At first, Blood Dragon was deemed an April fools joke when it was announced on April 1, 2013. The game’s mere existence seemed too good to be true. The fact is, it’s real, alive and its veins are coursing with neon love juice. It’s been a long time coming. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the 80s love letter that finally hit the nail on the head.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon takes place in the year 2007 after the Vietnam II War. The apocalypse has had an apocalypse and robots have taken over the world. The player takes control of a million-dollar, cyborg super-soldier named Sergeant Rex Colt, who has to go with his best friend and ally Spider to an unnamed island and investigate the whereabouts of the rogue Commander Sloan. After Sloan murders Spider, Rex decides to go on an all-out vengeance war in honor of his fallen comrade and America.
The story consists of seven missions and will last you several hours. It’s a quick little game, but is worth every second. There are also three types of side missions: hostage rescues, animal bounties and base capturing. Each side mission unlocks a new gun attachment for the player to purchase in the game’s shop. The side missions become a little repetitive after a while, but are fun in moderation.
The best part about Blood Dragon is that almost every moment of its story is over-the-top and hilarious. Rex Colt is an A-class American hero who loves his country, spouts tons of one-liners and thinks that drugs are for losers. The enemies are robots in baggy, flashy, futuristic space clothing that wear motorcycle helmets, and the scientists are called nerds.
Just like in Retro City Rampage, Blood Dragon will be flinging references at you from every angle possible, and they will cause many players to experience some intense nostalgia. Some are subtle, while others will catch your attention the minute they hit the screen. A good example of an in-game 80s movie reference would be Colt’s A.J.M. 9 handgun, which highly resembles Robocop’s Auto 9.
Colt has eight main weapons to choose from. The best part about Blood Dragon’s weapons is that each one is balanced pretty nicely, and they are all fun to use. Each weapon has its own unique reload animation. My favorite reload animation is from the Galleria 1991 shotgun. Colt will open up the shotgun’s one barreled chamber, flick the rounds up in the air with his thumb, and the rounds will magically land in the chamber.
Killing enemies is a blast, but they can, sometimes, come off as ditsy. The player will be firing at an enemy, the A.I. will forget the player is there and it will go back into cover. Other times, the A.I. will freeze when Colt is in the middle of a reload animation. Although the A.I. is kind of disappointing, they are still really fun to kill and the gameplay is addicting.
The biggest disappointment of Blood Dragon is the blood dragons. It seems as if they exist only so the game’s title could make sense. During my first encounter with them, they seemed intimidating, but after two more confrontations, they came off as boring and dull. Sure, they can shoot lasers out of their eyes, but that is about the extent of their power.
Graphically, Blood Dragon looks a lot like Tron, every good 80s action flick, and Far Cry 3 mashed together and it works. Its neon colors are aesthetically pleasing, and provide the player with an 80s atmosphere that no first person shooter has taken on before. The lightning-filled red sky and burning city in the background were cool to look at.
Some of the aspects in Blood Dragon feel very similar to Far Cry 3. The vehicles and animals are all the same. The jeep, hang glider, jet ski and boat from the original Far cry 3 were all included, but there are no new vehicles to play around with.
The animals have no purpose in this iteration of Far Cry 3. Sure, they are used in the hunting missions, but in the original Far Cry 3, the animals’ skins were used to build bigger pouches and upgrade weapons. In Blood Dragon, they are kind of useless.
The sound is the best part of Blood Dragon. The soundtrack, which was produced by Power Glove, is excellent in establishing that 80s vibe with its rocking 80s guitar licks and smoky sound. The game’s Main Menu theme sounds like it came from the original Terminator. Michael Biehn’s voice acting is cheesy, but in the best kind of way. Without the sound, Blood Dragon would have felt like a crippled Far Cry 3 knockoff.
There are a few collectibles in Blood Dragon. The player can collect funny, readable VHS tapes, scientific diary entries from Dr. Carlyle and television sets. After everything is collected and all of the side missions are complete, there is not much left to do in the world of Blood Dragon. The game is still really fun to come back to every once and a while.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an excellent title. It’s charming, action packed and straight to the point. Its only downside was that it was too short, and there were not enough activities to participate in. Hopefully, next time, Sgt. Colt will return in a full-length action feature, so the world can truly bask in his greatness.