Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 5/1/2013
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The Good: Fantastic music and art, wonderful sense of humor, Rex is an awesome character, dragons, the weapons
The Bad: Light on content, too much reskinned from Far Cry 3, short story, lame storyboard cut scenes
Blood Dragon is a beast all on its own. Forget everything you know about Far Cry. Blood Dragon uses Far Cry 3 as a base — a building block to lay something seriously bad ass down. You play as a cyborg named Rex who is trying to stop a man named Sloan from taking over the world. Sounds cheesy, and it is, and that’s the best part.
Right when you launch the game you will notice the awesome 80’s vibe. The loading screen looks like a VCR with a tracking bar down at the bottom. Funny little hints flash across the screen like “Sniper Rifles…close range weapons when you select the wrong gun.” Once I saw stuff like this I knew I was in for a bad ass ride. The game is short on content, let me just get that out right now. You can beat the story in about 4 hours, but there are bases to take over like in Far Cry 3. You can use cyber hearts you rip from dead bodies to lure Blood Dragons into these bases, shoot the bad guys up yourself, or go all stealth. It’s completely up to you. The dragons can hear you once you run or shoot, so stay low and use the hearts to lure them away. Other than that there are two side missions you can partake in, hostage rescues and hunting. Not exactly different from Far Cry 3, but enough to justify the small price tag.
There are only a few weapons in the whole game, but they are really awesome. The shotgun has a cool reload animation similar to The Terminator 2, and Rex rests the gun on his wrist. He pops the shells in by letting them fall into the chamber. You get a sniper rifle, a mini-gun, and an assault rifle as well as a pistol. There are various throwables, but they are all neat and you will use them all often. One thing I particularly liked was the attention to detail in the animations. When you heal he fixes his cyborg arm by welding it, fixing cables, pulling bullets out with his finger, and a few others. When you run he looks like the T-1000 with his hand completely straight and pumping his arms real fast. I just love the whole aesthetics of this game. The Tron looking art direction with neon reds and blues as well as the enemy design. It’s a fun trip back to the past when my parents showed me all the cool 80’s action movies. The first scene you are in a helicopter mowing down enemies to Little Richards “Long Tall Sally” like in Predator. The awesome just never ends.
I also can’t help but love the music. It’s stuff straight from the 80’s and fits so well, I actually listen to the soundtrack outside the game. You can tell the team was pressed for time (they only got 6 months) because a lot of the Far Cry 3 stuff is just reskinned like the hang glider, the jeeps (the only vehicle in the game), the jet skis, and even the helicopters. There’s not really much to do in the game, and once the story mode and all the bases are taken over, there’s no reason to stay. You will see everything the game has to offer in about an hour, but the ending is just bad ass. You get to ride a dragon that curses and talks while shooting lasers from his eyes and mowing down everyone with a cannon. The story mode is highly entertaining, but I was disappointed with the low quality storyboard style cut scenes. They didn’t do the game justice.
In the end, Blood Dragon is one of the best downloadable games this year and a completely pleasant surprise. Even if you don’t like Far Cry, the 80’s vibe should bring many hardcore gamers along. It’s light on content, the characters are average (except Rex), and the animations and art style are one-of-a-kind, there’s no other game out there like it. I really hope there’s a fully fledged sequel, even outside of the Far Cry 3 engine.