Blood Dragon is a standalone DLC for Far Cry 3. Blood Dragon is also the saviour of videogames.
Is that a bold statement?
Depending on how you feel, Far Cry 3 was [delete as applicable] excellent/good/decent/mediocre/crap, but either way it sold a lot of copies and gained a lot of attention, so DLC was bound to be forthcoming. When it was revealed that Blood Dragon – an Ubisoft April Fool’s joke – was that DLC, a lot of people were left confused and excited… Especially when they announced Michael Beihn was behind the microphone to give Blood Dragon it’s very own authentic, 80’s action hero.
I stayed up after the launch to play it, and I can safely say that more games need to be made with these sensibilities because Blood Dragon is an absolute breath of fresh air.
This neon-drenched, retro-inspired vision of 2007 might not seem like the future of videogames, but hidden beneath the cyborg sharks, heavily armed zombies and laser-eyed dragons is a perfect recipe: Blood Dragon takes Far Cry 3’s fluid combat mechanics, pairs that with a wide open world full of things to blow up, an interesting array of weaponry from the word go, and basically makes everything bigger, faster, more explodey and more inherently ridiculous. If that’s not enough, there’s a script that is actually funny (your mileage may vary, but one AI announcement about grenades had me in laughing at my PC like one of them-there crazy folk), so what you end up with is a game that’s got fun written all over it.
The player character is a “Mark V cyber commando”, which means that Rex “Power” Colt (not kidding) is twice the character of that wimpy Jason guy from the base game; he takes no fall damage, runs faster than most vehicles and can breathe underwater. He’s the hero of the Megadrive era, and the ridiculously powerful protagonist fits in with the rest of the game’s over-the-top execution to deliver a finishing blow to the string of realism-obsessed titles shouting for attention in the FPS marketplace. It’s refreshing to see a game entirely focusing on being fun to play but with a triple-A budget. That’s how Rex Colt, and by extension Blood Dragon, has saved the world of videogames.
It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, mind you; running around the island hunting for old video-tapes and scientists’ notes is a bit irritating (“As long as I don’t have to pick up any fucking feathers” utters our leading man, poking fun at another Ubi franchise while sharing our frustration) and only serves as an additional barrier to the player strapping on the excellent attachments like flaming shotgun shells, explosive sniper rifle rounds and ever more ridiculous quantities of ammo.
My final complaint is that the game just isn’t long enough. Like the original Portal, it’s an excellent idea that just isn’t long enough, clocking in at around 8 hours. I guess I’ll just have to cross my fingers each April 1st hoping for the return of “Power” Colt.
If you’re on the fence about Blood Dragon, get off the fence and buy a copy. You’ve spent money on worse games that took themselves way more seriously.