Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: Thoughts
So...Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It's a standalone game. It has no multiplayer online teamspeak. Purported price is $15. Should you buy it? There's a TL/DR at the bottom.
Well, if you're a trend-whore bandwagon jumper then yeah, totally pick this up so you can "ooh" and "ahh" with your "friends" about "sweet" 80s shit you care about du jour then get teh fcuk on because you've got everything you need - this game will clearly be hipster approved due to it's ironic tone and small-batch pedigree (in itself doubly ironic since it's published by Ubisoft - SCORE!) so feel free to rock it out with your rolled-up selvedge cuffs (newsflash: it's still a capri, dick) and cruelty-free yerba mate latte. "OMG dinosaurs with lasers - hells yeah...that's like sooooo amazing." Ugh.
Which ties into a broader point - FC3:BD...ok, no. I'm just sticking with Blood Dragon, regardless of whether it evokes images of a socially untenable girlfriend in the throes of her monthly cycle. Or not. Anyway, Blood Dragon is a deliberate paen to the bad late-80's action movie and therefore easily digestible fodder for the trendy. But despite being accessible to dildos, there's a fair amount of substance to be found and without question Ubi has managed to create a loving homage to the Pepsi Generation . The plot is generously thin, the characters refreshingly one dimensional, the dialogue is almost spot-on if not just a bit too forced, and the music is utterly perfect. PERFECT. These factors combine to make a game that, thematically, is more laid-back and fun than anything in recent memory, one that manages to conjure the feel of the NES heyday. Many games have been trying to surf the nostalgia wave lately - Blood Dragon nails it.
The secret is a light touch. Period jokes (heh) aren't ham-handedly force fed (ewww), everything is laid out in a straight-man approach which allows the player to enjoy the satire without ever feeling bad about not "getting" a reference. It succeeds because it doesn't ever take itself too seriously (if anything, it undervalues it's own worth). It also helps the game is visually striking and cleverly thought out with just the right amount of content to keep your attention without overstaying it's welcome.
Based on the decision to cast Michael Biehn as RexPowerColt it should come as a major surprise the world of Blood Dragon is heavily influenced by The Terminator, no bad thing because it actually looks the part. Lasers? Check. Littered remnants of
But let's not get carried away here. There are some problems, and typically enough Ubisoft is to blame. The crime? Far Cry 3.
"But, don't you LIKE FC3?" Yes. Or, rather, I liked killing islanders. Until Blood Dragon showed up, kicked me in the balls and taught me how to learn to love again.
I'm of the opinion Blood Dragon is what Far Cry 3 should've been. Let's be honest - the FC3 story was just another please-Christ-won't-these-cutscenes-ever-END-so-I-can-get-to-the-next-fetch-quest snorefest with a shitty protagonist and insufferable supporting cast riding on the shoulders of an engaging villain. But the gameplay was solid. The baseline mechanics are fun (crouch, shoot bow, get shanghai'd by animal during tense stealth infiltration, curse, repeat). However, clearing the world map via one repetitive mission after another absolutely bleeds the enjoyment right out the experience rendering it stale to the point of sheer boredom - let's call it Assassin's Creed syndrome.
What does this have to do with anything? If you've played Far Cry 3 you won't enjoy Blood Dragon as much as someone coming into it fresh, and I'm pissed off about that. I'm pissed I quenched my lust for Death from Below and chained takedowns with the Christopher Mintz-Plasse Experience instead of in the world of awesome lasers and exploding cyborgs and Kyle Reese that is the future. I'm pissed a game like FC3 had to be made in order for a major publisher to take a chance on one that's actually cool and MAKES SENSE.
Stay with me here. Super-Brody was a fcuking turd. I mean, seriously, a vacationing grad who fights tigers and Somalians with body art (although he at least had magic tattoos and awesome Skrillex to account for his Wolverine constitution and fighting prowess instead of just a British accent and..."spunk" like a certain parahuman female counterpart). Who thought this was a good idea??? "Let's make a character who's relatable - he went to college, he's got a shitty girlfriend, he even has a brother in the Army - then let's turn him into a killing machine because he gets tattoos and becomes 'down' with the local populace or whatever the kids say today." Yes, that's a hell of a lot more plausible than an 80's bionic commando doing impossible things because. Surviving a fall off a mountain -
TL/DR: Obviously I think Blood Dragon is remarkable. If you haven't played Far Cry 3 I'd skip it entirely and pick this one up if you're at all a fan of action and sci-fi culture - it might be the most droll thing you've played in a while. If you've already slugged through The Brody I'm not sure $15 would be well spent - you've already done this before, just in an exponentially less interesting and overall crappier way. They should let existing Far Cry 3 owners have it for $5.