Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon screenshot
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon screenshot

For a game that's selling itself to be more RADICAL and BADASS than MC Hammer
doing a kickflip while wearing wrap-around sunglasses and listening to Turtle Power,
Blood Dragon plays things pretty conservatively. If you saw the marketing and
wondered just exactly what Far Cry had to do with Tron-style future-shocks –
apart from just using the name, like using someone elses' ID to buy Predator on VHS
– you'll know after a few minutes play. For all of the impact the new visuals have –
and there's no denying they're as atmospheric as they are stylish – underneath this
is still Far Cry 3, just remixed, rejigged and streamlined to accommodate a faster
pace and smaller island.

In Blood Dragon, you ARE Sgt Rex 'Power' Colt, and THIS SUMMER, you WILL kill
everyone and everything, in a moody, post-apocalyptic America that has been
reconstructed using only '80s action movie tropes and GI Joe levels of morality. In
this version of 2007 the US and Russia have nuked themselves silly, and now only
Rex can stop a rogue US soldier creating a new world order. With dragon blood and
cybernetics, obviously.

The game starts with a helicopter-based minigun deathfest to the strains of
Predator's Long Tall Sally, the first of many, many movie references. If it came out
in the '80s and featured a man with a body bigger than a Buick firing a gun bigger
than his body, then it's here. Anyone who grew up on a filmic diet of steroid-addled
MurderDeathKill will feel right at home, with a terriffic soundtrack rounding it all off.

As befits an ass-kicking cyberwarrior from the future, Rex couldn't be more different
to that communist Brody, and as such while the core of the game is the same –
travel around, hunt animals, liberate bases, sometimes actually do a mission – the
way in which Rex levels is different. There's no time to be wasted crafting wallets
and backpacks here. Instead, the (cyber) animal hunting, item gathering and
hostage rescuing elements of the open world all feed into a weapon/skill unlock
system. It has to be far more linear than Brody's tattoo tree, and it is.

In fact, I'm tempted to say that I prefer the way it's done here. Your XP bar fills
with every radical thing you do, and your new weapon set (which includes a
minigun) lets you wreak havoc in a way that wasn't really possible before.
Exploration, too, still has the same OCD-bothering appeal as before: I found myself
trekking around, attempting to track down VHS tapes and TV sets to boost my
stats and unlock cool new gear for my weapons.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon screenshot

So: it's Far Cry 3, but with Terminator/Aliens star Michael Biehn spouting one liners,
8-Bit graphics panels telling the story and everything exploding all the time. Which
is wonderful: Ubisoft's open world is a great template to work from, and Blood
Dragon is a lot of fun. If anything my main concerns come from the fact that
Ubisoft doesn't go far enough with the nonsense. The developer has pulled
inspiration from dozens of movies, each of which are little more than bullet strewn
set-pieces of increasing intensity. So it's a shame that in Blood Dragon you'll be
repeating the same general mission loop from the start until the end: go to place on
the map, liberate samey looking environment, repeat to fade.

Given the sheer silliness of its inspirations, Ubisoft could have done anything here,
and bar a late-game change of pace (which is underwhelming) the decision to rinse
and repeat the mission structure is a bit of a blow, especially in a game so over-
the-top. For all the lip service paid to how spectacularly stupid the game is, this is
still Far Cry 3. You still have a bow, and weapons still run out of ammo (has Ubi not
seen any of these films? Weapons never run out of ammo.)

Speaking of your guns, why is there still a weapon limit? Anyone that has seen
Commando will know that one man can carry every gun ever made about his
person, as long as he believes in America. Similarly, why do defeated goons just fall
over when shot? Why aren't they pirouetting and backflipping like an episode of the
A-Team where the bad guys are the Russian Ballet supporting Diversity on tour?
Other issues compound this problem. The perma-dark nature of the world offers
little variety and the Blood Dragons themselves are pretty boring, both in design
and combat, which is a sentence that should never be written.

It's slightly disappointing, but I found myself returning to Blood Dragon after I'd
finished it. The compulsive appeal of the parent game carries over, and it's nice to
play a sci-fi shooter that's not trying to tell a so-called 'epic' story. Here you shoot
people, a lot, and for most of its short running time that's good fun.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

Finished the campaign and half the side missions in around 4 hours.

7 / 10

  • Soundtrack is good
  • As addictive as Far Cry 3
  • Not OTT enough
  • Not enough mission variety

Click above for enlarged Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Screenshots


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User Comments

dazzadavie's Avatar


Just got back from home in which this is now downloading. Can't wait to get on it.
Posted 13:58 on 01 May 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


Downloading right now... shall hopefully be able to offer some thoughts on the title later tonight.

Although it does remind me of when I was music editor for the student mag, having to remind reviewers weekly that it wasn't edgy to hate on everything and bitch/condescend at every opportunity... If something is genuinely enjoyable, say so. VG.com does feel like it is currently in such a sulky teenage phase... which is a shame... :-/
Posted 11:53 on 01 May 2013


cough *9* cough.

I'm wondering if it's more to do with having lived through the 80s and been that age group to have seen those movies when they came out and fondly remembering VHS etc.

Interestingly Turtles was the 90s and the 16 bit cut scenes are also more 90s than 80s, everything else was very 80s.
Posted 09:34 on 01 May 2013


videogamer's Score is SUCKS!!!
Posted 07:29 on 01 May 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


I'll bet Neon would have loved this... certainly sounds like it deserves more than a 7 rating...
Posted 19:35 on 30 April 2013
Rambolike's Avatar


Mr. Burns, you're impossible to please.
Posted 19:11 on 30 April 2013

Game Stats

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Out of 10
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  • Soundtrack is good
  • As addictive as Far Cry 3
  • Not OTT enough
  • Not enough mission variety
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/05/2013
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 1,837 22
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