Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon PS3 Review

Publisher: Ubisoft  Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai  Genre: FPS, Stealth  Players: 1

Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360

Even though it plays very much like a Far Cry game, it’s odd that Ubisoft decided to go with the Far Cry 3 title for this spin-off game, as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon really couldn’t be any further away from the themes found in the third game in the series. Whereas Far Cry 3 had a more serious tone, Blood Dragon tells its story with its tongue firmly placed in its cheek, parodying popular 1980’s films and taking place in a retro-futuristic world.

The protagonist, Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt (voiced by Terminator and Alien’s Michael Biehn), has been rebuilt as a cybernetic super soldier, and he’s sent on a mission to investigate a colonel that has apparently gone rogue. The game throws 80s references around as if they are going out of fashion, with the likes of Robocop, Alien, Terminator, and even Rocky being some good examples. Being the type of thing you’d find on a NES or Master System as opposed to a PS3 or Xbox 360, even the cut-scenes are a delightful throwback to simpler times. There’s a cheesiness to the voice acting and lots of humour, and, with that said, this is one game that definitely doesn’t want to be taken seriously, and wants you to intentionally laugh along with it rather than at it.

The game takes place on an unnamed island in which you are let loose in, and it has a retro, futuristic look. Being a smaller scale release, however, you obviously aren’t going to be getting a playing environment that is the size of Far Cry 3’s Rook Island, but Ubisoft could have still given us something memorable. Sadly, Blood Dragon’s compact playing area isn’t all that memorable, although it does the job, and the neon colours do stand out in what would otherwise have been a dark, colourless and very bland world.

The Blood Dragons in the title are large creatures in the world that may suffer from poor eyesight, although when they do have knowledge of your whereabouts, they’ll shoot lasers out of their eyes at you, so it’s best to be well equipped when you take them on, or steer clear of them. When you are attempting to takeover enemy bases and whatnot, it’s possible to allow a Blood Dragon into the base, with chaos then ensuing.

There’s a satisfying amount of things to do on the island, and, if you are familiar with Far Cry 3 and, to a lesser extent, Far Cry 2, then you’ll feel at home with a number of things while playing Blood Dragon. In regard to side distractions, there are outposts around the island, which you are able to take control of, just as long as you are able to kill all the sentries that are stationed around them. There’s also collectibles, which includes readable diaries that add a little extra to the story, VHS tapes, and TV’s for you to find.

The game is rewarding in the way in which you earn experience points (or cyber points, as the game calls them) for pretty much everything you do, whether it’s completing one of the seven main missions or forgetting about the story for a bit and focusing your attentions elsewhere. As it normally goes, you eventually level up and earn extra health or abilities, which helps keep things feeling relatively fresh. It’s entirely linear though, with certain things being unlocked at certain levels, which may irk those who like having as much freedom with their abilities as they do when they are actually out there and roaming about in the virtual world. Through certain actions in the world, things such as new attachments for your weapons become available to buy in store, improving the capabilities of said weapons when purchased. Your shotgun can suddenly be turned into a quad-barrelled shotgun for example, and it really is quite devastating when fired at close range.

With the usual pistols, shotguns and machine guns, weapons offer few surprises, and, even though events take place in a retro-futuristic world, they certainly could have been more imaginative than what they are. There might be one or two surprises throughout the game, but I won’t be spoiling them here though.

As Rex is a super soldier, he doesn’t take damage after falling from heights, is really quick when sprinting, and using the Cyber-Eye, his ability to pinpoint the location of enemies, and then keep tabs on them, actually makes more sense than using a simple pair of binoculars as you would do in some of the other Far Cry games.

The game can once again be largely played using stealth, or, if you prefer, you can go in guns blazing and forget about any careful planning. The action is once again really quite merciless, with ducking out of gunfights being a regular occurrence and a necessary thing to do if you want to survive. When you do manage to take a breather, you can use syringes to heal large amounts of health, though if you have run out of syringes, Rex will do things such as carry out repairs on his robotic arm, remove bullets, and, rather amusingly, he sometimes even exercises his remaining hand with a grip tool. Yes, with even the tutorial and loading screens offering humour, the game is forever trying its best to amuse you with absolutely everything it does, and, even if the humour doesn’t quite hit the mark for you, you certainly can’t say that the game is lacking a sense of fun.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s lack of seriousness is one of its strongest points, but it is also a commendable, condensed version of the Far Cry series, that has managed to capture enough of the spirit and essence of a larger scale and bigger budget release. Despite all the fun that can be had, it’s just a shame that the world that the game takes place in feels a little bit soulless and that the weapons aren’t more imaginative than what they are.