Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Now with Added Cyber)

Imagine the distant future of the year 2007. The second Vietnam War has ended with a scorched earth policy. America has nuked Canada to end the war, and now the cleanup has begun. The post-war economy is boom-bust. Why use a VHS when a disc can hold twice as much data? Why send a letter when an e-mail can make its way halfway across the world in less than 30 minutes? Why recruit soldiers when you can just resurrect the ones who died in the field? You play as Sergeant Rex Power Colt, a soldier in the second Vietnam War who died serving his country and has come back as a Mark IV Cyber-Commando. You’ve been remade; better, faster, stronger, more neon. And you serve Lady Liberty with a drug-free attitude, dated one-liners, and 80s ultraviolence on an island inhabited by cyber-creatures, fighting cyber-commandos as you track down the rogue Colonel Sloan, who has discovered the blood of cyber-dragons on the island supercharges his cybernetic implants while reducing regular humans to a zombie-like state that he intends to utilize for WORLD DOMINATION, mwahahaa! Did I mention the word cyber yet?

Built on the Far Cry 3 engine, and only costing 15 bucks to play standalone, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is one of the most entertaining and refreshing games to come down the pipe in a long time. The play style is still basically Far Cry 3. You’ve got to liberate outposts, hunt specific creatures, find all sorts of hidden extras, kill enemies via stealth or a ridiculous array of weaponry, and work to upgrade that weaponry frequently. The one major addition is the blood dragons, ostensibly what happened when someone looked around Far Cry 3 landscapes and said, “Where the hell is the T-Rex?” You avoid them, kill them with great effort, or lure them to attack your enemies in the logical extension of what you did in Far Cry 3 with tigers and dogs. If only it worked a bit better. In truth, using the blood dragons as a weapon is more fiddly than it should be, and often you’re faced with more work mopping up the rest of the synthesized-voice biker-helmeted baddies while trying not to get eaten than you would be if you’d decided just to do the entire job naked on your lonesome.

This is all while stuck in an homage to ultraviolent dystopian ’80s cyberpunk culture. Your voice actor is Michael Biehn from Terminator and Aliens. You knock out one-liners like Arnold. Things are designated as futuristic by sheer dint of being neon. Think of every bad science fiction film from the ’80s and you’re bound to find a reference to it somewhere here. And it draws from a sufficiently wide array of pop culture to parody that you don’t have to be a huge ’80s aficionado to still get the joke. The one downside is that there aren’t that many additions beyond what Far Cry 3 gave you. You still either run or use Jeeps to get around, you don’t hack computers or make use of ambient technology aside from your cyber-eye, which functions identically to your targeting camera from the first game. I think the one gaping hole we’re looking at here is that they adhered to the notion of parody so tightly that they failed to add what would logically be found in futuristic environments: jetpacks. Instead, what you get is alot of reskinned creatures, skies, backgrounds, and enemies.

All that being said, time to let the fanboy out. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for: When people from my generation who sat glued to the TV watching Transformers and GI Joe every Saturday morning finally came into power and let their warped, Frankensteinian creations loose to shamble across the market, upturning standards and parodying the norms of a childhood that was far from normal. THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE!!!

 

Discover colors never meant to be seen without a black light.

Discover colors never meant to be seen without a black light.


Ok, back. I’ve had my meds and am ready to continue, if only the pretty blue sparkles would stop moving my fingers across the keyboard.

The psychology of gaming states that, in order for a game to be entertaining, it must establish a difficulty level which increases with roughly the same speed as the increase in the player’s ability. That way there’s an ongoing challenge at all times. And, it follows the mindset that a person must start out at the bottom in order to work their way to the top. Far Cry 3 epitomized this by letting you customize your traits as you leveled, unlocking new weapons with each outpost you liberated, and gave you more options with each exotic animal you killed for parts. Somehow, and still in ’80s action style, Sergeant Rex Power Colt starts out pretty much an unstoppable badass, and he only becomes more so as the game progresses.

Sure, you can unlock weapon upgrades as you go, as well as new abilities, but you don’t need them if you want to blow through the main quest on your first try. The escape from realism is likewise a welcome change of pace from the nitty-gritty minutiae of FPS survival. You can run without tiring, for example. You can jump higher. You don’t take falling damage, ever. And you don’t run out of air when swimming. Why? Because you’re freaking Sergeant Rex Power Colt, that’s why!

 

Think Cry meets Terminator meets Jurassic Park

Think Cry meets Terminator meets Jurassic Park

This game proves that sometimes a break from even the standard psychology of gaming can be fun, simply because it breaks the supposed rules of how we’re hardwired to enjoy a game. And I find that message to be a very heartening one. We’re thinking outside the box here, not limited by previous market data or examples of what has gone before. Some people sat down and conceived of Blood Dragon because they thought it would be badass. And because they genuinely believed it is, it was.

Unlike the average sandbox shooter, you can obtain full completion on Blood Dragon in as little as fifteen hours. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. In sandbox shooters such as Just Cause 2, it’s very possible to eventually reach a point of burnout where you look around at the several thousand square kilometer landscape and go, “This is just. too. freaking. much!”

For fifteen dollars, you get a game that you can pick up, play for a bit, set down, and then be able to pick right back up where you left off without wondering, “Where the heck am I?” It’s small. It’s compact. It’s neat. It’s great for gamers without a lot of time on their hands. And I think it could be the start of a great new trend. Smaller games for lower prices.
We’ll be looking forward to see if the concept catches on.

Rating:8.5/10
Pros:Hilarious parody,
Fun action,
Multiple ways of handling a given situation
Cons:Basically just Far Cry 3 with a different face,
Blood dragons are more trouble than they’re worth
Game producer's website:Ubisoft
Official website:Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Game available at:

About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
Other posts by

John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

Leave a Reply