|A boom boom tssssh|
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Release Date: 1 May 2013
- Time played: 5 hours
I finally got around to finishing this game today - little did I realise how close I was to finishing it (my last save point was on the penultimate level). First off, I have to say I've never been a fan of the Far Cry games, mainly because my experiences with both the first game and second were that they were incredibly buggy and not worth enduring. The first game I managed to always get stuck in the maps in multiplayer and in the second I reached a point where it was impossible to progress the main storyline and the only other solution was to start from the beginning. Okay, the first Far Cry is probably a forgivable issue, although it's now quite an old game and undoubtedly dated. The second game on the other hand had less forgivable problems. Admittedly, I didn't persevere much with getting the game to work - I didn't spend a month for example trying to figure out whether it was the hardware, the operating system, the drivers, etc., etc. that was preventing me from progressing any further - but when you're spoilt for choice with games nowadays, why bother?
Consequently, I never bought into the Far Cry series as a whole as countless others have. I also haven't bought into the Batman or Assassin's Creed games and it's now definitely a case of "I'm so far behind in the series, I can't be bothered starting now". Basically, there's only so much time people have and that backlog I have of over 350 Steam games isn't getting any smaller.
Why do I mention this to you, dear reader? Because it's important you realise I'm writing this review not as a Far Cry fan and part of the reason I bought it was on a hunch that you didn't need to be as heavily invested in the main series in order to enjoy it. So for the Far Cry fans out there who have already lost all respect for me because I've never played their beloved series for hours on end, please feel free to visit another gaming publication and/or blog. Otherwise if you're curious as to whether a Far Cry standalone expansion like Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is of any fun for a "non-believer", then read on (or if you're in the same situation as me having never played a Far Cry game from start-to-finish - also read on :)).
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon's plot fits in the category of "it's so bad, it's good"! The sad thing is, it was quite common for an action film of the 1980s to have a plot very similar to Blood Dragon's. The year is 2007 (as imagined in the 1980s) and the world is suffering the aftermath of a nuclear war. You play the role of Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt, an American "cyber-commando" who along with his partner and friend, "Spider", infiltrate an island where a rogue cyber-commando named Colonel Sloan (who looks a lot like Bennett from the 1985 action movie Commando) plans to convert the world's populace into zombies or something equally ridiculous. With the help of Canadian scientist, Elizabeth Darling, it's up to Rex to kick some butt and save the world.
Most of the game's humour derives from it being a parody of 1980s sci-fi action films but the game also makes several references to pop culture from yesteryear (e.g. Transformers the Movie, Mortal Kombat, Star Wars, etc.) as well as poking fun at the 1980s perception of the future.
The only thing I could fault is actually one of the best aspects of the game which are the cheesy one-liners Rex makes whenever he dispatches enemies. Yes it's funny the first few times but since he's killing literally hundreds of enemies (as would also be the case in any respectable 80s action film) he'll often start repeating the same one-liners and then they just become really bad Dad jokes repeated over and over again.
Since I've never actually played Far Cry 3 I can't really compare the gameplay to it, but I'm assuming it's quite similar - it's definitely similar to Far Cry 2 in that the game pretty much plays like any sandbox First Person Shooter except you have the trademark Far Cry healing mechanic where you have to spend some time putting out fires or pulling out bullets in order to heal yourself. I think it's a good compromise when you consider most shooters nowadays have regenerative health and it's not as cumbersome as scouring the wilderness for medpacks (although you can do that too if you so wish).
You'll get a whole bunch of weapons in the game with hilarious descriptions and way too much neon. You're also able to grab the hearts of fallen enemy cyborgs which you can use to distract the toughest enemies on the island known as "blood dragons" (basically giant neon dinosaurs that shoot lasers from their eyes... wait... what?). But what are you exactly meant to do in this game? Shoot the bad guys of course and lots of them! Okay but seriously, I think the way the game is meant to be played is that you're meant to work your way across the island liberating strongholds from Sloan's forces and exploring several sites along the way in order to complete collections/earn achievements. It is entirely possible, however, to do what I did and rush through the main storyline in just 5 hours. Overall, I think it's a good design decision to offer the player that choice although the game does feel awfully short as a result.
I think the reason I never ended up doing any side quests was because they felt like grind; there wasn't enough motivation for me to complete the side quests that didn't reward any additional background story at all (unlike RPGs such as Mass Effect).
|Stan Bush would be proud|
Voice acting is performed by top notch talent with 80s/90s action star Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens, Tombstone, etc.) taking the lead role of Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt. You also have veterans Phil LaMarr (Futurama) and Grey DeLisle along with many other reputable voice actors rounding out the cast.
The soundtrack consists of retro synthpop tracks and plenty of 80s style wailing guitar solos, thanks to the efforts of the talented Australian electronic music duo, Power Glove. They even managed to license a few actual tracks from the 80s too.
As this is the future as perceived in the 80s, there's a lot of hot pink neon - everywhere. While they've definitely got the aesthetic spot on as a consequence the rest of the island is dull and dark, and altogether not that impressive. I did enjoy the cutscenes though which adopted an 80s/90s console/arcade game style.
I'm not really a Far Cry veteran. I have dabbled for an hour or two in both the first Far Cry and Far Cry 2 but I never realised that this kind of game is most fun if you're grinding away at achievements or hunting down objects to complete a collection. It's basically a game targeted at the OCD ones amongst us who have to explore 100% of a map - and if you're one of those sorts, that's great since the game will probably last you for many hours. However, if you're like me and just like to focus on the story, you'll find the game is terribly short - 5 hours short to be precise. So while I did enjoy the game, it seemed to be over way too quick. Just as well the game is priced as an expansion then hey?
Being a Ubisoft game, you have to pay Blood Dragon using UPlay - which is especially annoying if you purchased the game through Steam (hooray for running a game through two digital distribution clients!) Consequently, there's increased likelihood that you're unable to play the game (whenever Steam or UPlay goes down and it's already happened to me a couple of times with respect to UPlay). The UPlay client also crashes occasionally too.
Besides that though, no complaints about the controls.
Score – 8/10Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is a hilarious parody of 80s action films and pop culture complete with obligatory cheesy one-liners and montages with motivating 80s rock music blaring in the background. If you grew up gaming in the 80s and 90s, this game is a must buy. The only criticisms I have are that the main storyline is too short and the side quests aren't enticing enough. The cheesy one-liners also get a bit old after hearing the same ones over 100 times too!
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is available from these retailers:
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[ LINK: Official Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon website ]