Political correctness is not something anyone should expect in Blood Dragon. Instead it delivers buffet line servings of immature innuendo, cheesy lines and neon highlighted violence. It also creates a much needed dose of comic relief after playing the actual Far Cry 3 storyline, which is nothing short of depressing.
After a comically low resolution, barely animated cutscene reminiscent of the best of the computer games from the eighties, we arrive at a dark, post apocalyptic 2007AD with cyborgs and neon only lighting. Even though the skies are dark, the story and the game is anything but. Oh, and there are even doors that open themselves, such is the convenience of future technology!
As it’s essentially just a whacking great expansion pack, the game mechanics are simplified, an example being the inability to choose how you level up. You get assigned skills as you gain experience and upgrading weapons is now tied to finding VHS tapes and old television sets. The game is a wonderful tribute to the excesses and optimism of the eighties with pop culture references to movies, games, and songs with the characterisations of many of the main protagonists and antagonists.
As for the combat mechanics, Blood Dragon’s more streamlined skills system and weapons upgrading mechanics mean that you’re playing a game that’s actually far more fluid and intuitive than Far Cry 3, because a lot of the take downs and stealth skills are already available to you from the beginning of the game without the requirement to grind through the first island in the main campaign. One consequence of this though, is that it can feel like the already quite short game is made even shorter by how quickly you can move around Sloan’s island.
That said though, despite its short length, Blood Dragon does give you bang for buck (quite literally, when you get the explosive ammo upgrade for your sniper rifle) in terms of actual entertainment. There are great wisecracks, in jokes, sarcasm and just general, over the top hilarity. In one memorable scene, you stumble into a neon lit room containing one of the eponymous blood dragons which comes under your control. So you ride it into battle firing your newly acquired laser cannon whilst the dragon is also shooting its laser beam eyes at the enemy. It does so by warning you that “Ima firing ma lazor!” in typical geek speak. This scene alone means the game deserves a bazillion internets.
Blood Dragon is bold, brash and hilarious in the same way that Far Cry 3 is a journey of maturity and irony with side servings of how truly screwed up people can get in this world. It screams “I’ve got the power!”, especially when you have an arm mounted laser cannon that has infinite ammo. I’d go so far as saying that Duke Nukem has most definitely met his match in Rex Power Colt in super masculine heroes and if Blood Dragon spawns its own franchise with sequels, perhaps it will become another great icon in the wide world of computer games.