Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is everything the original Far Cry 3’s writer, Jeffrey Yohalem, wanted his game to be. The only difference is, this time, the satire is… slightly less subtle. Slightly. And that’s where the game shines with the bright neon hue that only a Mark IV Cyber Commando can emit.
In the first few minutes of starting up the game, we’re introduced to ‘Space,’ ‘Earth,’ and Toronto getting nuked during the second Vietnam war, all in a super retro 8 bit cut scene.
If Power Glove’s Terminator/Tron-esque music, or the game’s VHS tracking bar instead of a loading screen didn’t clue you in for what you were in for, then the extremely minimalistic 16 bit cut scenes complete with Michael Biehn voicing the role of Rex ‘Power’ Colt, who is half man, half cyborg, but all cyber commando, should have made it blatantly obvious as to the kind of ride this was going to be: Awesome.
I find it interesting that Blood Dragon starts off where Far Cry 3 left off, on a helicopter minigun sequence. Only this time, the minigun shoots lasers.
It amazes me that I’ve never made the connection before, but 80’s action films and video games have in common. As Rex ‘Power’ Colt once put it, “Get the girl, kill the baddies, save the world.”
What a perfect summary of just about every 80’s action flick and first person shooter. But that’s not where the similarities end, as the game progresses, and the parody continues, Blood Dragon shows us just how alike the modern shooter is, to the cinematic experiences of the 80’s.
Terrible puns and cheesy one-liners never felt so fitting, as they have in first person shooter format, while setting the world on fire with explosive shotgun rounds, to the soundtrack of a retro synthesizer extravaganza.
The most fascinating thing about this game, is the quality in which it was made. Most parodies in any medium, are usually of low quality, both in production value, and the seriousness in which it is crafted.
The original sound track for this game, is absolutely incredible, and could have been its entirely own thing and would have still been just as good. This, by the way, is coming from someone who isn’t much of a fan of the genre in which the music resides.
The voice acting, however, is pure genius. Everyone seems to understand what the game is trying to achieve, and nails the tone with a resounding perfection. Michael Biehn‘s dialogue and delivery is there to mimic and sympathize with the player.
Any WTF moment the player might have, Michael Biehn is right there with you, delivering the line as if he was sitting right next to you, playing the game himself.
What makes this all the more impressive, is that Michael Biehn, according to recent interviews, is not a gamer and has no understanding of games or the culture surrounding it. So, for him to have nailed this performance so accurately, is a source of wonder and amazement for me.
It’s hard to explain how pitch perfect the writing is in this game, for it defies any rational explanation. The tone of the game is serious, yet somehow manages to parody conventional gaming tropes that we’ve been seemingly ignoring and or accepting, for as long as I can remember.
For some reason, with the backdrop of an 80’s cinematic adventure, which I suppose most people have labeled as cheesy, the exploits and conventions of first person shooters become so obvious.
I had one particularly clairvoyant moment, where I knew exactly what would happen, before it happened, but because of the dialogue and Michael Beihn’s delivery of, “I hope the new C-4000 is as good as the old C-400… $@#!,”
I finally recognized that games have been constantly rehashing the same story and game mechanics, to the point where I can subconsciously predict what’s going to happen, before the mission even begins.
After that, I started noticing some of the more subtler parodies. Like, for example, how the stealth weapon is outrageously covered in neon lights, to the point where it’s so bright, that there is no conceivable way that you could ever move around without getting instantly spotted from several hundred yards away.
Yet, in this game, you could use said weapon to take out an entire enemy outpost, without ever getting spotted. Realism!
Honestly, I could go on (seemingly) endlessly, pointing out these subtle, and not so subtle parodies of the gaming culture. However, since that’s pretty much the core of the game, I would feel very irresponsible, to spoil anymore of the fun that awaits you in Blood Dragon.
Keep in mind that, gameplay wise, it’s a micro condensed version of Far Cry 3, the island is smaller, there are less Outposts, but the amount of weapons remains relatively similar, while giving you access to them at a much quicker pace, allowing the carnage to flow all the more sooner. Which is a good thing, obviously.
At the end of the day, though, it is of my opinion that good satire offers a solution, or an alternative, otherwise it is simply self indulgent. As far as I can tell, Blood Dragon offers neither. In fact, I can’t even begin to tell if they even dislike these gaming tropes.
Actually, the more I think about it, it seems as if the makers of this game love the over the top nonsense that occurs in video games and their b-movie counterparts. By the end of this review, I’m still not certain if this game is more of a love letter, or a parody. Either way, I love it. Whatever the hell it is.
You can pretty much defer to my Far Cry 3 review on this one, as it’s pretty much the same game, featuring re-skinned versions of the weapons. My only real problem with the gameplay, was that it took way too long to get the attachments you really wanted, considering how short the actual game is.
I really loved the graphical style of this game, intentionally cheesy but tastefully done is the name of the game. Oh man, those cut scene… those cut scenes.
No surprise here, I pretty much spent the entire review admiring the voice acting and sound track. Oh, and the cheesy laser sounds are irresistible, as well.
This is one of the few games, where the final product, was exactly what was intended. From the Tron inspired menu screen, to the tracking VHS bar, to the well crafted writing and directing, this game gives you the exact experience that it wanted you to have.
A standalone expansion for Far Cry 3, that costs only $15, and gives a better single player experience than the original, is what I would call a great deal. But without any form of multiplayer, there is a distinct lack of reasons to go back to the game, once you finish the 8 hour single player experience. Perhaps, though, like any good comedic movie, you’ll revisit it just for the humor, on a semi-annual basis.
I have a friend who can only play this game in 10 minute increments, on a weekly basis, because he can’t get through 10 minutes of the game, without experiencing something so hilarious, that it makes his entire week. I think an experience like that, is deserving of a 9/10.