Ubisoft

Captain Power does cocaine in the bathroom, overdoses, and Blood Dragon is what he sees as he dies

Captain Power does cocaine in the bathroom, overdoses, and Blood Dragon is what he sees as he dies

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

  • 360
  • PC
  • PS3

$14.99 MSRP

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AAA games are often large, lumbering messes that are tied to whatever trend is big at the moment, focus-tested into a wet piece of nothing, and released in a flurry of retailer-specific pre-order bonuses. These are games that take themselves too seriously, and often feel designed by committee. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is something else; it feels like what happens when the parents go home and the children are left in charge of the tools used to make video games. This isn't DLC, but a stand-alone game that stands on its own against the boredom of most first-person shooters.

The result is a fast-paced, original, thoroughly insane total conversion that takes the basic ideas from Far Cry 3, strips out much of the bullshit, and leaves a pure action title where you run through neon environments, kill all the bad guys, and avoid the giant, screaming blood dragons.

Well, until you level up a bit. And then you kill the blood dragons. Or you throw the hearts of your enemies in front of you to tempt the blood dragons into fighting on your side. You can also distract the enemies by throwing twenty-sided dice, because fuck you if you don’t like it. This is a world where the only way to get rid of a nuclear reactor is to punch it.

The game's hero, Rex Colt, is a super-soldier, and all his lines are growled by action legend Michael Biehn. The story is the result of taking the writers of 80's Saturday morning cartoons and giving them the freedom to create something that is rated R. The entire game feels like the cast and crew of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future decided to do line after line of blow in the bathroom of a Miami nightclub.

There is no sense of restraint in the game. The beginning tutorials make fun of tutorials, as you’re asked to “look around to look around.” Then the joke goes on, and gets old, and gets annoying, and then comes around to being funny again. There is dialog that seems to honor your favorite 80's action films, and then there are jokes poking fun at how ridiculous this all is.

You won’t spend any time wondering which upgrades to buy, as your character simply picks up new abilities as he gains levels, like a Katamari ball of destruction. There is no point in weighing options, the game just kind of continually rewards you with new ways to wreck shit.

Blood Dragon understands that when you hold down the fire button when wielding a chain gun, you have to yell. This is even more important when you’re fighting a dragon.

I hope more studios pay attention to the sense of fun and abandon on display here; for $15 you get a Far Cry 3-like experience in a wonderfully oblivious setting, with none of the overwrought sense of drama or gravitas of the original game. This is the game developer equivalent of a chef making himself a snack in the middle of the night, with access to the best ingredients. The game is over quickly if you just run through the story missions, but what fun is that?

Take a jeep out, go hunting, find all the upgrades for your weapons, and take down a blood dragon or two. Take your time, you don’t need to rush when saving the world. You’re the hero of the story, and the game isn’t afraid to remind you of that fact.