Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Reviews

  • Izzy of AlbionIzzy of Albion635,285
    18 Jun 2013 19 Jun 2013
    29 3 0
    Most shooters fall into one of two categories; those that take themselves far too seriously and those that play for laughs. Blood Dragon is a strange hybrid of the two. A spoof of macho, 80's sci-fi, B-movie nonsense, it has its tongue firmly in its cheek from start to finish. Yet it is never more amusing than when it delivers the ludicrous storyline and painfully clichéd dialogue with stony-faced sincerity.

    The game is set in an environment which will be familiar to Far Cry 3 players, albeit a little more compact, and one permanently shrouded in near darkness. The skies are scorched in brooding shades of red and purple, forests burn in the distance. Buildings are ominously military and futuristic in appearance, enemies are largely cyborgs but still divided into the same classes as the retail game upon which it is based. Wildlife remains but now as either mutant or mechanical versions of their former selves. The eponymous Blood Dragons roam the world like dinosaurs. And everything is decked in neon lights.

    This is the future after all, or rather, an early 80's impression of the dystopian future that was 2007. Your quest, as Sergeant Rex Power Colt, a mark IV Cyber Commando (voiced by Michael Biehn), is to take down the rogue agent Colonel Sloan. It's a typical story of beat the bad guy, save the world and get the girl. It's horrendously, mercilessly clichéd, and that's the point. Along the way, any self respecting member of generation X can't help but notice aspects of Predator, RoboCop, and even Rocky IV, referenced, lightly mocked, or just downright copied. Even the music; dark, synthy, sci-fi stuff, provided by retro-flavoured power metal band Power Glove, never fails to nail the tone. Those of us who grew up in that era will feel particularly indulged, even privileged, but it's a genre so familiar that surely anyone can feel like they're in on the joke.

    The gameplay itself does not let the awesome setting down. This is Far Cry 3 reskinned after all. The same controls and concepts apply. Strongholds must still be liberated, and can be done by stealth, by cunning, or by plain balls-out violence. Liberation grants access to assassination and other side missions as well as vending machines full of weapons, ammo and supplies. Groups of enemies still patrol the game world and can be handled in the same choice of ways. Animals can still be hunted. Collectables still feature in the form of TVs and VHS tapes, and new weapons (most of which are conventional) and attachments unlocked as the game progresses. Almost everything in Far Cry 3 is catered for with a suitably themed equivalent.

    As much as there is to do, and as large as the environment still is, this is not a long game. I had completed the story in under 10 hours, and achieved 100% progress and achievements inside 11. But it was an enjoyable and amusing romp through 80s nostalgia, worth the entry price for that alone, for those of us of a certain age, and a game that I am glad I experienced.

  • Danny Dubs 86Danny Dubs 861,607,509
    16 May 2013 02 Jun 2013
    11 23 0
    Originally posted on my blog at http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/.

    Disclaimer: I have never played any of the proper Far Cry games, so I cannot comment on any exciting improvements or disappointing failures in Blood Dragon when compared to the rest of the Far Cry franchise.

    It’s rare that a good parody comes along these days. Cheap laughs and overplayed jokes are commonly used to pad otherwise promising parody, and in the gaming industry, most parodies are conspicuously lacking in good gameplay.

    Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon manages to beat both of those stereotypes, providing a gaming experience that is both funny and fun, albeit for only a few short hours.

    Blood Dragon makes its intentions known in the opening sequence, where the audience is introduced to the player character through a series of heavily pixelated cutscenes. Clearly channeling the storytelling techniques of NES games of the late 80’s (Ninja Gaiden comes to mind), the introductory scene sets the stage for a loving look back at many gamers’ roots. That nostalgia influences just about everything in the game, from the over-the-top action to the soundtrack and even the collectible VHS tapes you can find scattered around.

    Set in 2007, Blood Dragon is an alternate history tale following a cyborg commando created in the wake of a nuclear holocaust. This commando, Rex, finds himself on an isolated island on a mission of revenge with world-altering consequences. Also giant glow-in-the-dark lizards that shoot lasers from their eyes, but mostly saving the world.

    Although the narrative is quite short (I was able to finish the game, including all optional objectives, in under six-and-a-half hours), it is fantastically written. Most games that emphasize humor front-load their material, making the beginning funny and the later stages downright cringeworthy, but Blood Dragon distributed the laughs pretty evenly. It was never overwhelmingly hilarious, but it consistently drew some chuckles from me throughout. Put that story in a well-designed graphical package coupled with a powerful soundtrack, and you get a great overall presentation.

    Supporting the entertaining script is a rather impressive first-person shooter. As is standard these days, Blood Dragon has the usual FPS weaponry (pistol, shotgun, rifle, etc.) and several upgrades for each. There are, however, a couple of unique features that set it apart from most FPS titles:

    First, set in an open-world environment, the game has the general feel of a role-playing game. You earn “Commando Points” (CP), which are essentially experience points, that will gradually give access to more abilities (sadly, however, you don’t have any choice in what order Rex obtains his skills – they automatically unlock at certain points), and there are a number of side quests you can pursue. Granted, the side quests are awfully repetitive (they are all “go here, kill stuff, get rewarded”), but it does mix the gameplay up a bit. You can also assault enemy-held garrisons and, once you’ve cleared all the opposition, use it as a base. Again, there’s not a whole lot of depth here, and the garrisons weren’t integrated into the story at all, but it’s still nice to have secondary objectives with in-game rewards.

    Second, Blood Dragon has a heavy emphasis on stealth (which I love). Sneaking up on an enemy combatant and killing him silently gives advantages, both in terms of CP bonuses and by allowing you to quickly murder several nearby enemies in succession. There’s also the obvious benefit of not alerting all baddies in the area to your presence, so there are plusses all around. To make it even sweeter, Rex has the ability to track enemy soldiers, allowing him to slip through areas more easily.

    Of course, it’s not all good. The game thrusts an annoying escort mission on you in the introductory area (seriously?), but fortunately you don’t have to deal with anything like that again. It’s also painfully short, begging for a longer story to flaunt its fabulous writing, and there’s nothing to do once you’ve completed all the quests.

    And for the achievement hunters, Blood Dragon’s full Gamerscore is easy to obtain. None of the achievements are tied to difficulty, so you can approach the game on your setting of choice, and aside from one simple missable (the one for headshots), all of the achievements can be earned after completing the main story. There are a few collectible achievements, but there are in-game guides to locate them, so it’s not much trouble. Considering how short the story is, it’s certainly possible to finish the game in under six hours, and easily under eight, even if you’re taking your time.

    All-in-all, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is pretty entertaining while it lasts, but the repetitiveness of side quests and relative lack of content make its 1200 MSP price tag a bit of a tough sell. Still, as a cleverly written homage to the 80’s with solid gameplay, it makes good use of the time it has. Fun and funny, Blood Dragon is a good romp through a retro-futuristic wasteland.

    My Rating: 7/10 – good.

    (For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html)
  • AztecOmarAztecOmar291,441
    01 May 2013
    44 98 51
    Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a love letter to the cheesy action films of the 80’s. Set in the dystopian future of 2007 and filled to the brim with cyborgs, lasers, neon and shoulder-pads, it is a truly unique world rarely explored in gaming. As a standalone release for XBLA and PSN, it is a streamlined version of Far Cry 3’s engine, fuelled by machismo and synthesisers. Despite some mechanical problems and its relatively short length, Blood Dragon is a gaming experience you certainly will have never had before.

    Players take control of Mark IV Cyber Commando, Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt, a bird-flipping, one liner quipping old school action hero trying to save the world and rescue the girl. After infiltrating the military island of Colonel Sloan, Colt is tasked with infiltrating bases, liberating “science nerds” and saving the day from a deadly nuclear threat. Colt plays and feels like the action hero in a Stallone movie, cursing and killing his way to saving the dame. He feels one-dimensional and simple, but because of the world he inhabits and the tone the game creates, it fits perfectly and is a ton of fun to play.

    The game plays very similarly to Far Cry 3, leaving Blood Dragon feeling like new coat of paint more than an a unique gameplay experience. The large open world with wild animals and garrisons to liberate is back, and is still a delight to inhabit. There is a strong tongue-in-cheek vibe to everything, from the scientists wailing their arms as they run away from a cyber-panther, to the collectible VHS tapes scattered around the wildlife. It’s a fun world to inhabit, but ultimately there isn’t a whole lot of content to go around - a 100% completionist run through will take around 6 hours.

    Few additions are made to the gameplay, leaving Blood Dragon feeling like a streamlined version of the predecessor, similar to Bioshock 2’s Minerva’s Den DLC. Colt can move faster, fall further and swim longer than Jason from Far Cry 3 could, slanting the game further towards action than stealth. The other major addition comes behalf of the wild Blood Dragons, hulking, neon-glowing lizards roughly the size of a rhino that can shoot lasers from their mouths. Similarly to the animals from Far Cry 3, they can be used to help decimate enemy forces through t he use of bait-style cyber-hearts, luring the Dragons laser-based wrath towards the indicated area. They are a fun, albeit scarily strong addition to the game and allow for some more unique strategies when overtaking enemy garrisons.

    Blood Dragon is a visual tour-de-force. From the dichotomous bright neon and dark lighting all throughout the world to the old-school menus and HUD, Blood Dragon encapsulates what a game with today’s technology would look like if it was made in the 80’s impeccably. Small elements prevalent throughout the entire world, like the massive computer terminals or old-school VHS loading screens help permeate a sense of style and originality throughout the entire product. It ensures that the high points of the game are incredible moments that you will remember long after the game is completed. Combined with an incredible synthesised soundtrack from Power Glove, it is a true audiovisual treat.

    Ultimately, the increased focus on action-based gameplay ends up being of the bigger shortcomings of the game. Whilst Colt’s increased combat capabilities and the overall tone of the game seem to bias towards a more action-oriented experience, the strong stealth mechanics of Far Cry 3 hold it back. The shooting, whilst not awful, never feels particularly rewarding, with enemies taking far too many shots to go down. Conversely, it seems as though Colt’s cybernetic implants are made of tin-foil, as more than a couple seconds exposed to enemy fire will easily fall him.

    Through killing enemies and the completion of open-world side missions, Colt can level up and gain access to better weaponry; however, this causes the needle to flip too far the other way. Colt’s increased strength and better weaponry eliminates all challenge in the gameplay and creates a boring experience. There never seems to be the correct balance - Colt is either too weak or too strong. The net result is that the shooting, which comprises a large portion of the gameplay, never really feels all that satisfying or fun.

    Ultimately, Blood Dragon is hampered by the direct relationship it shares with Far Cry 3. It presents an interesting and unique world, but it is wrapped around mechanics that don’t do their best to exploit them. Humorous games live and die by their ability to keep players engaged in their worlds, in order to see all of the content there is to see. Ultimately, it feels as though Blood Dragon doesn’t do enough to keep the player entertained whilst traversing the world. It’s a game that has to be endured to see the best content - one where the satisfaction comes not from the act of playing it, but rather from watching the world and listening to the characters along the way. There is true joy to be derived from Blood Dragon’s incredibly unique world, but how much of it the player will see depends on how long they can handle middling gameplay for.