Finally, you can see it – the enemy garrison.  There are armed guards patrolling every path and an energy shield surrounding the base.  You sneak in an unattended door and stab a guard through his heart.  Before he hits the floor, you throw a shuriken at another guard.  You pick off another two silently with your bow and introduce the heavily armored guard to your quad-barrel shotgun.  After deactivating the base’s shields, you rip the guard’s cyber-heart from his chest with your bare hands and throw it in the middle of the base.  A neon-striped dragon comes storming through, shooting lasers from it’s face at the remaining guards.

This is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.  It’s one of the best downloadable games I’ve ever played.

I wasn’t joking.

  • TL;DR: A neon dragon-filled future from the 80s.
  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Score: 8.7
  • Hours Played: 8
  • What I Played: Main campaign
  • Recommended: Yes

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a very innovative idea for a game.  It takes a popular AAA title, Far Cry 3, and reimagines the game’s engine/graphics/assets into another, completely separate universe.  In FC3:BD you control Rex Powercolt, a badass from a futuristic vision from the 80’s.   Rex is the latest in cyber-soldier technology… or he was before some not-too-well-explained event that knocked him unconscious for some time.  When you finally wake up, your past mentor Sloan is trying to enslave all the blood dragons and take over the world.  You, and only you, can stop him before it’s too late.

Rex has more violent tools at his disposal than are legally allowed by the Geneva Convention.  You can carry four guns, including the silent bow (a trademark of the Far Cry series), the aforementioned quad-barrel shotgun, and my personal favorite, the rocket sniper.  You can also have up to 9 grenades at a time, C4, molotoves, and land mines.  Rex can run indefinitely at superhuman speeds, fall from any height without taking damage (there’s actually an achievement called “Derp” for falling over 50 meters), and swim underwater without ever needing to breathe.  Leveling up unlocks more stylish takedowns and attachments for your guns, but there’s never a point where you could possibly feel underpowered.  I played through the game on hard in about 7 hours with minimal frustration.

This is one of the tamer pictures I could find.

If comedy in games does it for you, and I know it does for me, then don’t look any further than FC3:BD.  Rex spits off one-liner after one-liner: “I call shotgun” when you kill an enemy in a carn, “He really put his heart into it” when you rip out a soldier’s heart, “He was open-minded” when you blow someones head off.  To put a cherry on it, Rex is voiced by Michael Biehn of Terminator and Aliens fame.  There are pixellated 16-bit montages between main story missions, bringing back memories from games long ago.  Also, the synth.  There’s a shitload of that going on, and it’s wonderful.

When you liberate (read: murder everyone inside) an enemy garrison, you open up some side missions and map locations for collectibles.  What kind of collectibles can you find in such a throwback game?  How about rabbit ear TV sets and VHS tapes?  The overall CRT look and snowy-TV feel of the pause menu and the game itself lend more and more to the era of the NES and when MTV actually played music.

You can practically hear “Sweet Child O’ Mine” right now, can’t you?

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an 80s-tastic adventure full of puns, lasers, and explosions.  It uses a big-budget, AAA engine in a $15 downloadable title.  It’s what Duke Nukem Forever should have been from a comedy and general badassedry standpoint.  If pumping a gatling gun into a laser-dragon sounds like something you’d enjoy, do yourself a favor and get this game.


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