Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is one of the most enticing downloadables of recent memory. Using the Far Cry 3 engine and title to leverage a stand-alone piece of insane content that feels much more like a full-fledged game than most downloads. In truth, the deciding factor for whether or not you should play Blood Dragon is how much you can relate to the new theme.
Blood Dragon takes a much more risky approach than most DLC’s do, both by being stand-alone and by deviating entirely from the source material. Where Far Cry 3 has colorful jungles, Blood Dragon has an oppressive post-nuclear jungle viewed through heavy scan-lines. Your new protagonist, Rex Power Colt, is a Mark IV cyber-soldier equipped with cyber vision, cyber legs, and even boasts a cybernetic arm. If it’s not obvious enough for you, Rex is everything you’d expect from a 1980’s action hero. He’s even played by Michael Biehn, who gives a pretty great “bad” performance.
The story in Blood Dragon isn’t very fleshed out. It’s good cyborg versus bad cyborg. Basically, it gives you just enough motivation to keep you going.
Luckily, the humor is much stronger and provides more than a few solid laughs without resorting to reference after reference like, say, Borderlands. The entire game is an homage to 80’s future greats like Demolition Man without being pandering. That’s not to say that all the jokes hit. They don’t. Most of the game is funny, but occasionally it’s a bit too knowing. When the game is playing it straight, the laughs are fairly consistent, but as soon as the game gives you a wink and a nod, a lot of the humor is sucked out of the moment. The loading screen are particularly egregious about it.
Surprisingly, the gameplay in Blood Dragon is where it really falters. For the most part, it just seems like more Far Cry 3, but with bad weapons. Where Far Cry 3 made you feel like a Rakyat warrior, Blood Dragon makes you feel like a bumbling cyborg who succeeds solely because he’s too tough to die. Colt is armed with one weapon of each type, which are upgradeable only through attachments unlocked by doing side quests. None of them are very fun to use. The pistol is especially offensive, because it looks just like RoboCop’s gun after a certain upgrade, but is terrible.
Stealth is far harder in Blood Dragon, because your only choices are the bow and the pistol. As far as I could find, there was no silencer for the sniper rifle. There are also no alternate sights for the bow, so I hope you got good with the default iron sights! This is only compounded by the introduction of hostage rescue missions, which are basically outpost clearings where if you’re found you’re given a very small amount of time to take out the rest of the guards before they kill the hostage. It leads to a shocking amount of frustrating stealth in a game whose weapons seem catered for total, nonstop action. Rex has a minigun, for crying out loud. Why force him to sneak?
Character progression is completely different here. Instead of accruing and spending skill points, Rex gains level to get very specific skills on a set path. Many of them are the same as Far Cry 3, but there are a few new abilities. Unfortunately, besides a few side missions, hunting is pointless in Blood Dragon. Most of the animals are still here, albeit in cyber form, because why not. The only notable addition are the blood dragons themselves, which are giant dinosaur-esque lizards who shoot lazers at you. These can lead to some fun instances: by throwing the hearts of your dead enemies, you can lure them into your opposition’s camps. They don’t stand a chance.
Other than that, Blood Dragon‘s campaign is around four-hours and plays like a slightly less fun Far Cry 3. I clocked in at almost five hours having liberated all thirteen outposts and doing every side mission. There were still collectibles to find, which would probably take another hour or two if you wanted a full one-hundred percent completion stat. If you really need more Far Cry 3 or find the setting appealing, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is worth playing through. It’s not perfect and at times is incredibly frustrating, but there’s not much else like it on the market.
[+Crazy] [+Nothing Else Like It] [+More Far Cry 3] [+Humor Mostly Hits] [-Too Much Forced Stealth] [-Terrible Weapons] [-Side Content Not Much Fun]