Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review — Biehn There, Gunned That

 

Unfortunate, then, that these side-quests — either hostage rescues or bounty hunting missions — are largely by the numbers. For all its zany visuals and writing, the gameplay and encounter design in Blood Dragon are extremely conventional, and that’s disappointing. The different types of cyborg enemies may look awesome, but they’re all archetypes you’ve fought a hundred times before: the crazy charger with the shotgun; the big, armored guy with the flamethrower (hint: shoot him in the back). Player weapons have silly names but few distinctive qualities — even the unlockable attachments are boring and familiar. Mission objectives largely consist of “infiltrate this,” “destroy this,” or “kill everyone inside this.”


If you gave Michael Mann Tony Montana’s desktop pile of cocaine and asked him to direct a gun battle inside a rave inside the the end of the world, it might look a little like Blood Dragon.


The longer you play the game, the more you realize that the world of Blood Dragon goes only skin-deep. Vehicles ought to be a priority in any game based on the tropes of ’80s action movies, but they’re barely changed from Far Cry 3. Chrome sharks are cool, but they’re also just a quick-and-dirty re-skin of regular sharks from the original game. Exotic animals that made sense on Far Cry 3′s Malaysian island, such as cassowaries, appear here in slapdash, “mutant” form.

There’s only one strong example of the game’s over-the-top sensibilities working in tandem with the gameplay: the Blood Dragons themselves. These huge neon beasts have poor vision but excellent smell, and they hunger for the “cyberhearts” of dead enemies. Clever players will sneak about when Dragons are present, leaving a breadcrumb trail of cyberhearts and siccing the beasts onto hapless enemy troops whenever possible. If only this kind of design had proved the rule, and not the exception.

For $14.99, customers may regard these complaints as minor problems. Blood Dragon’s distinctive concept provides some lively visuals and some funny jokes. But in its rush to cash in on the popularity of Far Cry 3 and the popularity of ’80s nostalgia in gaming in a general (and after Hotline: Miami in particular), Ubisoft released a game that lacks the cohesion between tone, art direction, and gameplay required to make it truly memorable. It’s a good gimmick — perhaps at that price point, a great one — but it’s still a gimmick.

Pros:

  • Excellent soundtrack by Australian producers Power Glove
  • Free-wheeling Far Cry 3 core gameplay holds up fairly well
  • Art direction is excellent
  • Some very funny moments

Cons:

  • Changes from the original game are largely cosmetic
  • Creativity in presentation isn’t matched by creativity in weapon, enemy, or encounter design
  • Many aspects of the game, meant to be stupid funny, are just stupid

Final Score: 68/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Read more of Ben Richardson’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @B_C_Richardson and @gamefrontcom.

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4 Comments on Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review — Biehn There, Gunned That

Josh

On May 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Someone has an opinion i don’t like.
I just hope he’s not getting paid.

PapaFrancis

On May 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Are you kidding me? This guy gives it a 68/100? I second what Josh said… I sure hope he isn’t being paid to write this review, because it is complete garbage… finally a company dares to go outside the mainstream idea of what a FPS should be and it’s ‘too close to Far Cry 3?’ IT’S 15$ RETAIL!!!! If it were 60$ I’d understand the criticisms, but for 15$?? This is the most amazing game I’ve played in a long time. It’s everything anyone who’s a fan of Blade Runner / Puns / Wit could ever ask for in a video game. The only down side (Which I’m not sure he even mentioned?!! is that it uses Ubiplay, which is BS… but I’m willing to live with it for such an amazing game.)

David

On May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

Is it just me or does this reviewer just not get it? Must have been born in the late 90s.

David

On May 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

Seems to me that someone just didn’t get the concept. Must have been born in the late nineties.