"Blood Dragon celebrates its absurdity with neon vistas, zebra striped tigers, radioactive alligators, and a protagonist who rips out hearts for money…ehm, credits."
What happens when you give developers free rein to indulge in their fantasies? Blood Dragon happens - a bizarre, delirious, sarcastic, oversaturated and utterly parodistic nod to everything eighties…in short, an absolute delight. Blood Dragon is a standalone title that’s relevant to last year’s Far Cry 3 only in name and gameplay, but nothing else. What started out as Ubisoft’s April fool’s joke somehow made its way into an actual game…and for that, I applaud them wholeheartedly. There are no words to describe Blood Dragon, nor is there anything to compare it to. It’s the video game equivalent to a Mel Brooks film and gamers who grew up with classics like Terminator and Robocop will appreciate its nostalgic humor the most.
Blood Dragon celebrates its absurdity with neon vistas, zebra striped tigers, radioactive alligators, and a protagonist who rips out hearts for money…ehm, credits. The ludicrous premise and overwhelming aesthetics are consistently eccentric without disregarding the superb gameplay of last year’s Far Cry. Blood Dragon is stupid and arrogant in the best way possible and never shies away from obscenity. The narrative unfolds through a series of NES-era 2-d slides with a thick overtone of foul language. There’s a plot there somewhere…about saving the world or something…and of course a madman that you need to nix…but it’s really about taking a bath in neon vomit; beautiful, radiating, 80’s disco neon vomit.
"As you rank up, you gain abilities and bonuses associated with that level instead of distributing skill points."
The game doesn’t take itself seriously for a second, but never looses sight of its core mechanics. In a way, Blood Dragon highlights the best parts of Far Cry 3 with a greater focus on stealth. Every mission can be played stealthily (with the exception of a few necessary shootouts) and there are plenty of garrison liberation side missions scattered throughout the new island. These fortified posts are exceptionally challenging with boats, jeeps, and even helicopters circling the premises. Trying to sneak through them completely undetected can be tricky…and incredibly satisfying.
Weapons are upgradable by completing additional objectives, like rescuing scientists and hunting rare animals, and leveling up still plays a role but it’s been streamlined. As you rank up, you gain abilities and bonuses associated with that level instead of distributing skill points. It works well considering the smaller size of the game and you still get a sense of growth as you acquire deadlier skills.
The biggest addition to Blood Dragon are…well, the blood dragons. These massive dinosaur-like creatures are deadly and a pain in the ass to kill. They change color depending on their alert level and once they turn red, it’s best to stay out of their way. Since they are blind and only react to sound, you’re best off crouching when they’re nearby. A freshly plucked heart can be tossed to lure them towards enemies, which is extremely beneficial when infiltrating military outposts.
"It’s a fantastic homage to eighties' science fiction flicks and preserves the superb gameplay that made last year’s Far Cry 3 such a masterful experience."
Visually, the game is like having an acid trip on an exploding roller-coaster The environment feels like an outdoor disco with mutated zoo animals on the loose…it’s spectacular. It captures the eighties aesthetic beautifully and is a refreshing contrast to last year’s exotic vistas. The nighttime does get a little monotonous at times and the entire island tends to lack diversity. Nevertheless, considering you’re getting an entirely new sandbox for a mere fifteen bucks, there’s not much to complain about.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the most delightful franchise oddity of this generation. It’s a fantastic homage to eighties' science fiction flicks and preserves the superb gameplay that made last year’s Far Cry 3 such a masterful experience. Even if you don’t get a single joke, Blood Dragon offers a solid six hours of gameplay on a brand new island that feels like a non-stop disco party. It’s crazy, it’s demented…it’s brilliant.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC