Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review
It was almost too perfect for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon to be confirmed on April Fool’s Day.
Blood Dragon may be the dumbest game you’ve ever played. You’ll throw dice to distract super-soldiers, fight cybernetic sharks and heal yourself by welding your robotic arm. But here’s the kicker - it’s better for it. The folks at Ubisoft have taken their magnificent tropical shooter that for the most was grounded in reality (well, as much reality as a rich kid learning new skills by getting tattoos in the jungle could be) and taken it back to the 80s in a love letter to the action movies we all grew up with while still making a decent point about the state of games these days. Be warned, Blood Dragon looses some of what made Far Cry 3 one of last year’s best game, but it’s an enjoyable spoof nonetheless.
It’s the year 2007 (no, really), and the world is reeling from complete nuclear meltdown. You’ll play as Rex Power Colt (as voiced by Michael Biehn from Alien), a cybernetic super-soldier. It’s on a recon mission to a distant island that you realize that not everything is as it seems and its up to you to stop an evil terrorist named Sloan. While the plot may sound predictable (that’s kind of the point), what makes Blood Dragon so special is all in the details. Blood Dragon does not take itself seriously at all - it presents itself as a 90s VHS version of the future, complete with cybernetic enemies, and a whole lot of neon.
Blood Dragon also spends a lot of its time calling back to the movies it finds its inspiration from, and if you’re old enough to remember - these sections are worth more than a chuckle. The opening scene is ripped almost completely from Predator and there are references strewn to properties like Die Hard, Ninja Turtles and The Terminator. The game also uses its goofy premise to make a point about the current state of gaming - the opening tutorial is laughably basic ("walking is like running...only faster"). The game also pokes fun at companies charging for everything and calling it DLC by offering the player the chance to purchase the ability for the game to play itself.
"...like the game lost some of what made the original so remarkable"
If you played last year’s delightful Far Cry 3, most of Blood Dragon’s mechanics should feel pretty familiar to you, as the game plays nearly identical to its predecessor. You’ll start the game already knowing a lot of the skills you had to acquire throughout the original game, which let’s you get into Blood Dragon’s unique form of mayhem sooner. Still though, I couldn’t help but feel like the game lost some of what made the original so remarkable, the aiming doesn’t feel as sturdy and you feel a hell of a lot more confined here. They’re small changes, but that doesn’t mean they’re less noticeable.
I get that Far Cry 3 is supposed to callback to the action movies of games of yesterday. I’m in on the joke - but playing through, I couldn’t help but think of another movie from my childhood - Groundhog Day with the immortal Bill Murray. During my first day with the game, my playthroughs were marred by a glitch that refused to save my progress. Oh, it did register that I had been playing - gave me the correct save file, complete with the checkpoint name I stopped at, but I was forced to start the game over again each time. It required me to uninstall the game, then reinstall it and start over completely to get past it, and it seems like I may be the only who experienced it, but a word of warning no less.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is successful for every reason it shouldn’t be - it’s dumb, cheesy and even a bit stupid - but it’s supposed to be, and the joke mostly hits. If you’re not old enough to remember the source material, you’re likely to have less of a good time, but there’s still enough here to keep you entertained. Just be warned, if you’re looking for something to the scale of the original Far Cry 3, you’ll be sorely disappointed.