(PlayStation Network)

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PlayStation Network)

Game Review

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Ben Tarrant

Boom for your buck

Most first-person shooters settle for a few additional maps, a handful of new weapons, and a couple of bonus missions in their post-release period. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, however, blows that tradition out of the water, delivering a compelling standalone experience that's both out of the ordinary in delivery and subject matter.

The digital download – which can be enjoyed without owning a copy of last year's equally endearing Far Cry 3 – takes place in a futuristic 2007 (stick with us), after the Earth has been ravaged by nuclear war. You play as Rex Power Colt, a badass cyborg voiced by washed-up action movie legend Michael Biehn, who's tasked with investigating reports of a bioweapon being built on a far-off island. Throughout the course of the enjoyable mini-campaign, you'll find yourself subjected to love, betrayal, and lots of laughs.

While the title repurposes many of the mechanics from its predecessor, it does so in a manner that's both silly and self-aware. You're a super soldier, able to sprint infinitely without running out of puff and breathe underwater. Where last year's title cast you as an increasingly unhinged Jason Brody, you start out Blood Dragon as a killing machine, and things merely escalate from there. The game lacks challenge on its default difficulty setting as a result, but it serves up pure gaming catharsis in its place.

The title spits in the face of convention, too. While its underlying concepts may feel familiar, it takes traditional mechanics such as tutorial tips and rebrands them as a hindrance rather than a help. It's these kinds of fourth wall crushing nods to popular culture that infuse the 80s-inspired adventure with a personality all of its own, and help to make a mockery out of the industry's more straight-laced adventures.

The gameplay itself is accessible. Weaponry is accessed via a click-wheel which consists of an arsenal that includes a bow, a minigun, and a ninja star that fires lasers. Most of these weapons can be upgraded with attachments that enhance their stats, many of which you'll earn by completing various missions and side quests. The game also incorporates a lite levelling system, with experience points unlocked by slaying foes and progressing through the campaign. By increasing your stats, you'll unlock special takedowns, enhanced health, and so on. It's the implementation of these superfluous mechanics that helps to elevate the game beyond its brief but brilliant storyline.

As with Far Cry 3, the action takes place in an open world environment. The location itself can look a bit bland, primarily consisting of brown hills and red skies, but it's the setting's content that makes it such an enjoyable destination. Blood Dragons – neon dinosaurs armed with laser eyes – take every opportunity to terrify you, while metallic incarnations of familiar tropical critters prowl the world, augmenting the setting with a surreal appeal. Collectibles offer ample encouragement to explore the scenery once you're done with the core campaign, rewarding you with various treats and upgrades when uncovered. Meanwhile, futuristic garrisons litter the map, unlocking fast-travel options when emptied of enemies.

Bold uses of colour help to amplify the nostalgic feel throughout. While the graphics are unlikely to ever blow you away, there's an appeal to the Tron-esque environments that will pull you in, and the visuals are complemented by a brilliant soundtrack produced by Boston-based Nintendocore outfit Powerglove.

But it's the little things that make the title so enjoyable. Unnecessary but appreciated additions such as 'flipping the bird' at fallen enemies and pixel art sex scenes lend a real immaturity to proceedings, but the game has just enough brain cells to push its brand of stupidity above the likes of Duke Nukem Forever. It's an undeniably crass experience, but the wit that's buried beneath its bravado will prompt you to split your sides at times.

Conclusion

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is unashamedly stupid, and it's all the better for it. The standalone download takes the core ideas from Ubisoft's relatively recent tropical thriller, and reassembles them in the form of a nostalgic love-in that's packed with sly references and silly jokes. Its campaign may be short, but the title never overstays its welcome as a result. If you're looking for a laugh, then search no further.

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User Comments (16)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

Sold! Can't wait to play this, though £11.99 does seem steep. Look like it's worth it, though.

Epic

#2

Epic said:

After watching all this awesome DLC coming for the game.
I wonder if they are planning to release a GOTY edition of the game.
It looks like this games deserves it!!

get2sammybAdmin

#3

get2sammyb said:

@Epic I think you may be a teensy bit confused. As mentioned in the review, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a standalone game for the PSN. It's out today in North America.

EDIT: Have updated the review to clarify, just in case this wasn't clear!

Epic

#4

Epic said:

@get2sammyb Sorry my bad I immediatly thought it was DLC for the fact it uses the game's name.
This will definetly be on my PSN games list.

get2sammybAdmin

#5

get2sammyb said:

@Epic Haha, no need to apologise, it is a bit confusing. Hopefully the review does a better job of explaining that now! :)

rjejr

#7

rjejr said:

"...but the game has just enough brain cells to push its brand of stupidity above the likes of Duke Nukem Forever."

I think my initial reaction to this game was "This is the game Duken Nukem Forever" should have been. Glad to see I was correct in my assumption.
Though if Sammy is claiming it's a steep price - I agree - I'll wait for the eventual sale.

Plus the standard - why pay $15 for a DL game now that won't play on my new PS4? (I don't believe that but somebody had to say it.)

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

@rjejr I think it's a case of poor currency conversion. The US price is $14.99, so in theory the UK release should be £9.99. £11.99 is only a couple of quid more, but it just looks way more expensive.

Gamer83

#11

Gamer83 said:

All the reviews I've read have been pretty positive. I'll be purchasing this for sure.

Ginkgo

#14

Ginkgo said:

@get2sammyb : to make you fee better, you will be pleased to hear that Sony/Ubisoft has translated $15 USD to $22 AUD, based on an exchange rate where $1 AUD buys $1.05 USD. As usual we are screwed for no reason.

Oh well, I have plenty of things to play. I will wait for a price drop. Can't wait for PS4 pricing, should be a hoot.

odd69

#15

odd69 said:

Why oh why did they put the "3" logo on it if its a standalone game?? I'll never ever know, this could have been a separate farcry universe and have sequels but no, lets just say farcry 3 to get people's attention.

I would love more games like this for some odd reason, I would give it a near perfect score, but seems fair enough. It deserves the praise

RaymanFan2

#16

RaymanFan2 said:

$20 in NZ on PS Plus and more than worth every penny, despite the 5-hour-to-100% longevity it gave me. If it becomes a franchise, Id love it to stay how it is, short, 5 hour instalments that are DL-only.

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