The year 2012 was one of violent navel gazers. Hotline Miami and Spec Ops: The Line were praised for being somewhat uncommonly self-aware shooting games. But it was hard not to miss the simpler pleasures of classic shooters. This was the dilemma Ubisoft got themselves in with Far Cry 3, a game that tried to have its cake and eat it too, and instead ended up with frosting on its face.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a standalone downloadable title built on the gameplay of Far Cry 3. It tries to be an obvious parody of the big, dumb '80s action flicks that most shooters owe a debt to, but just like Far Cry 3, its self-awareness doesn't save it.

You play as Rex Power Colt, a cybersoldier in the typical ‘80s-version-of-the-future sent to take down his old commander who's gone rogue and threatens to save humankind from the Reds. His arsenal includes atomic bombs and dragon's blood. There is the best friend / sidekick who dies, the scientist love interest, the villain who speaks like a blend of Patton, Tony Robbins, and Vince Lombardi. The world is perpetually dark, except for electric reds and blues that give it a neon-chicness. 

The game is short, which is forgivable for a budget title. There is an open world with about a dozen fortresses that can be tackled in any order. The game takes its structure from Far Cry 3 wholesale, but in the new context and setting, they don't always fit. Far Cry 3 emphasized stealth. Given its story and setting, finding a young American on a pirate-infested island, it made sense. It also gave the player some versatility, and kept it from being a rudderless shooter. Strategy and tactics could be thought up, and bases could be attacked in a variety of ways. The design of the bases in Blood Dragon, with their high walls, prevent you from scoping the place out before an assault. Rex can also take a lot more damage and is given a suite of weapons immediately. Every encounter becomes a sluggish, low-stakes exchange of lasers.

The big divergence from its progenitor is the Blood Dragons, which are more or less laser-shooting T-Rexes. They can be summoned into the fray with cyber-hearts taken from fallen enemies. What seems like a nice tactical double-edged sword turns into a bore, too. As soon as one enters the base, it kills everybody in sight and leaves you with little to do aside from luring it out.

Blood Dragon is funny, sometimes, in its parody of ‘80s action flicks, but mostly it's a bit much. A few jokes land — one at the start of the game mirrors the frustration we all have with forced videogame tutorials — but most feel too forced and done: there is a montage at one point, of course, and inspirational speech delivered by Obi Won Kenobi. Even the name Rex Power Colt is a syllable longer than it needs to be. The only part that really gets the style down is the John Carpenter-esque synths scored by Power Glove. It's the only part of Blood Dragon that has a personality and isn't just a pose.

Rating: 2.5/5
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai
Designer: Dean Evans
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

1 Comments | Add a Comment
You havent understand the game, it's a parody (good example is the tutorials - of course they must be too forced) Filipe = open your mind
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