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Published on April 30th, 2013 | by Ben Gray

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Review: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Review: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Ben Gray
Innovation
Value
Enjoyability

Summary: Brave, inventive spin-off lacking in a few areas, but overall a wild ride.

4


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon was reviewed on Xbox Live Arcade, with a review copy provided by Ubisoft. One of 2013’s best April Fools jokes turned out not to be an April Fools joke; Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon seemed too obscure, too bizarre, and ultimately too good to be true. Nevertheless, it exists, much to our delight, and in the surprising format of a standalone title rather than an expansion to the original game most were expecting. But is an 80’s style futuristic take on the franchise featuring a Michael Biehn-voiced cyborg facing dragons with miniguns going just a little bit too far, or is it so bombastic that it translates into success? Assuming the role of Sergeant Rex ‘Power’ Colt; a cyborg full of one-liners and stereotypical masculinity (in terms of 80s action flicks, this game’s full of stereotypes), the plot is relatively straightforward; Ubisoft themselves describe it best, “get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the world”. Some of the dialogue genuinely generates laughs, in fact most of the humour comes from the game’s design, notably the hilariously irritating tutorial pop-ups at the start, to the obvious tips on the loading screens. Sadly, the game’s antagonist, Sloan, doesn’t even compare to the brilliant roles Vaas and Hoyt played in the original; because his presence only exists in panelled cutscenes, as do most characters; likely due to the fact that this isn’t being made with the same budget, so sacrifices had to be made. Blood Dragon Many of Far Cry 3’s base mechanics transfer over into Blood Dragon; set on a dense, sizeable island rife with collectibles and activity, outside of main missions, the premise remains the same; outposts and radio towers have been combined into garrisons. These enemy-controlled encampments are much more varied in design than those seen in the original game, and upon removing all the threats the base becomes yours. Whilst I miss scaling the fragile framework of radio towers, garrisons are a fair compromise. From there, side quests return, limited to two formats; hostage rescue missions and the elimination of a particular type of enemy. Each garrison has one or two, but sadly these are short affairs that can all be completed in the space of a few hours. The main storyline is also fairly short, and it’ll take you roughly six hours; but these missions are borderline Serious Sam in their eccentricity; scenarios and locations are wild and well-constructed – clearly whereas Jason Brody became a badass over time, Rex Colt goes above and beyond, wielding a minigun and mowing down the competition. Blood Dragon offers a fair amount of challenge, but once obtaining power weapons such as the Terror 4000 and Killstar, there’s little that can provide difficult, and from there on out you quickly plough through the rest of what the game has to offer. The most challenging enemies you’ll face are indeed the dragons themselves (the rest of the animals are identical but with cyber makeovers). These bullet sponges with laser eyes can be both a help and a hindrance; cyber-hearts collected from corpses allow dragons to be directed and aggressive towards enemies – used correctly, they can wipe out an entire garrison’s occupation. A useful addition and not merely another nuisance to worry about violently slaughtering. Blood Dragon The aesthetic of Blood Dragon is fantastically retro; the bow glows a blue neon, the “Fazertron” assault rifle is typically 80s sci-fi – even the reload and switch animations are absurdly boasting. Combined with upgrades sought and bought after completing side-missions, they become exaggerated in their capabilities; the sniper even gets explosive rounds. Glowing ziplines and futuristic tech dot the world; a red haze creates an eerie match to the visuals, but is ultimately there to disguise the reduced render distances (not to noticeable amounts). Skills are a much more straightforward affair; instead replacing it with a levelling system that unlocks skills as you progress – you’ll churn through the 30 levels available in the time it takes you to complete what Blood Dragon has to offer. Whilst it’s a standalone game, and many little aspects have changed, it still feels like an extension of Far Cry 3. Which isn’t a bad thing – as far as game expansions go, this experiment is brave and successful in what it seeks to accomplish, and having it as standalone means even more people can access it. For £11.99, the ten or so hours you’ll squeeze out of Blood Dragon will be largely time well spent. Blood Dragon Overall, Ubisoft’s daring spin-off provides a good sizeable chunk of content in an amusing, futuristic setting that goes the extra mile than what we’ve come to expect of post-release support. Some of the simplifications and sacrifices made to do so do detract from giving Blood Dragon even more depth, but it is a worthwhile investment nevertheless.

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