Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Far Cry 3 was one of the best games of last year, delivering a realistic open world experience that put players in the shoes of Jason Brody, a regular guy who ended up on a tropical beach filled with pirates and mercenaries.
While the game went on to attract many with its realism, Ubisoft decided to take the core mechanics and repurpose them for another type of open world first-person shooter experience, in the form of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
With revamped visuals, impressive gameplay, and a story taken out of cheesy 1980s sci-fi action films, it seems that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is shaping up to be quite an experience. Can it deliver or should this kitschy retro experience be forgotten? Let's find out.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon makes it clear right from the get-go that it isn't a regular game. Instead, it's a love letter to the gloriously cheesy 1980s sci-fi movies, in which Hollywood believed everyone would end up as cyborgs by the year 2007.
Players take control of Rex Power Colt, a Mark IV Cyber Commando who's sent on a mysterious tropical island to stop a power-crazed colonel from destroying the world. The plot then ticks all the necessary checkboxes from sci-fi movies. The colonel was a former mentor of Rex, he loses his comrade, earns unlikely friendships, all the while promoting the glorious ideals of 1980s America, like how winners don't do drugs.
The story of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon could have easily ended up as being forgettable, but instead it strikes a near perfect balance of acting as a homage to classic films while maintaining the tongue-in-cheek riffs about the 1980s version of the future and about current-day events and topics, such as videogame violence.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon may have a completely different story than the original Far Cry 3, but its gameplay mechanics are largely intact, as it's still an open world first-person shooter in which players slowly take over an island by defeating enemies from outposts and eliminating their influence from the land.
In terms of these basic mechanics, Blood Dragon is mostly top-notch, although the shooting and the weapons can feel a bit underwhelming at first, at least until you level up and start unlocking new skills, abilities, and upgrades for your arsenal.
Exploration is also pretty good, as the same basic concept applies here. Thanks to Rex's cyber implants, he can sprint faster, jump higher, and sustain much more damage than Jason Brody, making the whole experience feel much more arcade-ish than the realistic Far Cry 3.
The main progression system once again relies on taking over outposts, but they're now much more than just island huts or shipwrecked vessels, as the enemies maintain big bases with both above-ground facilities and underground research labs which require a bit of strategy to take over stealthily.
While the game still manages to reward sneaking around, although you're much more easily detected by the enemy cyborgs, it feels much more fun when you're going with guns blazing, thus earning the approval of Rex himself.
In case you don't like getting your hands dirty, then there's one major mechanic that needs to be discussed: the actual Blood Dragons. These are huge lizards that walk around the game's open world, particularly near enemy outposts.
They're quite big, have lots of health and, when angered, can shoot lasers at foes through their eyes. While they mostly want to be left alone, which can be done by crouching and sneaking around them, they're quickly angered by gunfire and by throwing cyber hearts in their vicinity. These can be obtained from looting enemies and can easily tempt the blood dragons to take on your own foes.
Taking over outposts just by luring a blood dragon is quite an experience but, once everyone is killed, you still have to deal with the dragon itself, as you can either kill it, which can be quite hard, or lure it away using the same hearts. The latter is advised by the game but it's sometimes easier said than done, as the AI can't really decide where to go. What's more, the friendly scientists who repopulate the outposts after you liberate them quickly start shooting at the blood dragon, causing it to once again fire its lasers.
Besides the stealth detection or the erratic dragon AI, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has very few downsides, with the most important being the fact that, as you progress through levels, the game decides to unlock new abilities without letting players decide which ones they want. As a result, some levels get you a bonus health block while others unlock crucial stealth takedowns.
Visuals and Sound
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon reflects its 1980s sci-fi roots with the visual style that's rich in neon colors, ranging from purple to orange, green, or blue. Throw in the fact that it's always nighttime and you'll feel like you're going through a 1980s club that spent all its money on neon signs.
Fortunately, the gameplay complements the visual style and the whole experience feels like something you've never felt before. Throw in the cut scenes that feature sprite-based animation like 1980s games and the package is complete.
In terms of sound, the game is also a great experience. Its soundtrack includes a heavy mix between house music and chiptune tracks, adding a more modern and even sci-fi take on the songs you'd normally find in classic video games.
The voice acting is also top-notch and quite cheesy, with actual 1980s action movie hero Michael Biehn bringing Rex to life through a variety of one-liners. The support cast is also quite good, and the enemy cyborgs that all talk with computerized voices have quite a few hilarious taunts.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a great experience that manages to take the impressive mechanics from Far Cry 3, like shooting or exploring, and packages them in a love letter to 1980s sci-fi action movies. The story is cheesy, the graphics are kitschy, and the hero is one-dimensional, but the game retains the tongue-in-cheek feel throughout the whole single-player campaign and that's what makes it a great title.