Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon begins in the far flung future of 2007. Nuclear War has apparently engulfed the planet, and your character rises out of the radioactive ashes. That character is Rex Power Colt (voiced by Michael Biehn), a powerful cyber soldier that is almost as badass as his name. Seriously, that is the best name I’ve ever heard for anyone. Rex’s partner Spider and himself are trying to stop their ex-commander Sloan from sending off more rockets to the world and sending it back into a prehistoric state. So obviously, this game lets you know exactly what it is right off the bat. Basically, if you like cheesy 80’s/90’s action movies, and you like playing video games, you’ll feel right at home.
Blood Dragon is a stand-alone game that runs off of the same engine as Far Cry 3. So with the addition of Blood Dragons and laser weapons, most of the gameplay is roughly the same. There are only a few main story missions and a decent amount of side missions. Running through the whole campaign will only take you about 5 hours. The side missions are pretty limiting in variety though. The side missions you encounter include liberating garrisons (taking bases over and making them your own), saving hostage scientists from enemies in fixed locations, and the standard hunting side quests. They seem to have a little more fun with those though, as I battled some mutant ninja turtles. The Blood Dragons in the game pose an actual threat most of the time. You can even use them to your advantage by luring them over to your enemies. You do that by ripping out their cyber hearts, and throwing them towards groups and inside enemy bases. Allowing the blood dragons to do most of your dirty work by clearing out a garrison.
This game is my 13 year old self’s confusing wet dream. The music, visuals, and dialogue all fit perfectly into this atmosphere. Most of the prominent items and buildings glow like a Tron-inspired neon island. As you look into the distance with your cyber eye, you’ll notice scan lines rule the blue and red sky. You’ll hear the faint sound of a group of lasers being fired at a dragon, then hear that dragon roaring and blowing something up with its laser eyes. The descriptions of the weapons and animals in the game are funny enough to make you want to read through every bit of information I collected. The cutscenes are something worth mentioning as well. They are done with 2D stills and some of the funniest parts of the game. Like every 80’s/90’s movie, the training montage is one of the best parts, followed by a very sensual love scene.
The references this game makes can get oddly specific.
For example, the shotgun in the game is called the Galleria 1991. It’s the Exact same shotgun that Arnold Schwarzenegger used in the 1991 movie Terminator 2. The A.J.M.9 is the same pistol Robocop uses and even brands his initials (Alex J Murphy). The Kobracon sniper rifle is also modeled after a different gun in Robocop. But it isn’t just the guns that reference those kinds of movies. The first achievement you get 5 minutes into the game is a reference to the movie Die Hard. Far Cry: Blood Dragon is full of references you probably won’t catch the first time around. It’s part of the reason the game so enjoyable. Even if didn’t have those references, it would still bring back a ton of nostalgia. Hell, one of the main collectibles you search for are VHS tapes.
Aside from the awesome references, this game has a great sense of dumb humor to go with it. Some great one-liners that rival the best actually. There are times when a line doesn’t land, and there are some forced
references in there as well. For example, the tutorial is funny in some parts, but in others you may cringe at Michael Biehn’s delivery. The only other bad voice acting I can remember by him are when
you accept the side missions. His remarks that have nothing to do with said mission in most cases. But in the overall scope of things, Blood Dragon had me chuckling throughout most of the game. The game’s soundtrack is also my favorite soundtrack in recent memory. All of the songs set the mood up perfectly for the entire game. The songs featured in cutscenes warrant laughs by themselves, not to mention the song that runs at the start of the end credits, Friends for Eternity, by Dragon Sound. Check it out
The fact that this game is even exists is astounding. Like a magic trick, it brings about the wonderment and joy of wondering how it’s possible, but you’re still amazed and happy with the results. This isn’t the sort of product that you would normally expect from a mainstream publisher like Ubisoft; normally it takes an Indie developer to create something this leftfield. Saying that, I am extremely happy it exists and hope other companies take notice and try similar projects. Please, DO MORE STUFF LIKE THIS UBISOFT. Thank you.
So as a guy with a Miami Connection movie poster in his room, I feel like this game was made just for me. Even though sometimes it was a little too self-aware, it made me laugh. It’s not too often when I play a game that has me laughing intentionally as much as this one. It’s an amazing game that I may have enjoyed more if there was a bit more variety in the side missions, or a few more main missions. This offbeat standalone expansion is a much crazier and shorter experience than Far Cry 3, which is nice for me, because I get overwhelmed with all the activities in big open world games rather quickly. I picked this game up for 5 bucks on a sale, but after playing it, I would have gladly paid full price for it. In the end, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon left me wanting more stupid one-liners and over the top explosions. Looks like I’m going to have an 80’s/90’s action movie marathon.
Thanks again Ubisoft.