Far Cry 3: Blood DRAY-GOWN is a stand alone game that welcomes you to a futuristic warlord’s island stronghold. Set in the year 2007, this is the future that 1980s action movies foretold. Blood Dragon is an open world, first person shooter that lets you tackle situations how you want. Do you sneak up behind someone for a silent stealth kill? Snipe? Go in guns blazing or set traps? Its up to you. The enemies try their best to flank you. The outside world and indoor compounds have open rooms where you and the enemies can jockey for cover. The world itself is dark, like permanent night. The compounds, soldiers and vehicles are all highlighted with neon lights. Even your knife.
I would like to say right now, Blood Dragon needs UPlay and it comes with UPlay, but not the UPlay you need. The forum is full of complaints about UPlay. You need to uninstall the version that comes with the game, visit their website, install the current version. Register with UPlay. Then have it and Steam open, register Blood Dragon with UPlay BEFORE you can play it. Once its registered with UPlay, you can play it offline. It worked for me and took me an hour trying to figure it out. So if that’s a deal breaker, now you know.
On the island, there are a lot of things going on. Omega Force is your enemy and there are scientists that are your friends. You’ll come across them fighting out in the open. Its good to see the factions interacting. There is also exotic wild life that doesn’t care who you are. The aggressive ones will attack anything. Cyber sharks, crocodiles, some sort of mutant emu and of course the giant blood dragons. These blood dragons are massive and covered in neon phosphorescent light. When they’re passive, its green, spooked, yellow and hostile, red. You can rip out a dead soldier’s cyber heart and use it as bait to lure the blood dragons. Not just that, but the cyber hearts prevent them from shooting lasers. While its interesting to see, I think I can kill a lot quicker than the dragons.
Controls are like other first person shooters. Walk, unlimited run, look, aim weapon, shoot, weapon wheel, melee / stealth kill, jump, quick weapon switch between two weapons. Throw something, throw dice to distract an enemy, hold for health, reload and your cyber eye. The cyber eye lets you zoom in and out along with mark targets. With targets marked, you see them even when they’re hiding. Its helpful, but you can also tag them just by aiming at them. You can only hold four weapons at a time, with all the throwable types, making for eight weapons. There is a sniper rifle, machine gun, short range shot gun, Robocop style machine gun pistol, chain gun, bow for stealth kills and flame thrower. Enemies have ammo, but its more efficient to find a vending machine that sells it. The machines also have maps, health and body armor. There’s even a quick way to fully replenish your ammo for a price. Money becomes over abundant, you’ll have so much.
There are a few types of enemies, standard soldiers that you’ll hear talk with their robo-voices. Snipers, molotov throwers to light the world on fire. Flame throwing incinerators, heavy armored chain gunners, attack dogs and later on, “running dead” that attack anything around them. They only die from headshots. Enemies will run for alarms if you don’t disable them and the area will flood with more soldiers. The enemy intelligence is good that I feel like that’s all there needed to be. Soldiers can take hold of turrets. Molotovs can light themselves on fire. There is the occasional grenade too. I ended up just melee killing everyone. Flame throwing soldier? No problem, stabbed 4 times. It got to the point where they’d literally run away from me when I’d run to them to stab. You can always regenerate your health, so why not? You’ll get notified how close you are to getting seen and if enemies are alert to your presence.
The main missions are entertaining and offer enough first person diversity to keep it interesting. Hang gliding, driving a jeep out of an exploding building, turret sections, frying dragon eggs with a flame thrower, waiting for an elevator straight out of an Aliens movie. The main mission took me under 8 hours on medium, but I feel like I only scratched the surface. The main missions will have you ‘liberating garrisons’ and you can liberate more than the game demands. Once liberated, they become spawn points when you die. If you try to leave the mission area, it will warn you that you’ll fail.
There are side missions that reward you with weapon upgrades. After the first side mission, I stuck with the main missions. Side missions like rescue a hostage, where any wrong move, the half dozen commandos will kill the hostage. Plus there are others that have you hunting wild animals. See it doesn’t sound difficult, until you factor in the randomness. While hunting something, suddenly a jeep drives by and starts shooting you, then scientist run up and capture the jeep, then the emu begins chasing you only to get attacked by a blood dragon. All while the field is on fire from a molotov cocktail.
Michael Bein lends his voice to Sargent Rex “Power” Colt, a cyber commando and with a name like that, you can expect over the top 1980s action. So far over the top that for the first few hours I didn’t see it as funny or entertaining. They’re so over the top that it doesn’t get to the so bad its good realm. I just keep thinking wow they’re trying hard. I’ve heard far too many, “Remember the time we (adverb) (country) from (country)?” I feel bad for Michael Bien for having to put up with whoever wrote the script. Its not a parody of 80s action movies, its a mockery of video games. I’ll be honest and say anyone could have done this gravel voice, but Michael Bein lends 80s star power.
To start the game and to end each main mission, you’ll see a retro style cut scene. Its got a great art style, but these feel a lot longer than they need to be, because of the voice acting. You can always skip them. While the style is great, its just cheaper than having in game cut scenes for a $15 game.
Now for the bad stuff. As I mentioned before, UPlay was a pain, but more than that its the little things. The smallest step or height difference would block me 90% of the time unless I jumped. This even included the bottom of staircases. I fell through the world while inside a compound. Pilfering bodies has its own animation and pilfering 30 dead bodies just takes way too long from big room to big room. Loading a saved game doesn’t put you at the last checkpoint, it puts you at the start of the mission. The hit detection for the blood dragons was pretty awful. They’d be far away and still hit me. Grass sometimes isn’t attached to the hills. I felt like the game ran out of ideas for main story missions and just threw me into a horde mode.
With all that said, the final mission was might be the highest point of any game that I’ve ever played. As unmoved by the comedy as I was the entire game, it just clicked for me. I enjoyed the hilarity of the final hour. The cut scene before the final mission, feeling powerful for the final mission, the surprise dragon ride at the end. Even though the game ended without a boss battle, I was still highly entertained.
Its a solid sandbox first person shooter. I can forgive its flaws. Its a unique world, but I don’t want to stay in. I prefer daytime and environments other than black and neon lights. They do a good job of recreating scenes from movies and that final hour was incredible.