Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 3 Review.
Blood Dragons aren't the only unique thing in this Far Cry 3 expansion (of sorts). Developed independently at Ubisoft, Blood Dragon is an interesting new take on the idea of addition content for an established game, because whilst Blood Dragon base's itself off the core mechanics of Ubisoft's popular Island shooter, in most other ways it's a very different beast. It's an interesting experiment if nothing else and something I'd like to see other developers consider in the future, and the fact that you don't require the Far Cry 3 base game to play is a smart move on Ubisoft's part.
You are Sergeant Rex "Power" Cult, placed in the retro dystopian future of the year 2007. As you can most probably imagine, this makes Blood Dragon a considerably different looking game cosmetically, and for the most part that works in it's favor to appear both eye catching and at times memorable. Set on a smaller land mass to that of the base game, Blood Dragon borrows heavily from the gameplay mechanics of Far Cry 3. You'll still be scoping out areas to locate enemies before venturing down guns blazing or stealthily taking down evil dudes with the help of your trusty 20-sided dice (which replaces the rock) for distraction. You're still freeing up occupied bases, though this time with the help of some vicious blood dragons, who can be both a blessing and a curse in combat, as they're just as likely to help you clear out enemies as they are to blast red powerful killer lasers at your face. So, Blood Dragon certainly plays like Far Cry 3, but visually it's in a whole different timeline, literally.
Bright neon lights scatter the entirety of the land mass of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It's certainly striking to the eye though visually it can become a little disorientating as a great deal of the world looks a little identical and whilst I'm all for neon clad clothing (who isn't), they do tend to go overboard. That said, there's something truly frightening about seeing a shark with menacing neon eyes and teeth swimming towards you, who wouldn't be scared by that. Enemies don't vary a great deal as Rex Cult attempts to bring down Sloan, a former Cyber Commando gone rogue. You still have a variety of enemy types, some of which offer a decent if not impossible challenge and there's a fun selection of weaponry to go killing dudes with, many of which can be upgraded by taking on side missions unlocked via the liberation of enemy bases. On that note, there's only really two side activities to take part in, saving scientists who are captured by Sloan's troops and killing creatures with a specific weapon. After the liberation of the thirteen bases, you can imagine that these side activities get repetitive rather fast.
Still, the combat is as solid and as entertaining as it was in Far Cry 3 and I personally became attached to the rather unstealthy looking blue neon bow when taking on missions that required me to be a little more careful and a little less guns-a-blazing. As previously mentioned, on the standard difficulty Blood Dragon is somewhat of a pushover, even when the enemy calls in reinforcements, making the use of stealthy tactics less important. Towards the end I simply found myself going into bases without stealth in mind as I cleared the bases one by one. Blood Dragon isn't a particularly long game either, though I might argue that it's last as long as it needs to. The VHS 80's and 90's era humor is pulled off well for the most part and there are some great lines scattered throughout. I was especially enamored with the cartoon cut-scenes that tell most of blood Dragon's story, which feature some of the games most amusing moments.
Blood Dragon features the voice work of the one and only Michael Biehn to, whose gruff voice fits well with the Rex Cult character, though some of the dialogue is a little to 'please just read this of the page Michael' and comes off a little dry. Though the vast majority of voice work is solid enough. Worthy of mention is Blood Dragons great soundtrack with some memorable tracks by Power Glove and there's even some great 80's like tunes here and there. The soundtrack offers an interesting mix of the typical 80's/90's action cartoons and some mellow almost Blade Runner light pieces and they're all pretty fantastic, helping sell this dystopian world.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an interesting experiment, though I doubt the developers would call it that. It's interesting because it's an alternative take on gameplay fundamentals that are familiar to us from other shooters and of course the Far Cry 3 base game. The idea of creating alternative universes based around a specific game engine and mechanics excites me and I'd like to see other developers take note. That said Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon isn't exactly content filled and what is to be found within tends to get repetitive quickly, even within the seven or eight hours it took to complete the liberation of all bases and finish off the main story line (though I didn't collect all collectibles scattered throughout the island). However there's still a great shooter here and it plays and sounds great, if you found yourself turned off by specific issues with Far Cry 3 than Blood Dragon might offer an experience uniquely different enough to make it worth you time to check out.