I was born in the late 70’s, but grew up in the 80’s.
My favorite game for the NES was Bionic Commando. I used to shoot at the TV with my Captain Power toys as I watched the live action show. I loved everything post apocalyptic from Spiral Zone to Tonka’s Steel Monsters. I saw Predator, Aliens, RoboCop, and Die Hard in the theater at way too young an age.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragonis a tongue in cheek homage to everything that was great about the 80’s. In other words, it was made for people like me.
But what about everyone else? You know, all the gamers born during the 90’s who don’t have extremely fond feelings for those magical times. Will Blood Dragon be overkill for them?
Find out after the jump.
Not Safe For Work ~ 8 Bit Boobs
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Systems: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 [Reviewed]
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release: April 30th, 2013 (PSN), May 1st, 2013 (XBLA)
First and foremost you have to understand that, aside from similar gameplay mechanics, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has nothing to do with the original Far Cry 3. It’s a standalone DLC. Meaning you don’t have to own Far Cry 3 to play Blood Dragon. Of course, those who did play through the former will feel right at home on this futuristic island, but more on that later.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s tagline is, “The year is 2007. It is the future.” That should clue you into the fact that this game isn’t meant be taken very seriously. You play as Sergeant Rex Power Colt (voiced by Michael Biehn), a Mark IV Cyber Commando, as he fights an army of cyborgs called Omega Force on an island filled with mutant animals and the titular Blood Dragons (giant dinosaurs with a thirst for cybernetic blood). Your mission is to kill your old commanding officer, who’s gone mad with power, before he destroys the world. Seems legit.
Blood Dragon’s cookie cutter story is told through 8bit cutscenes and cheesy dialogue. While playing the game, Sergeant Rex Power Colt will shout oneliners like “Just the tip” when he shoots someone with his bow and “Excuse me while I rip this out” when he rips out a cyborg’s heart (which can be used as Blood Dragon bait). It’s silly fun and Michael Biehn delivers his lines perfectly, but be forewarned – you will hear the same lines over and over again to the point of annoyance during the course of the 6 hour game. The problem isn’t with the amount of lines Michael Biehn has, the problem is Rex says one of them almost every time you kill someone, so the novelty wears off fast.
If you played Far Cry 3 then you know what to expect as far as gameplay goes. You have the whole island open to you and ready to explore as soon as you are done with the lengthy, but humorous, tutorial. You start out with a small collection of weapons, including the bow for stealth kills, but you gain a few more during the course of the game. I liked the smaller selection of weapons that you can upgrade (you gain attachments by completing side quests)- it makes each one feel unique. Let’s be honest, how many different types of shotguns do you really need in a game?
On a side note: The shotgun in Blood Dragon is called Galleria 1991. It’s the same one Arnold Schwarzenegger (as the Terminator) used to rescue John Conner at the Glendale Galleria in Terminator 2, which was released in 1991. That’s some next level nerd shit right there. And yes, you do cock the gun by flipping it around exactly like Arnold did in the movie.
Just like in Far Cry 3, you liberate garrisons from Omega Force soldiers to open up side missions, shops, and fast travel locations. And just like in Far Cry 3, you can choose how you want to go about liberating them. Unlike that game though, you have the ability to get Blood Dragons to do your dirty work for you. Each garrison is protected by a shield that Blood Dragons can’t get through (they can shoot through them with their eye lasers though…yes, you read that right), but if you disable said shields you can lure one of these beasts into the garrison by throwing cyborg hearts at the desired target (Blood Dragons love to eat cyborgs for some reason) and then watch the mayhem unfold. After you or the Blood Dragon kills the last Omega Force guard you will either have to dispatch the creature yourself or try and lure it out of the garrison with cyborg hearts and then reactive the shields.
It’s a cool cost/benefit system that’s fun to mess around with, but unfortunately it seemed a bit underutilized. I was only able to use Blood Dragons a handful of times during the course of the game because there usually wasn’t one close by whenever I decided to liberate garrisons. It should be noted that I played Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon on medium and it was pretty easy, but maybe when you play it on hard there are more Blood Dragons roaming around. I haven’t tested that theory yet.
Graphically, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is top-notch. The world is dark and foreboding, which is perfect for showing off the game’s beautiful lighting effects. Everything from buildings to hang gliders have a touch of neon, and the laser beams look great as they fly through the air. After spending hundreds of hours playing Call of Duty and Far Cry 3, it was fun to shoot things with weapons that don’t fire plain old bullets. The only thing that might turn some people off is the 8 bit cutscenes. I thought they were fun and fit the overall tone of the game, but they did tend to drag on (hahaha see what I did there?) towards the end.
As pretty as the graphics are, I think Blood Dragon’s standout feature is the music. While almost completely original (you do get to listen to “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard while riding in a helicopter just like in the beginning of Predator) every song has an air of familiarity about it. The title screen music sounds very much like the Terminator theme and the song that plays during the end credits is cheesy pop. The whole soundtrack is totally radical!
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an awesome love letter to the 80’s, but make no mistake- it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Everything from the side missions to the dialogue is meant to be as cheesy as possible. For the most part it works thanks to the fact that the developers play it as straight as possible and let the jokes sell themselves. Don’t expect a 20+ hour game like Far Cry 3 though, Blood Dragon can be completed in about 6 hours. That’s a good thing because after that I think the references and one-liners would grow tiresome.
If you grew up in the 80’s and love first person shooters, then buying Blood Dragon’s is a no-brainer. Thanks to the Far Cry 3 engine it’s based off of, the core mechanics are still a lot of fun. Conversely, if you are a younger gamer then you might want to think twice about spending the money as a lot of Blood Dragon’s fun is derived from getting its references. It’s a great game, but it might not be for everyone.
Personally, I’m glad we live in a world were Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon exists. Ubisoft Montreal took a chance by doing something different and should be commended for that.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has one female character and you only see her during the 8 bit cutscenes, but you do see her boobies so there’s that. I would give this game a 1/5 for “Hotness,” but I’m impressed by the fact that the developers managed to throw in nudity and a sex scene when it was completely unnecessary (that right there is an homage to 80’s action movies). Boobs are still boobs even if they are of the 8 bit variety.
– Corey Stevenson aka “Geist01″