Saturday, 9 November 2013

2013 - Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

What is Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon?

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is a Far Cry 3 expandalone (God why does this word exist?) which means it's an expansion pack for Far Cry 3 and reuses its assets to create a different game, however you do not need to buy Far Cry 3 for the game to work. At its roots, Blood Dragon is Far Cry 3 all over again. You shoot bad dudes, loot their bodies, do missions and side quests, level up and upgrade your weapons with various attachments. But the game is actually more than that. They changed the entire demographic from teenagers who like open-world RPG shooters to people who were born in the 70s and remember all the cool and cheesy 80s and 90s sci-fi with all the lasers and bad jokes and puns (like seriously who the hell thought "knife to meet you" was funny?) to bring out the nostalgia about all those sci-fi shows. As a result, the game is chock-full of references. In fact I think even the jumping is a reference to Deus Ex Human Revolution's leg augment which allows you to jump 9 feet in the air. There are countless other references to things like Terminator, Star Wars and a lot of others I can't think of right now. The game is very dumb too and offers countless stupid jokes and laughs, even the loading hints are funny. They're not even hints to some extent.


Gameplay in Blood Dragon is identical to Far Cry 3, with some minor movement changes and weapon modifications. For one thing, you move extremely quickly while sprinting, at superhuman speed which almost makes cars a liability unless they have a mounted gun on them (ie. a laser minigun with no overheating penalty) and you can jump very high too, high enough to make effective use of the overhead takedown which originally was meant to be done while jumping off of something onto people, making it easy to kill individual targets even if they've seen you so you can't do the regular takedown. The game still focuses on main story missions, side missions which are either kill someone/thing or rescue a hostage, finding collectibles and liberating outposts (garrisons). The collectibles aren't mandatory but they do unlock various gun upgrades so they are important, and you can buy 25% of the map for $500 when you liberate a garrison in that quadrant which reveals all the collectibles in that corner, making it easier if you're not determined to find them by yourself and you just want them for the upgrades. There are a lot of them though so it'll take you a while, but that's a good thing. Trust me. The side missions are fun the first few times you do them, but they can get kind of repetitive and tedious after a while, as there are usually around 2 per garrison and there are a lot of them. The kill things missions actually involve two different types: kill a specific special animal just like the original Far Cry 3 which looks different to other ones, and the other kind is to kill a specific "elite" guard, which is the same as those missions which you kill a commando with a knife, except you don't have to use a knife this time. The rescue missions tend to focus on stealth, though it is not vital, however it makes it a whole lot easier. There are some guards set around the place guarding a hostage, and you have to kill the guards without being seen, or they kill the hostage. However, it is not instant failure if you are caught, for if you are caught, they will just shoot him until he dies, giving you the chance to kill them while they are distracted, but he can't take many shots so you have to be fast. The hostage is always a scientist, and so is every other ally that isn't a major character, so everyone looks the same, which can get kind of weird at times, but they have those Star Trek eye glasses and gas masks on so it's not entirely weird. It's understandable that the enemies all look the same as they are "reanimated cyber soldiers" which are dead people turned into cyborgs, and they all have helmets on so you can't see their faces anyway. The heavy minigun carrying guard is a blatant reference to Robocop though, with the distinctive helmet. The main story missions however, is where the game really gets into its stride, as these are the most insane and funny, and actually involve doing something other than rescuing people or killing things. I won't spoil anything, but they are every bit as enjoyable as they are insane, and they're pretty insane, with the first mission being a turret segment, however it's a genuinely fun turret segment because you're attacking a garrison for no apparent reason with a laser minigun listening to Long Tall Sally and everything is exploding and lasers are flying everywhere, making for a pretty crazy turret segment start. People who hated the crafting system in Far Cry 3 will be overjoyed as the entire crafting system has been eradicated and replaced with buying stuff. Also the skills system is out the window and you just unlock specific stuff at a specific level, disallowing character builds.


Graphics in Blood Dragon are exactly identical to the original Far Cry 3, which are absolutely beautiful, however the game is permanently at night so it's always dark and the lighting was probably what made the game look exceptionally good. But the graphical fidelity looks almost the same on low as it does on ultra, except the performance is much higher, so the engine is pretty good. I can't currently get any screenshots, but the laser effects are pretty and that's what's important.


The music in Blood Dragon is exactly what you would expect from a 90s throwback, with all the oldschool electronic music which may sound cheesy to people who didn't grow up around that time, but brings back nostalgic memories in people who did. Overall the music is great across the board, but that of course is subject to taste. You can listen to the entire soundtrack in this video.

What is missing from that soundtrack is Long Tall Sally, but you can easily find that on Youtube somewhere.


In conclusion, if you really enjoyed Far Cry 3 but you're tired of it and you want more but different, Blood Dragon is an excellent game to pick up and cheaply, only £11.99/$14.99 on Steam and other places like Uplay. However even if you buy it on Steam, they still force you to use Uplay, just like the original Far Cry 3. You do get to unlock some of the tracks in the soundtrack through doing some of the achievements though, which is pretty cool. But even if you didn't play Far Cry 3 or even enjoy it, but you enjoyed 90s sci-fi, you'll definitely enjoy Blood Dragon. I highly recommend buying it if you like either Far Cry or 90s sci-fi.

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