Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review


By Darryn Bonthuys on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
"Press A to activate Z-Axis movement"

FC3BD1

On the surface, Blood Dragon should have been an impossible game reserved for the fevered minds of dedicated modders. It’s ludicrous, brash, unrelenting and unapologetic in its approach to crafting a standalone adventure that pays tribute to the B-grade films of yesteryear. It’s also the most fun that I’ve had all month.

It is the far off future of 2007. The world is in ruins, Australia is a superpower and the apocalypse just banged Ragnarok to create an ever bigger dystopian future. Enter Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt, a Mark IV cyber-commando motherf$%#r that is quick on the trigger and even quicker on the well-timed one-liner.

blood dragon

There’s shenanigans afoot of the world-ending variety, as the mysterious Omega Force army is amassing for some devious purpose under the leadership of a bloodthirsty Colonel Sloane who wants an apocalypse, now. It’s up to Colt and his partner, who has a wife and family and so much to live for to get to the bottom of things.

And of course, said mission goes FUBAR pretty damn quickly.

While Far Cry 3 was a serious game with some serious talent behind it, it wasn’t perfect. It had issues, from horrific driving controls, a main character who was annoyingly too much of a jock stereotype, to a mission from hell that violated the Geneva convention by looping Skrillex music constantly.

blood dragon (1)

Blood Dragon addresses some of those problems though, with an action hero that is impossible not to like, a world that is so over the top that it would sooner flip you the finger than give a damn. And right from the start, it wears its 30 lives on its sleeve.

Five minutes in from an old school video game intro that leads into a scripted turret sequence, and players are already experiencing the biggest dick move in history as Colt is forced to relive his tutorial nightmare that includes prompts to press A to activate Z-Axis movement, to a never-ending barrage of adverts to enhance the gameplay experience with purchasable cyber-points.

blood dragon (2)

Blood Dragon isn’t just tongue in cheek, its pierced through that wall of mouth-flesh and left that muscle to stick out entirely. What appears to be a linear mission structure soon gives way to a sequel of game ideas, from an open world that is impressively sizeable, to objectives dim-mukked straight from the torso of Far Cry 3.

But all of that is done with a love for 80-90s sci-fi, VHS tapes and extreme stereotypes. If the idea of taking on legions of cyborg soldiers in a broken world while hurling insults at every corner doesn’t appeal to you, then stop reading right now. This game wasn’t meant for you, and I pity you. Go away.

But for everyone else, this is a standalone that truly does stand alone against all the odds. On the surface, its undeniably Far Cry 3. Outposts can be invaded, conquered and turned into friendly bastions, while the landscape itself has been Australianised into a lethal outback that tries to murder you at every turn.

blood dragon (3)

Including death at the hands of those damned Blood Dragons. Blood Dragons are rage incarnate; unstoppable killing machines that feed on your fear and can kill you with a glance, thanks to their nuclear fusion eye-lasers. They can take more punishment than an action film at the Oscars, but they’ll bounce back with the strength of a cult hit direct-to-DVD sale.

And early on in the game, they’ll be the bane of your life. But the interesting thing is, is that they can become weapons that can help you win a battle.  And winning a battle is winning half the battle. Omega Force soldiers may be harder than Bolo Yeung English lessons, but that’s when they play the numbers game. Take one down, and yes, you can loot his corpse – but for more than just ammo. You can rip the heart out of the cyber-chest cavity, and use that fresh organ to lure a Blood Dragon in for the kill, or redirect it towards some enemies, while you take cover. Remember, Blood Dragons sense movement, because they’re clever girls.

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As for Colt’s adventures, it’s pretty challenging early in the game, much like it was for Jason Brodie in Far Cry 3. You’re still going to earn some experience, or cyber-points, that will help you level up. But that experience is now far more streamlined. You don’t get to choose the skills to acquire, you get rewarded with them upon sequelling your levels.

And does it make a difference? Absolutely. You go from down on his luck Rocky 1 who does everything he can just to survive a scrap, to full on Rocky 4 power where a single punch can destroy the very concept of communism. Takedowns become easier, more fluid and the chance to throw a ninja star into the face of an Omega Force soldier is gleefully exhilarating every time.

As for more conventional forms of warfare? There’s plenty of weapons on offer here; from the standard bow and arrow setup that has been given the Tron treatment (Tronment, patent pending), to a handy pistol salvaged from a Detroit police office who fell in the line of duty and came back more robotic than ever, each gun has an influence here.

blood dragon (5)

For a price, the majority of them are also upgradeable, a feature that significantly boosts their usefulness. Dropping some cash makes all the difference, when you compare a regular sniper rifle to a semi-automatic weapon of mass destruction that shoots explosives. State of the art! Bang bang!

On the surface though, Blood Dragon is pretty much a reskinned Far Cry 3. There’s no denying that. The DNA of that game is still firmly in place here, but it’s the attention to the smaller things here that makes this standalone more than just a direct to DVD clone.

It’s seeing a crate labelled with a sticker that tells you that winners don’t need drugs, or opening a cave that immediately challenges you to test your might. What Ubisoft Montreal has done in essence, is to craft a love letter to a forgotten era of action movies and heroes.

FC3BD12

It’s thick with stereotypes and ideas, but they’re all played for laughs – and it just works beautifully. Far Cry 3 was the kind of game that rewarded players who kept the action in the shadows, but with Blood Dragon, you don’t want to do that.

You want to chuck some C400 explosives at enemies and explode their faces off. You want to run in guns first and common sense last. And when you’ve levelled up enough, everything flows perfectly. Blood Dragon is the very essence of a plan that has come together, and without Michael Biehn voicing Rex Colt, it would have all fallen apart.

His dry retorts, one-liners and insults make the game worthwhile, and a hell of a lot more entertaining. Add to that a world that is a pretty massive chunk of land to cover, explosions at a regular interval and never-ending action, and you’ve got a standalone title that lives up the hype.

It’s an 80s montage of training, kickass and fun that doesn’t give a damn if you disagree with the approach taken. And that’s what makes the game so special. It’ll take you around 6-8 hours to beat the game entirely, including finding collectibles, doing side missions and hunting anything that has a pulse.

But it’s also one of the most satisfying experiences on the digital shelves today.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was reviewed by on the of April , 2013 at 6:00 PM on Xbox 360

TOTAL
8.5
Blood Dragon is everything that you loved about action movies from a forgotten era, mixed with a healthy does of cheese, Michael Bien, punchlines and some superb music. It's not just worth the buy. It should be an essential part of any game library.

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Author:Darryn Bonthuys

Because he's the writer that Lazygamer deserves, but not the one it actually needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can't take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a loud-mouthed journalist, a watchful procrastinator. A dork knight.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Oh momma I want this game lol!

  • Trevor Davies

    Right now Duke Nukem must feel like someone has made him grab his ankles & wish for a happy place

    • Aussious

      Games like this do make me wonder how they managed to mess up Duke Nukem.

  • Pingback: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon reviews round-up: it shoots and it scores | VG247

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686751624 Darren Peach

    Cant wait to play it.

  • Pingback: ????? ???? “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon” ????? ?? : ??? ????

  • http://www.facebook.com/Stefarooh Stefan Haselsteiner

    I think I am happily going to pick this up on Steam. This was nowhere near my radar, having
    not even had a look see at the supposedly brilliant Far Cry 3 but as a homage
    to all things 80′s and cheesy plus being stock pilled full of action clichés that
    put Michael Bay to shame – this has essentially become a must purchase :) I need a good Duke Nukem styled action game that wears is laughs on its sleeve. It looks dam bloody good too!

  • Pingback: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – Der Launch-Trailer und die ersten Wertungen » PS3Blog.ch

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    F$*& yeah!!!!

  • CaptainNemo42

    Only R112 on PSN+ Now for the download!

    • Deon Steyn

      Downloaded it last night, Including Hitman Absolution and Cathrine for free.

      • CaptainNemo42

        Yeah. I didn’t see that yesterday morning, but saw it this morning, and “bought” it. Will start the downloads when I get home and I sorted out my adsl. It’s slower than dial-up at the moment. :(

        I did play FC3:BD last night a bit (used by 3G for the last Gb download). And it is everything I could’ve hoped for!

        • Deon Steyn

          I can’t wait! Hehe “bought”

  • Pingback: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – s? pierwsze recenzje i oceny « Playing Daily

  • Rince da Ref Lvl2

    Leave a message…want! How much though?

    • matthurstrsa

      Its about R150 at the moment (On PC), not bad at all. Will be picking this up soon.

      • Rince da Ref Lvl2

        Leave a message…ahh. That is not bad at all. Will also be getting this! Thanks for info!

    • Deon Steyn

      R112 on PS+ lol

  • Pingback: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – Test-Wertungen & das schlechteste Tutorial dieser Welt » playm.de

  • Skyblue

    Looks pretty cool and I’ll prob be picking it up. Anyone else think the Michael Biehn poster/posteur looks more like Brett Hart? Then again it could just be the “pink-eye”…

  • matthurstrsa

    This looks horribly cheesy, over the top and in poor taste. I will be picking it up ASAP.

  • Deon Steyn

    I knew this would be a winner.

  • Deon Steyn

    Make a sequel!

  • Ultimo_Cleric_N7

    Downloading tonight!!!!

    • Aussious

      Did you download this locally or overseas?

  • Cabbit

    Best purchase I’ve made in a very long time.

  • fros7ybear

    cant find on xbox live!

  • R4geGam3r

    Looked for this on Xbox Live SA yesterday and couldn’t find it. Thought maybe it’s cos of the holiday. Checked tonight and still not up. WTF is wrong with XBL SA? They advertised it the whole of last week check today advertisement is gone and nothing on the store. Same thing happened to Dark Souls DLC just never got uploaded to the store. They should just close down and we should be covered by the UK store.

  • ThrawnZA

    I can’t find it on local Live, and the retarded Uplay system/DRM won’t allow me to log in and play my Steam copy.
    Anyone else with similar issues on Steam?

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      It’s on local live now.

      • ThrawnZA

        Thanks!

      • ThrawnZA

        Thanks!

      • Aussious

        I checked Geoff its not there, there’s a misleading thumbnail but the actual game is not there.

        • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          Yeah, I’ve followed up with Microsoft, and it will apparently be going live “early next week.”

          • Aussious

            Thanks Geoff,much appreciated! :-)

  • Black Mamba

    Looks a bit silly hey.

  • skander

    i finished it

  • Aussious

    I am so fuckin frustrated I’ve been looking for this game for weeks now its not on the local marketplace, really M$!!!! Fuck MS they not getting a cent of my money next gen, they really don’t give a shit about us.

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