What they say: You are Sergeant Rex Colt: Mark IV Cyber Commando. The year is 2007 and Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear war which erupted in the 90s. The east vs. west conflict has raged for generations, and humanity continues to struggle to progress after a disastrous decade. New paths for peace must be found, and the US cyborg army may have found a solution: a powerful bioweapon on a distant island. Your mission is to gather information and figure out what the hell is going on.
What I say: As a child of the 80’s I have a special place in my heart (or a soft spot in my head) for goofy post-apocalyptic action films. Stuff like Escape from New York, Mad Max, Metalstorm, and cheesy Italian goodness like 2019: After the Fall of New York and 1990: Bronx Warriors. These films still resonate with me today for some strange reason and it seems a shame that no one ever bothers to try to make movies like them anymore. Thankfully Ubisoft realized this and in a shocking move has unleashed a stand-alone Far Cry 3 release; Blood Dragon.
Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to play vanilla Far Cry 3 so I cannot go into how it stacks up against that but as its own game there certainly was a lot to like. In a move of sheer genius Ubisoft got 80’s icon Michael Biehn , of Terminator and Tombstone fame, to voice main character Rex Power Colt! It’s the far flung future of 2007! Resurrected as a cyborg Rex is tasked with heading to a mysterious island to take down a power mad cyborg named Sloan. Pretty standard stuff right? Not so fast. Over the course of the game ever trope from 80s action films is trotted out from cool synth music to the silly one lines spouted by Rex to the most hilarious training sequence ever committed to a TV screen. The level of detail the game uses to get the feel of the era is pretty stunning. The loading screens look like VHS screens with a tracking bar. Synth music blares as you go into battle. The cut scenes look like they did on 16 bit systems and arcade games of the time.
As the game progresses you will fight soldiers, other cyborgs, wild animals, and of course the Blood Dragons. Blood Dragons are huge dinosaur like creatures that do massive damage and shoot lasers. You can try to snake by them but there are times you have to fight them. Game structure is mission based but there are plenty of side missions and enemy garrisons you can clear out in order to make them your bases. The main set of seven missions is fairly short, I managed to blow through them in about 5 hours. However, the side missions are pretty fun and the game oozes such goofy charm you will want to keep playing it. There are also hidden items to find like VHS tapes and so on that once collected reveal more of the back story. You are looking at around 15 hours to do everything.
Graphic wise the game looks pretty good and the 80s sheen placed on everything really stands out, especially the Tron-like neon on enemy soldiers. The story is pitch perfect for the subject matter and if I didn’t know any better I would swear it was based off of a real 80s film. Whoever wrote this really understands and loves the genre and while it is a parody it never really mocks the films. There are digs at other games though, I won’t spoil them but they are plentiful and add a couple of good laughs. The last two chapters are especially insane and if you love these films you jaw will be on the floor with how perfectly they nailed these films.
I had a pretty good time with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon especially as I have a deep (and psychotic) love for the 80s action films it is skewering. Even if you are not familiar with those films, there is still a lot to enjoy.