Review | Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
The open-world antics of Far Cry 3 collide face-first with some serious 80s pop culture in the neon-drenced expansion that is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Well, perhaps expansion isn’t the right word. Blood Dragon may use the assets, mechanics and general setup of the original Far Cry 3, but with its tongue-in-cheek tribute to […]
The open-world antics of Far Cry 3 collide face-first with some serious 80s pop culture in the neon-drenced expansion that is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Well, perhaps expansion isn’t the right word. Blood Dragon may use the assets, mechanics and general setup of the original Far Cry 3, but with its tongue-in-cheek tribute to games and movies of old, Blood Dragon a life all its own. It’s less of an expansion, and more of glimpse into a parallel dimension.
An instant classic
In terms of story, Blood Dragon has all the narrative gravitas of every great 80s action flick. Set in the distant future of 2007, Sergeant Rex Power Colt is a cybernetically-enhanced soldier with a foul mouth and a penchant for cheesy one-liners. And that’s about it for story, but the reason we’re all here is the addictive gameplay that made the original Far Cry 3 an instant classic – and Blood Dragon has bags of it spilling over the sides.
Set on an island roughly half the size of Far Cry 3’s first rock, Blood Dragon isn’t exactly a huge leap forward for the franchise; instead it adds a few fun extras that add a little extra flavour to an already great formula. There are zip-lines, outposts, collectables and local wildlife a plenty (all glowing with Tron-esque neon) but the titular blood dragons are one of the real calling cards of this game.
Everybody do the dinosaur
Imagine a giant iguana that glows different colours depending on how angry it is; imagine a giant lizard that can send enemies flying or bite their heads clean off; imagine a dinosaur that can fire freakin’ lazers from its eyes! Blood dragons can be pretty tough to take out one on one (a monster with a health bar is usually a bad sign) but why try and take them out when you can use these glowing monsters to your advantage?
Just like freeing caged animals in the main game, you can lure blood dragons into enemy outposts by throwing the cyber-hearts you harvest from fallen enemies. Yes, we said cyber-hearts. But in a weird dose of anti-climax, taking out a blood dragon will simply make it disappear with a small splash of blue blood – no death animation, no explosion, nothing. It’s a jarring omission that feels like Ubisoft simply ran out of time before they could finish animating the dragon.
Save the hostage
Outside of the short but sweet main story, there’s the usual smattering of outposts across the island. Most are based around the usual open strategy of old (run in all guns blazing or ghost each baddie one at a time), but some require pure stealth to complete. These ‘hostage’ missions will task you with taking out a whole outpost as quietly as possible, with any triggered alarms resulting in one considerably dead hostage. It’s nice to have some constrictive objectives in the open-world setting of Blood Dragon, and it adds another layer to this already engaging experience.
Even if you’re not quite old enough to fully appreciate the super nostalgia of Blood Dragon, it’s still endlessly charming. The animated cut-scenes nail the look and style of the era – a la classic Metal Gear and the like – and having Michael (Reese from the The Terminator) Biehn on VO duty just shows Ubisoft wanted to make something as authentic as they did something silly and fun.
The IR Verdict
Everything about Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is ridiculous and over-the-top, and in the four to six hours it will take you to do the campaign and most of the secondary content you’ll never get bored once. Most of the weapons are simply re-skinned versions of those from the original game, but blowing away baddies that look like neon-blooded members of Daft Punk never gets old. You also get a glowing, neon bow. A GLOWING, NEON BOW, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!
With a sick synth soundtrack that doffs some serious cap to movies like Assault on Precinct 13 or The Terminator, you won’t find many games that offer as much content for 1200 MS points/£11.99. So break out your aviators and give Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon a spin.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is out now on XBLA and PSN. A retail version is also available for the PC faithful, too.