bare essence. The ridiculous additions of the Blood Dragon aesthetic are just that -- aesthetic -- with very little of the premise informing actual gameplay in any significant way. 

The titular Blood Dragons offer something of a switch up, but like everything else, they're a taster lacking in substance. Aside from a brief introduction in which Colt must sneak past the half-blind beasts and lure them to locations with enemy Cyber Hearts, the Dragons exist mostly as beefed up mooks with a tangential link to the plot. While one can theoretically lure Blood Dragons to enemy strongholds and pit them against the Cyber Soldiers, such opportunities are rare. Many is the time I lobbed a heart, even with a Dragon near, and found no useful benefit in doing so. 

The result of all this is a deep and well crafted premise in a somewhat shallow game. Blood Dragon is well made, and thoroughly entertaining to lovers of the eighties, but in many ways, it becomes a victim of its own success -- the core ideas are so fun, so lavishly crafted, one aches to see them in a game equal to their quality. Blood Dragon is a good little game, and I highly recommend checking it out, with the caveat that it's one of those games that does a few things well enough to inadvertently highlight its own flaws. 

As critical as I may be, however, I'd rather have Blood Dragon exist as it does than not exist at all. A game this delightfully stupid can only make the world a better place, and I sincerely hope this isn't the last we see of Rex Colt. 



THE VERDICT - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Reviewed by Jim Sterling

7 /10
Good: A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon



10:00 AM on 10.19.2013
The Blood Dragon soundtrack goes great with everything

I used to like Key and Peele until this nightmare I had recently in which they were the leaders of a terrorist organization and they had handcuffed a suitcase bomb to me. I was trying to get free while attempting to convince...more



4:00 PM on 09.08.2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon sales surpass 1 million mark

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has been quite the success for Ubisoft. Speaking with Game Informer at Gamescom 2013, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed the first-person shooter has found its way into more than one mi...more



11:00 PM on 07.26.2013
So just what was Ubisoft on when it made Blood Dragon?

Far Cry 3's Blood Dragon DLC is like the greatest straight-to-VHS movie that never was. So why did Ubisoft take such a big thematic leap from the Far Cry 3 template? Game Informer talked with creative director Dean Evans abo...more



1:30 PM on 07.10.2013
'Reset garrison' option added to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

After burning through Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, there's only so much left to do in the game before you never touch the thing again despite how ridiculously fun it is to hunt down critters with a neon bow. That was especially t...more



8:00 PM on 06.27.2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon sold 500k copies

Ubisoft's approach with games like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and, surprisingly, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is one I'd like to see fully embraced. It's not every day I can drop a full $60 -- or even half of that, to be frank -- ...more



11:00 AM on 06.08.2013
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon tops PSN charts in US, UK

Like Sergeant Rex Power Colt in a helicopter, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon soared above the rest of the competition on PlayStation Network last month, raining down neon-tinted death upon its enemies from both sides of the Atlantic...more



5:00 AM on 05.08.2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: The Movie

It's another Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon live-action parody, and it's just as amazing and cheesy as the other one. Everything about this is wonderful. "I'm just spinning my web, baby." I really hope the potential sequel has flying cyber shark missiles now. [Via Sucker Punch]more



9:30 AM on 05.06.2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon may get a sequel

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon went from an April Fools joke, to sort-of-kind-of a thing, to a real release. It pretty much came out of nowhere and wowed gamers of all shapes and sizes, which naturally leads to the burning question ...more



12:00 PM on 04.30.2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Achievement and Trophy Guide

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon came completely out of left field and blindsided us all. Jim and I have been powering through the massive wave of 80s and 90s nostalgia this past week, and to help you out, I've written up an Achieveme...more




reviews

5:00 PM on 04.17.2014
Review: Trials Fusion

There's nothing quite like Trials and, after several games in the popular racing/platforming series, fans know what to expect from developer RedLynx: more of the same. Yes, there will be a stupid, amazing theme song you'll ha...more



1:00 PM on 04.17.2014
Review: Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars

Serina is objectively the Best Girl.more



12:00 PM on 04.16.2014
Review: Steins;Gate

Time travel is infinitely more interesting once you leave the trappings of the TARDIS or any one of those familiar (some would say hackneyed) science fiction mainstays behind. Steins;Gate, the visual novel that inspired a ...more



View all reviews






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more