I’m a child of the 80s. I was born in February of 1980 so I was there for most of the decade. I love anything 80s: the music, the movies, the TV shows, the fashion, shit, I even look back on the Cold War with nostalgic fondness. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon pretty much takes everything that I remember and love about the 80s and blends it all into one hell of a fun game. I’m not a big fan of FPS games, but when one comes around that bleeds 1980s like this one, I have no choice but to buy it. It’s almost as if Ubisoft sat down in a room and went “okay…let’s make a game for Tony”. They fucking succeeded.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is essentially a non apologetically cliched 1980s action movie. The story takes place in the not too distant future…of 2007. It’s a post apocalyptic world that was brought to that point after the Soviet Union and the United States nuked the holy hell out of each other. You play as a cyborg named Sergeant Rex Power Colt (played by Kyle Reese/Corporal Hicks himself, Michael Biehn) who must stop a madman from turning the Earth’s remaining population into prehistoric monsters. Why does the bad guy want to do this? Because he’s evil of course! The story doesn’t even attempt to take itself seriously and this just adds to the insanity of the game. The entire campaign is brimming with 80s cultural references. So many in fact, that I’m sure I missed a few. The story might be cliched and corny, but that’s the whole point. This is supposed to be a brainless 80s action movie in video game form.
The art and sound design are also heavily influenced by the 80s. The cutscenes look like they came straight out of a Sega Mega Drive game. The biggest influence on the overall style of Blood Dragon was definitely the first Terminator movie. The world appears as it does through a Terminator’s eyes. When you go into your special viewing mode, it TOTALLY looks like Terminator vision. The music also sounds like it was taken from the cutting room floor of that classic movie. There are other movies referenced here too like Predator and Rambo, but The Terminator was definitely the biggest influence on Blood Dragon’s presentation.
Gameplay wise, Blood Dragon is great. I haven’t played Far Cry 3 proper, but I know that Blood Dragon is essentially a stripped down version of that title from a mechanical standpoint. You can use cover in first person (which works beautifully by the way) if you want to be strategic or you can just run and gun like a madman. The game lets you approach encounters however you like. Want to go in with all guns blazing? Blast away! Want to take a stealthier approach? Get your ninja on. This freedom kept the game from ever getting boring during the many, MANY combat encounters it throws at you.
As far as replay value goes, there’s plenty here. The campaign should take you anywhere between three to four hours to complete. You can extend your gameplay time by doing all of the side missions available. You can capture enemy strongholds and once you do, you’ll be given a chance to participate in side missions which usually reward you with weapon upgrades. You yourself get upgraded as well but you don’t have to actively do anything. Just kill a bunch of shit, level up and you’ll gain new abilities along the way. It’s a bit simple but that isn’t a problem.
I have to give Ubisoft a lot of respect for releasing a stand alone DLC like Blood Dragon. I seriously want to know how they decided to create DLC for a game, when that DLC has absolutely nothing to do with the main title. I’m not complaining because I got to play this sweet game without having to own Far Cry 3. I’m just curious to know the thought process that was behind the creation of Blood Dragon. Either way, I’m thankful that something like this exists. The developers behind Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon love the 1980s as much as I do, and I appreciate that they made me feel like they made this game just for me.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is available now on Playstation Network, Windows PC and Xbox Live Arcade.