Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

I treat Ubisoft releases the same way as I do with Lego video game releases. They’re all very similar (or identical) games and so I’ll only play one if that individual title’s theme interests me. As such I haven’t played the main Far Cry 3 game itself. However I have played and completed Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon! It has a whole campaign to itself with a separate story, characters, aesthetic, soundtrack and tone. The game isn’t as big in terms of map size or content amount, but in this case that’s a good thing. Blood Dragon is a gimmicky extended DLC and thus it knows how to get your attention, hold it for just long enough, and then end before it gets tedious.

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The gimmick of Blood Dragon is inspired. It is set in an alternative version of 2007 inspired by ‘80s hard body action cinema as well as ‘80s and ‘90s video games and their pixel art cut scenes (which the game recreates). The soundtrack is pure cheese synth. The characters are all stock types from underwritten macho films and games. There is a neon faux cel shaded look to the visuals. There are constant pitch perfect bad one liners. The protagonists have names like “Sergeant Rex ‘Power’ Colt” and “Dr Darling” and the antagonist is called “Sloan”. The whole game is constantly winking at you whilst slamming its tongue into its cheek. The story is deliberately tropey as hell and charges towards every conceivable cliché it can think of. If it can’t think of any you’ll be treated to a Predator quote. Rex is played Michael Biehn for that ‘80s genre movie authenticity. Biehn plays it knowingly straight and the game is richer for his presence.

As a game it is just Far Cry 3 but with the surface I just described. It’s a FPS (with iron sights aiming) with an atypical Ubisoft open world of bases to conquer and excessive collectibles. You have a small array of vehicles to traverse the world, which is full of a variety of animals. Most of these are taken from Far Cry 3, however there are some more fantastical creatures to be found that are based around the title’s specific gimmicks.  There are “Blood Dragons” that are weird techno cyborg dragon creatures. They can kill you easily and they’re best distracted using cyborg hearts ripped from your humanoid enemies. You have a limited variety of weapons, essentially just one weapon from every class of firearm: pistol, shotgun, SMG and a sniper rifle. There’s also a bow and a knife to be used. The weapons are designed to evoke the ‘80s Sci Fi aesthetic and mostly fire some sort of laser, except for the shotgun which functions as a direct Mad Max homage. They can be upgraded by doing side missions, but even the weakest version of the guns will be effective enough to complete the campaign. This also means you can do as many or as few side missions as you like without hindrance.

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There’s not really much else to say about Blood Dragon. It’s slight by design as to not stretch its conceit too much. Said conceit is a tonne of fun over the brief time you’ll have to engage with it. Being a spin-off of a full popular game, its systems and “gun feel” are all very good. There’s some solid level design and a few standout set pieces. I laughed a lot during game play and twice as much during the cut scenes. Steal it up or go in guns blazing; there’ll be one liners for both. That’ll do, pig.

Played on Xbox One and Xbox One X

 

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