There arenít many games that fit within the ĎComedyí genre. There have been games that have made me laugh but more often than not, those games do so unintentionally. The vast majority of comedic gaming comes in the form of point-and-click adventures.
So it might be under looked how much of a risk Ubisoft are taking by releasing the first real Comedy First-Person Shooter. Some might argue that weíve already seen this achieved by the likes of Duke Nukem Forever or even going back to South Park on the N64. Unfortunately one of the key ingredients of comedy is that it actually has to be funny.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is very funny. Its use of self deprecation and parody might seem a little low brow and slightly obvious at times but more often than not youíll be giggling aloud between combat.
Thereís so much to laugh at. From tutorials to the cutscenes, even the reload animations. The game constantly tries to tickle your ribs and I have to admit that at least once during every session it succeeded in doing so.
Itís important to note that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon isnít DLC as we know it. For starters you donít need the original game to play it. An interesting move and one that makes you wonder why the Far Cry name is even attached to it. Blood Dragon has no connection to its parent game in way of story or setting.
It does however use the original games engine and AI. Itís essentially a re-skin, with the skin being so thick that itís not longer recognisable. A bit like when Hannibal Lecter cut that policemanís face off and then ran around with it.
You play as Sergeant Rex Power Cult (Voiced superbly by Michael Biehn), a half human half cyborg sent to take out renegade ex-soldier Sloan. The story isnít really important as itís just an excuse to fit in as many references and parody opportunities as half humanly possible and for that reason it fits its purpose.
Set in 2007, but through the eyes of an 80s filmaker, it reflects the sort of vision of the future that every generation has. Its post apocalyptic world is filled with robots, neon lighting and Blood Dragons.
Blood dragons are huge lizards that inhabit the island. They are extremely dangerous but can be avoided pretty easily by crouching a moving slowly around them. Hunting them can be fun but they really come into play when you use them as weapons.
While mowing down cyborg enemies you can rip their hearts from their corpses. These can be used as bait to lure Blood Dragons into areas populated with enemies so that you can sit back and watch your adopted pet do your dirty work for you.
Although the Dragons are initially intimidating youíll soon realise that theyíre pretty easy to deal with. Not only does crouching make you pretty much invisible to them, theyíre actually not too difficult to take out as long as you have enough hearts in your possession.
Because of this, your curiosity over the species depletes quite rapidly and towards the end of the game youíll see them as more of a missed opportunity than anything else.
The game does do some interesting things with them. Forcing you to either escape from them in tight corridors or battling them head on but it never feels that itís going to go where you want it to. I was hoping for more of a Shadow Of The Colossus style battle at some point, but it never came. Instead it just chucks a couple of them at you and shouts ĎDeal With Ití.
Although the flashes of bright neon lighting against the dark environment of the game look nice to start with, the visual aesthetic soon loses the appeal and youíll be crying for the luscious green landscaping of old in no time.
Those that have played Far Cry will know just how good that game can look but although Blood Dragon is stylish, it doesnít show off quite what the engine is capable of.
On the other hand, the retro-future soundtrack is at times lifted straight from Garth Marenghiís Darkplace and sets the tone superbly. In fact itís up there with some of the best videogame soundtracks of all time, especially the South Park inspired parody songs used in cutscenes and the closing credits.
How It Plays
Although Blood Dragon is unrecognisable as a Far Cry game, it plays in the exact same way.
The enemy AI hasnít been improved so once the initial fear of being spotted passes, youíll barely feel any excitement in dealing with the chaos that comes after. Melee attack is still far too over powered and itís all too easy to stand by a door knifing down enemies as they storm in one by one.
Rex is the equivalent of a fully leveled up Jason Brody. This time in order to improve your character, you have to unlock weapon attachments which can be done by completing side quests. Unfortunately all of these little distractions become completely pointless after youíve completed the game and although it gives you the option to mop up anything you may have missed, you wont feel compelled to in any way.
Apart from the dragons, thereís nothing new to shoot at either. You Cyborg Foes act in exactly the same way as the islanders from Far Cry 3 and the wild animals are all the same but with neon lighting strapped to them.
The biggest disappointment I have with this game though is that very little has been improved over Far Cry 3. You still have to experience large areas of uninhabited land. You still get told that youíre leaving mission areas. Thereís still a complete lack of fear for your surroundings when you realise that you can outwit most threats with ease.
But its not all bad and when faced with a group of enemies Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon transforms into a fun first person shooter, if not a difficult one.
Its comedy works well, and will have you laughing till the very end, but beyond that this is still the average first person shooter that Far Cry 3 was and it fails to try anything that the original hasnít already done.
If youíre interested in a few hours of funny material served with an average game then you should certainly pick his up. If you wanted something a little more than that then Blood Dragon isnít the game for you.
Pros + Very Funny + Great Soundtrack + Fantastic voice acting
Cons - Same Issues as Far Cry 3 - Visual style lose its charm quickly - Blood Dragons are missed opportunities.