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Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Review

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On 04/30/2013 at 12:00 PM by Travis Hawks

It’s time to be honest and admit that games could use more silly, stupid motivations to shoot stuff.

You better play this, [motherfather]!

Basing an entire game around a gag is risky. What if the joke isn’t funny? What if it peters out after the first twenty minutes? So much could go wrong centering a game entirely on a goof. Thankfully, Ubisoft Montreal went all in with their giant farce, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and scored a big win.  By weaving well-crafted jokes into a quality shooter, they’ve created the perfect game for fans of satire and game-bullets that should inspire other devs to cool it on the artsy-fartsy stuff every once in a while.

Set in an ‘80s vision of 2007 after multiple apocalypses and Vietnam War II, Blood Dragon pits your part-cyborg character, Sergeant Rex Power Colt, against a madman who plans to make the ruined future even worse. It’s a ridiculously perfect story, allowing Rex to traipse around an island littered with enemy outposts and future-critters (like cyber sharks) between taking dips into the main story.  A story that encapsulates everything about stupid ‘80s action movies and video games and also pokes a few jabs at modern games, including vanilla Far Cry 3

Where Far Cry 3 forced you to endure a narrative that tried so hard to be so serious and failed gloriously, Blood Dragon provides the same activities without all of that highfalutin coming-of-age flimflam. The missions are set up similarly, allowing you to use several approaches to reach your goal, whether it’s rescuing someone, blowing up a thing, or escaping with your life.  You can typically approach a situation with stealth or balls-to-the-wall shootin’, with a few exceptions.  Some scenarios only allow for one basic approach, but it’s normally due to it being a tightly scripted -- and therefore highly humorous -- bit of the story. 

You can get all of your open-ended fun while exploring the island in between missions. You’ve got an entire landscape filled with enemy outposts to capture and other little side quests to tackle in the post-post-apocalyptic landscape.  Taking over outposts provides you with the option to snipe cyber soldiers from afar, to set blood dragons loose inside the confines to do the dirty work for you, or to carry out any other imaginative scheme you can devise.  In these battles and other little errands you can take on, witnessing the interacting systems of the game world is the most satisfying.

Not only can you unleash a blood dragon on patrolling soldiers, but sneaking around just might catch the eye of a roving future-tiger, slaughtering you in the bushes before you can fire a shot (clever girl).  The world cuts both ways, and that’s what makes it challenging and fun.

The world’s aesthetics took some adjustment since everything takes place under a darkened red sky and not the sun-dappled tropics of Far Cry 3.  At the start, the visuals didn’t get me very interested in just poking around, but each of the quests gave me plenty of reason to explore the environment until I eventually realized I had grown to like the unusual color palette.

There really is quite a bit to do on this little island, although don’t be disappointed that it’s not as expansive as its big brother; this is a downloadable title after all.  I think the amount of content is just about right, though.  There’s going to be a definite wall that the game’s humor hits, which is possibly right after you finish wringing out every bit of content available. (I’m still laughing at plenty of jokes in my post-game exploits). Even if you do enjoy just roaming around without specific tasks, when you kill wildlife or roaming patrols, you’ll earn experience points that level up your character and unlock skills, so there’s reason to walkabout in between missions.

All of the RPG systems involved in upgrading Rex are pretty simplified, with each level increase unlocking specific skills.  There’s no skill tree or character customization to speak of; you just make Rex better and better.  There’s also no time wasted on collecting items like animal hides that need to be crafted or sold, since “pilfering” a slain animal just gives you an automatic payout.  These bare bones systems feel just right in this world where there should be only one way to improve a super soldier: make him more super.

You’ll feel like you’re playing a real badass every time you complete a mission and get treated to a hilarious 16-bit moving tableau or hear the spot-on ‘80s soundtrack jams.  Everything ties together to make you feel just like the worst/best action hero we all loved to watch twenty five years ago. In fact, this is probably the way this sort of game should be approached anyway.  There’s no need to gussy things up and pretend to tell deep morality tales in the midst of slaughtering thousands of soldiers.  We might as well be honest and admit that the shooting-filled mayhem we love in games is born of ‘80s action movie cheese and it should be embraced more often.  No other game embodies these honest sensibilities in a more perfect way than Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. So, flip those faux-art games a cyborg middle finger and go save the world, bub.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




04/30/2013 at 01:26 PM

Thanks for doing such a great review on this one. I have been looking forward to it since it was announced. I love anything that has that whole 80's vibe from films to hair metal. Silly or not,it's all good with me. They knew how to make good action movies in the 80's,I have to admit. So a game that goes for it on all fronts like this one just has to be embraced and enjoyed.


04/30/2013 at 02:43 PM

This game sounds perfect.  I didnt play Far Cry 3, and probably will not, but I can definitely see myself playing this.  


04/30/2013 at 05:13 PM

This game sounds awesome! 80s influences, cheesy humor, and dragons? Do you need to have Far Cry 3 to play this? Or is it a stand alone title?

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

04/30/2013 at 05:54 PM

Stand alone.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

05/01/2013 at 06:04 AM

I am so hyped for this game, especially now after this review.  I'm going to download it in a couple days and check it out. Thanks!

Jonathan Drake

05/04/2013 at 02:56 AM

I will be serving Justice tonight pal... with loads of lead.

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