Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon sounds like a joke. The original game took itself very seriously, telling the story of rich kid Jason Brody and friends being captured by pirates and the descent to insanity that follows as a man transforms into a killer. We expected the game’s first DLC to expand on the characters introduced, particularly the psychotic Vaas, but what we got was beyond what anyone could have hoped for.
Blood Dragon is a love letter to cheesy sci-fi action movies of the 80’s. It goes farther than you’d think, with scan lines, VHS tracking, 8-bit Contra-esque cutscenes and Michael Biehn (Hicks from Aliens, Kyle Reese from Terminator, and many others) as the protagonist. It hits many cliches, with the protagonist spouting gruff one-liners as he kills cyborg enemies. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning the armor the enemies wear consists of hockey pads, motorcycle helmets, plastic and other cheap looking items, all done intentionally.
Everything in Blood Dragon is intentional and over the top, and almost goes too far in its efforts. The flow of gameplay is the same as Far Cry 3; scout enemy bases, explore an open (though smaller) island, fight off random cybernetic animals, take on story missions and so on. The titular Blood Dragons roam the land, hulking cybernetic monstrosities that can be “persuaded” to attack certain targets much like the beasts of Far Cry 3, though they can just as soon turn on the player.
The soundtrack is equally as impressive and nostalgic, with heavy drums and techno beats that sound like they were ripped straight out of Terminator or Robocop. The level of detail to nostalgia was translated to every facet of the game. The animals you find are all mutated or cybernetic, weapons have been renamed (the submachine gun is now the far more scifi appropriated “Fazertron”) and reskinned to match the bright neon aesthetic. The level of personality and detail to its premise that Blood Dragon has is staggering, and a very welcome change to the world of DLC, a trend we hope will continue in the future.
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is a rare gem in the sea of otherwise mediocre-to-good DLC out there. We said a while back that we wanted more “what if” or strange DLC and Ubisoft has done that twice recently, with its King Washington alternate timeline for Assassin’s Creed III, and now this. By making the DLC a separate experience it helps players be sure they get the “full” game when they purchase it, and allows the game’s DLC to act as an expansion and treat for those that enjoyed the core game. Oh, and did we mention that Blood Dragon is a stand-alone expansion? You don’t even have to own or have played Far Cry 3 to play it! (But you really, really should because Far Cry 3 is great). When it comes down to it, DLC is something that many gamers love to hate, but few can find a solid argument against Blood Dragon. It’s utterly different and a breath of fresh air compared to what so many other games are offering as DLC, and shouldn’t be passed up by anyone for that reason. Of course, if you’re a fan of the 80’s and its action movies, then you probably already bought this.