Yeah, sure, Far Cry 3’s crazy drugbender island adventure was great, but where were the lasers? Blood Dragon answers this burning question.
Blood Dragon is a fantastic homage to the campy sci-fi of the 80s and 90s, when the future was a neon apocalypse filled with robots and lasers. It’s overflowing with jokes and references spanning videogames, movies, and television. I’d love to say more, but half the fun of the jokes is in the surprise of their discovery, and having them all explained beforehand seems unlikely to enhance that experience.
Graphics, voice acting, and writing are all the top quality I’ve come to expect from Ubisoft. There are even a few recognizable voices on the cast (Michael Biehn)! Hilariously, the cyborg enemies of the game even look like they’re wearing motorcycle helmets and football padding, no doubt a nod to many low-budget evil army uniforms.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Sure, you’ve said there are lasers, but are there enough lasers?” While you can never have enough lasers, I honestly think the developers would be hard pressed to add more. (Maybe if they replaced all the dialogue with laser sounds, or if the main character was a laser?) It doesn’t stop there either: every enemy base is well stocked with the traditional inexplicable exploding barrels and fuel tanks, and a healthy supply of expendable, suicidal infantry. What more could a cybercommando ask for?
At its core, the gameplay in Blood Dragon is very similar to that of Far Cry 3: it’s an FPS with RPG elements, with the option to play guns blazing or to take a more subtle approach. Blood Dragon’s game world is smaller than the original’s, so the game isn’t as long, but there are more special mission areas. The story missions definitely add some variety and interesting challenges to the experience.
The weapon selection is greatly reduced, but those that are left have a wide variety of upgrades, each of which significantly modify performance. My personal favourite is the explosive rounds modification for the sniper rifle. Each bullet is like a rocket when it hits, and well placed shots can take out vehicles and groups of enemies. Many other upgrades have similarly dramatic effects, and by the end of the game, you end up with a crazy arsenal of weapons.
The game’s controls are tight and responsive, and it doesn’t look or feel like a console port. (Which after playing Resident Evil 6 is hugely appreciated.)
Overall, I found that Blood Dragon was much easier than Far Cry 3, probably due to the fact that the character is much more powerful, and only gets stronger as the game progresses. This isn’t a bad thing, and completely fits with the game’s over-the-top style. In a longer game it might become a bit tedious without more of a challenge, but with the game’s length being what it is, tearing through the waves of enemies is great fun.
Blood Dragon is easily the best game I’ve played in a while. Great action, great humour, great fun. Hard to beat that for $15, and there’s at least $30 worth of nostalgia in there too.