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Far Cry goes commando with Blood Dragon
May 21, 2013
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Schwarzenegger. Stallone. Weathers. Watching these action movie legends violently defeat bad guys while spewing endless one-liners onscreen in the 80's amounted to some of the biggest thrills a young kid could possibly imagine. In the distant future of 2007, Ubisoft has given gamers who grew up with those films the chance to play out every action movie cliché imaginable with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Granted, the majority of first person shooters these days have their fair share of clichés, but Blood Dragon does it all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It revels in its cheesiness, all while using a cybernetically-enhanced robotic finger to poke fun at action genre tropes that are rampant in both movies and video games alike.
The game starts off showing the Toronto skyline as it gets nuked to oblivion, along with the rest of the world. Following this apocalypse, the player takes control of Rex "Power" Fury, an elite Mark IV Cyber Commando who is tasked with bringing peace back to Earth, while attempting to quash another global catastrophe by stopping an agent who has gone rogue.
Yeah, like we said, Blood Dragon is chalk-full of clichés. But it all works to make one of the funniest games in recent memory.
Blood Dragon may be based around the same engine used for 2012's critically-acclaimed Far Cry 3, but it gets a personality all its own thanks to its neon-drenched environments, insane list of wildlife ("devil goat," "mutated cassowary," and the titular blood dragons just to name a few), and cyber-everything.
Gameplay is, admittedly, very similar to Far Cry 3. Players can choose all-out warfare using every weapon in their arsenal (including the quad-barrel shotgun and devastating Killstar), stealth tactics with the help of silenced pistols and bows, or a combination of the two.
The game takes place on an unnamed island, and the player has the option to go through all seven campaign chapters at his or her leisure, as there are several side objectives to complete. While Blood Dragon isn't nearly as big an open world game as Far Cry 3 proper, you'll still have the chance to liberate enemy-controlled garrisons, find hidden objects such as VHS tapes, save kidnapped scientists, and hunt down wildlife using specific weapons.
And while these are all interesting things to do for the first few hours of the game, they eventually become not just repetitive, but quite easy to complete as you power up Rex. It can be fun attempting to liberate a garrison using only stealth, but why do that when you can mow down the few enemies inside using a chain gun? Special maps that show the position of all hidden objects, meanwhile, can be bought for a small price, eliminating another type of challenge from the game world.
There is never a shortage of money, nor is it difficult finding a vending machine at which to buy health, armor, or ammo.
This all makes it abundantly clear that the focus of Blood Dragon wasn't to create a game that will test your abilities as a gamer. As mentioned earlier, this game is an excuse to enjoy that time several decades ago when you could watch Rambo or the Terminator mow down wave after wave of bad guys using weapons that never seemed to require reloading. While you do need to reload your weapons in Blood Dragon, even that is done with a certain amount of hilarity - seeing Rex literally underhand shells into his shotgun is worth more than a chuckle or two.
And really, it's the countless 80's-era references and the script itself that keep the game from dragging on. The opening tutorial is laugh-out-loud funny, while the training montage just before Rex takes on the game's main antagonist is worthy of any action movie released in the late 20th century.
There's all kinds of potty-mouthed humour that proves this game isn't for youngsters, but for the mature audience - or more accurately, the immature audience that's legally allowed to buy mature-rated games - it makes it all the more fun to play through, just to see or hear what will happen next. I particularly enjoyed discovering that you can give the finger with your robotic arm at any time with the click of the left analog stick.
There's not much more to do in Blood Dragon beyond what's already been mentioned. Levelling up is as basic as it comes, and although you top out at level 30, you'll be close to an unstoppable killing machine well before that, and certainly by the time you earn the game's final weapon. There are leaderboards that rank you based on overall points, but don't be surprised if you forget they're there completely.
Blood Dragon is as one-dimensional as the movies it shamelessly copies. While those films were typically over within an hour-and-a-half tops, Ubisoft Montreal had to put something together that stays compelling for several hours beyond that. It certainly has its moments after the 90-minute mark, but the whole package does begin to noticeably wear thin sooner rather than later, just like an overused VHS tape.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
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