STAFF REVIEW of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Xbox 360 Arcade)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013.
by Adam Dileva

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Box art It’s not uncommon for video game companies to pull off elaborate April Fools jokes, giving us a glimpse of a game so far out there that there’s no possible way it could be true. That’s what Ubisoft did this past April Fools, by teasing a game that looked like it was a joke; Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was shown and I believe, vastly disregarded as it was revealed on April Fools day. Turns out it was no joke, and what we have with Blood Dragon is an 80’s inspired game that will have any gamer old enough to reminisce about the older days of VHS tapes, big hair, gait

The title may be called Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon but rejoice, no Far Cry 3 game is actually needed, as this is a self-contained expansion that bathes in its pure 80’s awesomeness. Case in point: Michael Biehn voices the action hero, Sergeant Rex Power Colt (is there truly a more 80’s hero name than that?), best known for Corporal Dwayne Hicks from Aliens and Sergeant Kyle Reese from Terminator. Blood Dragon is completely over the top and ridiculous in every way, but that’s where the charm comes in. I’ve never seen anything quite like Blood Dragon, and bet is you haven’t either.

Blood Dragon happens after the apocalypse had an apocalypse and is set in the near future of 2007. Rex is a Mark IV Cyber Commando, complete with a single mechanical eye that glows red. Rex may be park man, part machine, but he’s all American and out to get revenge all while saving the girl. Blood Dragon starts off with an awesome action sequence and probably the funniest tutorial I’ve ever played. There are so many 80’s movie, sci-fi, and pop culture references that you’ll for sure get flashbacks of the decade if you lived it. Blood Dragon even comes complete with 8-bit cutscenes complete with voice acting that you only saw in B-rated movies from the 80’s that were so bad they were fantastic.

As Blood Dragon is built with the Far Cry 3 engine, you’ll notice many similarities in the core mechanics and gameplay if you’ve played the game before. It is set in an open world (though much more condensed than the full Far Cry 3 game), you can hunt animals, use the ‘camera’, and more. Rex can use his cybernetic eye, not only for that cool look that the ladies love, but to also help in in combat but also allowing him to zoom in on the battlefield, as it will mark enemies so he can keep track of them through walls and around objects. Instead of the regular knife from the base game, Rex uses a glowing sword that when executing an enemy, can also chain his attack by throwing a ninja shooting star; that’s right, this game has shooting stars.

As you progress you’ll gain access to bigger and better weapons for more firepower. You’ll start off with a single pistol, but soon be able to use an assault rifle, sniper rifle, shotgun (which is probably the coolest shotgun in gaming due to how Rex holds it over his forearm like a true badass), mobile turret, flamethrower, and even a glowing neon bow and arrow for those that want to play stealthy. As you progress through side missions you’ll also gain access to upgrades for your weapons for purchase, making your awesome weapon even more awesome, as if that was somehow possible.

So why is Blood Dragon called Blood Dragon? Well I’m glad you asked, as there’s a fantastic and logical reason behind it; there are Blood Dragons in the game. These monstrous animals are a mix of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Bearded Dragon, and they are absolutely massive and equally dangerous if you aren’t careful. Oh, and they can also shoot lasers out of their eyes; that’s right, dinosaurs that can shoot lasers. Pure awesome. Blood Dragons have neon stripes along their bodies that are not only for show, but also give you a clue to their awareness and aggression levels. Green means they are minding their own business and won’t care about you as long as you stay crouched and avoid making any sounds. Yellow means they are going to investigate or are about to enter combat. If you see a Blood Dragon turn red though, you better hope it’s not against you, as they are more foe than you’ll be able to handle on your own for quite some time. They seem to have a fondness for cyberhearts though, which are the organs you’ll rip from the cyborgs you’ve defeated in combat and then use to your advantage. Throw one of these hearts nearby and they’ll have no choice but to go after it. Happen to throw one near some enemies or an enemy base, and you’ll in turn make the Blood Dragon somewhat fight on your side as he starts to attack your rivals in devastating fashion. Essentially you’ll use these cyberhearts as bait, luring the Blood Dragons to where you want them to fight at; just make sure you don’t make it angry at you by accidentally shooting it, as it’ll probably be one of the last mistakes you make.

As you kill enemies and complete quests you’ll earn CP (Cyberpoints) that will slowly progress you through thirty levels of awesome. There are no fancy skill trees or skills you need to worry about, as each time you level up you earn a new health bar, ability (like takedowns for the heavy enemies), or something similar automatically. You can go liberate the enemy garrisons and once they are clear of all threats, it can now be used as one of your outposts to make quick travel much easier. Liberated garrisons will also offer side quests for you to complete which result in upgrades for your weapons, so they are highly encouraged to do.

While the main campaign is very short, though very, very sweet and full of awesome, it’ll only last you a very short while. In typical Far Cry 3 fashion though, there’s actually much more content doing sidequests and hunting than there is the actual storyline. While the main campaign might only take you a handful of hours, liberating all the garrisons, doing the weapon upgrade quests, and hunting the rarest animals will last you easily upwards of eight to ten hours. For an expansion, that’s well worth the price of admission, and that’s not even taking into account the 80’s nostalgia you’ll get from actually playing.

Blood Dragon is every 80’s kid’s game they’ve been waiting for since then. Lots of swearing, middle fingers, macho manliness, neon, and overdone voice acting you could ever want. Blood Dragon is homage to the 80’s movies that were so bad that you loved them for it. Even if you’re not an 80’s kid or it wasn’t your favorite decade, the neon and glowing art style Blood Dragon possesses is no less impressive.

Sure, blood Dragon is basically the best parts of Far Cry 3 lumped into one with a new coat of paint and the humor cranked all the way up, but that’s what makes this so charming. The tale of a great game is not always just its graphics or gameplay, but if you’ll remember it; I’ll certainly be remembering Blood Dragon for quite some time. This was one of the most hilarious titles I’ve played in quite some time and I was smiling the whole time I was playing due to the script and execution of every line. From the opening tutorial that had me actually laughing aloud, to the final mission that was gratifying and a great climax, I enjoyed every minute of Blood Dragon, and for the mere price of admission, you should to. This game could possibly be more 80’s than the actual 80’s were, and that’s AWESOME.

Overall: 9.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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