For all its faux-eighties foolishness, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a very clever game. It took an established franchise, gave it a splash of visual variety, and then injected it with some bizarre characters and mechanics. Above all, it was silly, fun, and endearing. Unfortunately, Trials of the Blood Dragon is none of those things.
You play as erstwhile protagonist Rex Colt's two children on a mission to save America from the evil communist Viet Cong. This task sees you charging through locations as varied as Vietnam, an ancient Incan temple, and Hell. There's even one section which seems to be a parody of Hotline Miami, of all things.
The levels are tied together by beautifully animated sequences which expound the story. These sections are just as eclectic and silly as the list of locations above, and are replete with the expected jingoistic war room speeches and stirring dramatic monologues. They're also often punctuated by fake period advertisements and other inexplicable visual popups.
And herein lies one of the title's main problems: it's incredibly unclear what it's attempting to lampoon. Is it parodying 80s action movies, 80s kids movies, or 80s Saturday morning cartoons? Perhaps it's poking fun at vaporwave, and the romanticized way we remember all of these things? The lack of clarity means that the experience is often uncomfortable, and most of its big jokes fall flat.
This isn't helped by truly abysmal writing and voice acting. It's clear that the story is intended to be as campy as possible. However, there's a very distinct difference between 'so bad it's good' and 'just bad', and this game falls firmly in the latter camp.
This confusion also carries over to the title's gameplay. Trials of the Blood Dragon doesn't know what genre it is, so it tries to be all of them at once, and ultimately doesn't do a very good job of any of them.
The standard biking mechanics return, and they're as tight and satisfying as ever. You'll steer your motorbike through increasingly tricky levels, ensuring that you pitch and lean enough to compensate for the hilly terrain.
But despite it being the title's strongest system, you don't actually spend all that much time in a two-wheeler. Instead, several other novelty vehicles are littered throughout the experience. Some of them – like the 8-wheel tank and Turbo Flip R/C – make great diversions from the usual format.
However, the addition of on-foot sections is utterly incomprehensible. The platforming is, in a word, abysmal. In several words, it's floaty, imprecise, repetitive, and never enjoyable. You'll slide into levels, often surrounded by a horde of enemies which you're tasked with gunning down. But with no dodge ability or cover system to speak of, you simply have to fire in the vague direction of the baddies and hope that your bullets hit first.
Even more egregious is the late-game addition of jetpack levels, which feature controls so maddeningly imprecise as to be ulcer-inducing. Then, in arguably the most excruciating test of this writer's patience since Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, the jetpack is strapped to a bomb which detonates if it shakes too much. Infuriating.
In a main series Trials game, these sorts of experimental levels would be silly one-offs, but in this title they make up the majority of the experience. It is inexplicable that Ubisoft decided to forego the strongest mechanic in the series in order to focus on so many new types of gameplay, none of which are particularly interesting or fun.
Thankfully, the BMX-'em-up's visual presentation lives up to its pedigree, providing increasingly outlandish and hilarious neon-soaked backdrops, as well as a constant subtle visual call-backs to the days of VCRs and CRT screens. At the same time, its soundtrack bubbles and hisses like a John Carpenter synth symphony, acting as both an instant mood-setter, and the perfect sonic pastiche.
Trials of the Blood Dragon is massively disappointing. Its story is muddled and confusing, its jokes fall flat, and its gameplay is frustrating. Fantastic presentation and well-tuned motorbike physics don't make up for what is ultimately a failed experiment.
Oooh 4/10 with dodgy controls off the bike;
To be fair, Trials Fusion was so annoying going for the extra stars, rubbish stunt mechanics and crazy backdrops. Trials HD was the best game in the series.
when i went into the PS store and saw the neon words BLOOD DRAGON i started freaking out and quickly went to its page, read something about 2 new sibling characters and im like WWHHOOAAHH!! CCOOOLLL!!!! started watching the trailer and was like.....WHOaahh.......WHAT!?!?!? .........WTF IS THIS? what a dissapointment. i need a blood dragon sequel.
All this game got me to do is want to play Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon again.
I don't believe this is something that any fan of either series would celebrate as the right move. I would have loved a straight Blood Dragon sequel instead.
Would have been great if it were actually a good game.
Just as I expected.
I thought this was going to be blood dragon intermixed trails sections glad I didn't jump at it.
Sheesh, this is so disappointing.
The writing was on the wall though. Trials HD and Evolution were brilliant, yet with Fusion, which was still tons of fun in it's own way, they started to dilute the game with lots of meaningless modes.
Trying to offer diversity, yet adding little of worth.
I was on the verge of picking this up instantly as it popped up on the store, but when watching Bob Mackey steam the game, it became clear that there was a ton of awful stuff thrown into what was once a top series.
Heck some of this stuff has garbage level gameplay that even iOS fans would scoff at. Goddamnit Ubisoft, do you really have to mess everything up?
It's not amazing but as a big Trials fan, it was fun to see a different spin on the series. I thought the humor was decent, and some of the music really good. The game is very easy but it was a fun ride for 5 hours and worth the 15 bucks. The RC car was amazing. Definitely my favorite part of the game.
@sketchturner I totally agree about the RC! I'd love to see some more of that in future trials games!
I am actually enjoying it but it is definitely not for the Trials purists.
Tap here to load 11 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...