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Creating downloadable content that is both fun and exciting, as well as quality work is tricky business, and nobody realizes that more than Ubisoft it seems. Ubisoft has already made The Tyranny of George Washington a DLC hit despite its mixed reviews, and the standalone Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon DLC is no different. Blood Dragon might share a few similarities to its base game, but aside from that and some of the gameplay, the two games couldn't be any more different. This is both a good thing, and at times a bad thing, but we'll get into that momentarily. Channeling a near-80's futuristic vibe the entire way through, Blood Dragon is a well-panned and chaotic journey that you really shouldn't miss for the asking price, and that is also extremely amusing and well worth your time and effort to play through and enjoy. Trust me.
Blood Dragon is one big homage to times past, with its rocking flair, action hero vibe, and constantly sated body count and killing spree megalomania. The semblance of a plot is most likely purposely bare, which is alright because the gameplay alone more than makes up for it, and I hardly expected there to be much of a plot anyway to begin with. The action is explosive and constantly over the top, akin more to Terminator and Duke Nukem than anything else. Even more amusing than any of the other aspects of the game is the fact that the one-liners are genuinely interesting (at times), and the humor is constantly both condescending and hilarious accordingly. It's a shame that we don't generally see games made like this any more, due to politics and whatnot, because Blood Dragon is pulled off marvelously and that vibe really goes a long way towards helping it accomplish its main mission: absolute annihilation of your enemies by any means necessary. This basically boils down to lasers, lasers, and...lasers.
Building off of the alternate reality setting of Assassin's Creed III's: The Tyranny of George Washington, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon's setting is during a futuristic alternate reality of the mid 00's, with the main event being that the Cold War has reached its zenith. After an introduction worthy of a Bruce Willis flick, you essentially become the cyborg super-commando Rex Power Colt, and get ready to dominate your foes. You'll face down deadly cyborg soldiers and assassins, giant mutated animals, and also the namesakes of the game itself- the vicious dinosaur-like blood dragons. Don't let this world fool you with its wily charms and funny humor- it is every bit as deadly as Far Cry 3's, if not even more with the added chaos and enemies around you.
As much as it might seem to be living in the past, Blood dragon's engine is the same as the one used in the main Far Cry 3 game, meaning that every single moment is beautifully crafted and high quality work. I'd love to see a futuristic setting such as Prey 2's running on this engine, because it absolutely blew me away in terms of graphics and capacity. It's simply amazing. Combine this with the same solid gameplay as its retail cousin- well-oiled gun battles, intense base captures, and a plethora of side quests in the expansive open world setting, and you've got one heck of a deal indeed. The story will step somewhat to the side this time around, with only a few main, story-related missions and much more collection and outpost assaulting to be done on the side, taking up the majority of your time played. That's not necessarily a bad thing either.
There are nearly fifteen major outposts scattered across the breadth of the island- each just waiting to be knocked down and captured. Instead of being the same as Far Cry 3, these bases of operations each look different, and the ways to infiltrate them are much different as well. Many have large barriers and walls surrounding them, meaning you won't always be able to rely on your trusty sniper rifle, and might have to resort to some close quarters stealth and sabotage instead. The blood dragons that the game is named for also serve a bigger purpose than simply being hard as hell to kill and deadly. You can lure the creatures into the bases after deactivating the shielded entries, and watch the chaos ensue much as the tiger attacks do in the main title. Getting your work done and sitting back to watch a dragon rip the place apart is one of the most satisfying things I've done all year so far, and I've gotta say- it was awesome.
A la the original game, once you've liberated certain areas that surround the outposts, you unlock many more side missions and content to explore- such as POI rescues, the hunting of other rare animals, and assassination contracts. Similar as these seem to the main game, they each have their differences to make a standalone expansion to those quests. Many of the side quests, item collection and hunting especially, are extremely tedious and even downright awful at times- but as in the main game, they pay off once you can unlock new upgrades, items, and weapons over time through completion, so do them asap. Speaking of the weapons, there are some truly epic additions to the BFA (Big Freaking Arsenal) that you'll want to check out, such as the handheld laser beam-like hadouken (which will abused, guaranteed), and the quadruple barreled cannon of a shotgun that results in about three instakills at once. For all the cyborgs and animals you'll have to mow through, these weapons are serious must haves.
The bottom line is this: with all its beautiful B-Movie/80's awesomeness, it's really hard to ignore Blood Dragona nd all of its chaos, carnage, and senseless violence- so why pass the chance up to experience Far Cry 3 all over again in a new and improved setting? It's even almost as good as the original game itself, and that's coming from a downloadable perspective too. Imagine the near infinite possibilities that Ubisoft could utilize to revolutionize quality DLC work now!
Concept: Basically, this mad adventure has no story other than blow up guys and kill ninja cyborgs. Seems to remind me of some other games...
Graphics: Sheer beauty.
Sound: It can only be the likes of the video-game induced Power Glove nostalgia.
Playability: The same tight controls find their way to this standalone expansion as well, which carries the already epic gameplay to new heights.
Entertainment: The only thing that bogs it down are its hundreds of side quests, which subsequently serve as the double edged sword in the equation.
Replay Value: High
Overall Score: 8.75
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