Let’s Talk Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Quite the mouthful. And a bit on the nose, don’t you think? Why not just Far Cry: Blood Dragon? Blood for the Blood Dragon?
Developed as a stand-alone expansion to Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon is not a very large, or long game. I mean, the island is big enough, but it doesn’t have the largest amount of content. Then again, I’ve never actually played Far Cry 3, so I can’t say how it compares, I’ve just gotten the impression it’s a significantly longer, meatier experience. So why did I buy Blood Dragon, but skipped Far Cry 3? Because Blood Dragon looked absolutely brilliant.
See, I was born in 1983, and most of my childhood and teen memories are from the late 80s and the 90s. And this thing is just a love letter to all the glorious cheese that ran rampant in those days. It’s a passion project. Inherently silly by design, and loving every second of its own daftness.
There are certainly many valid criticisms to be leveled at the game. 95% of it is just reskins of Far Cry 3 assets. The final 5% are the Blood Dragons and the low-res cutscenes. The story is complete cheese. There are things that feel both lazy and disappointing. The colour scheme seems designed to damage your eyes.
But at the bottom line… I don’t really care. I loved this game. It felt like it was exactly what it intended to be. And it was exactly what I wanted it to be, and more.
It does honestly feel like a budget title though, as strange as that might be to say. It’s like… the developers pitched the idea to Ubisoft, who said ‘okay’, but would only give them a very limited budget to pull it off. I assume that’s why the Blood Dragons are the only really new creature. Why there’s only a handful of guns. Why it’s all so short. Why a lot of stuff just happens in cutscenes.
And yet in spite of all these limitations, they created this little thing that I adore. It’s just so earnest in its intent, and pulls it off so magically. They wanted a game that feels like every cheesy sci-fi and action film of the 80s and early 90s, and they made just that.
That’s not to say it’s all form over function. The gameplay works just fine. As you are now a cyborg, you can sprint all over the place like a loon, never worrying about stamina. You have cyber-lungs that let you breathe underwater. You don’t take fall damage. And you level up to get even more cool abilities.
And the shooting is quite fun, especially after you have the sniper with explosive rounds, and the minigun. And there’s a bow, because why not. They just made it look like it came from Tron to make it fit the aesthetic.
And combat can get surprisingly hectic, since the enemies are more accurate than I expected. I often had to find a safe place to hide so I could perform emergency repairs before popping back out to take some more shots and see if I was getting flanked.
And then there are the Blood Dragons themselves.
These things are terribly dangerous, and best avoided. On the upside they have very poor eyesight. There’s nothing wrong with their hearing though, and they have fairly good noses. More than once I would cram myself into a corner and just mutter to myself “please don’t find me, please don’t find me”.
You can also use them to your own advantage though. If you want to claim an outpost, you can just disable the shields, and use a bit of bait to lure a dragon in. More likely than not, the base personnel will freak out and try to fight it, only to get slaughtered.
So, yes. I had fun with it. I liked that it wasn’t afraid to be dumb, and that it didn’t want to stand in the way of you having a bit of fun. On any trek across the island, something is pretty much bound to occur. And trying to sprint through a Blood Dragon’s turf, hoping you’re far enough away, only to notice it changing colour, always has a certain thrill to it.
Though above it all the daft story just felt… perfect. I am happy this was made. Mission accomplished.