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In the Age of Modern-Retro Games, Blood Dragon Prevails


Far Cry 3 was one of my absolute favorite games for this generation of consoles. It featured villains that you wanted to finish off, a massive and beautifully detailed island to explore, a ton of side-mission variety, and the freedom to tackle a situation however you see fit. I chose to play stealthily whenever possible, and found it to be a thrilling challenge trying to liberate camps without setting off alarms or being spotted, using only my trusted bow and hunting knife. There were memorable moments throughout the entire story, like (spoilers) burning the marijuana fields while Skrillex plays, escaping the dam, the psychedelic Vaas battle, that freaking alligator, Sam's death, etc.

So when Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was announced, I was super excited. The main Far Cry 3 is more than enough to keep you occupied for a good while, but even after I beat the story, found all the collectibles, leveled Jason up completely, and got all the achievements (except for the poker one because the computer cheats), I still wanted more. Even though Blood Dragon wasn't an expansion, instead being its own separate title based on FC3, I was just happy to have more. Then I saw the trailers, and read the previews, and realized that I had to play it. My backlog was pretty full at the time of release, and decided to instead wait for a sale and continue working through my other games until then. It eventually did go on sale, and I got around to playing it this past week.

Blood Dragon didn't receive the type of praise that Far Cry 3 proper had (although it did receive great scores), but with only two months left in the year, it's at the top of my personal games of the year list. I feel like it's the best example of a modern-retro game that you're going to find.

You have games like Retro City Rampage, which I still feel is a great idea, but it needed to do more than just guide me to the next 80s reference. You have games like Hotline Miami, which I just played thanks to PlayStation Plus, and I adored the mix of retro graphics with the timing and strategy that comprised the combat, but I did find it to have too many cheap deaths (i.e. enemies you can't see shooting you from off screen, but persistence ultimately helped me prevail).

Blood Dragon decided to go the other way with it, and I felt like it was a better direction to go in. Instead of giving us retro graphics and retro gameplay, you have a modern day shooter that is an homage to an 80s action movie, and takes place in the far off future of 2007. It's brilliant. While I was playing I heard and saw references to The TerminatorCommandoRamboAlien(s), and (spoilers!) the final 5 minutes of the game has you riding in a giant, metal dragon, while the music from the fight in Rocky IV between Rocky and Drago plays. Are you kidding, me? That's the most awesome sentence I've ever written!

I do have a few minor complaints, and it's the same complaints that I think every person who reviewed it had. For one, the world is always dark, so either be ready to turn up the brightness or squint for the entire game. The island isn't nearly as big as the islands in the main game, and because of this, you won't find as many collectibles and loot chests, which is fine, but why do I have to hear "I hope I don't have to collect any f'n flags" every time I find a VHS tape? Seriously, every...single...time. I get it, Ubisoft, you're poking fun at yourselves there, it was funny the first time, but not the 34th time. Give me some variety, and no, changing the word 'flags' to 'feathers' does not count as variety.

You see the color of that sky? Get used to it, because you're going to see it a lot.

Despite these little annoyances, I never found myself not enjoying the game. My favorite part of the entire experience has nothing to do with the game itself, but rather with who they have as the main character. Michael Biehn, most famous for his role as Kyle Reese in The Terminator, voices the protagonist Rex Power Colt (bonus points for the most 80s name this side of John Matrix), who is a cyborg commando. Essentially, they turned Kyle Reese into a Terminator. That's just beautiful.

To Ubisoft, I say forego Far Cry 4, and give me Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 2. Not only because I want more of that universe, but because I want the title to be more confusing than the Rambo films.

Also, this is the song that plays at the end credits. You owe it to yourself to listen to it.

Thanks for reading,

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About TheDustinThomasone of us since 9:12 PM on 09.17.2009

Twitter: @TheDustinThomas

Greetings and salutations.

TheDustinThomas here, you probably don't know me, but I write things here on Destructoid from time to time. Occasionally I get on the front page:

The Most Inexplicably-Often Rented Games At Blockbuster

The Top 10 Videogame Pro Wrestlers

A Retrospective of Pro Wrestling Videogames from the Perspective of a Pro Wrestler

I'm also the host of a pretty sexy gaming podcast that I do with a couple buddies of mine. You can download and subscribe to it here. You should totally do that.

All of my games writing you can find on DToid, but I also write about other things on my personal blog. Here's my top 5 most read blogs:

Let Me Tell You About My $250 T-Shirts

Tempting of the Doon

5 Ways Getting in Shape Has Messed with my Head

Tim Lambesis: A Fan's Struggle to Understand

Why I Already Dislike Planet Fitness

You may notice that most of those blogs are somehow related to pro wrestling. Why? Because I spent 10 years as a professional wrestler before retiring in October 2013 due to back injuries. I actually wasn't too bad.

A bit about me? Well, obviously I love to write. It's not a paying gig yet, but I'm certainly trying to make that happen.

I'm a happily married man, and my wife is smokin' hot.

I have a huge, manly beard.

God comes first in my life above all else. I'm a leader at my church, as well as the head of our media department.

I've been a metalhead pretty much my entire life.

I'm also a die hard fan of The Simpsons.

Other miscellaneous fact.

Xbox LIVE:TheDust34
PSN ID:TheDust34


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