Blood Dragon Review: Blinding Cyber Love - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Blood Dragon Review: Blinding Cyber Love

Far Cry 3 was one of my favorite games of last year. It was much more than shooter on a tropical island, it was a shooter that let you play your way and have fun doing it. I knew the second I finished the game that this wouldn't be the last time I would play Far Cry 3. The game was just asking for downloadable content and I knew that it wouldn't be long until I could experience more adventures in Far Cry 3. It turned out that I would have to wait a while for Far Cry 3's first major addition, but what I got was something very surprising. Blood Dragon was not what I was expecting from the next Far Cry 3 adventure, but it was far better than I was expecting.

It won't take long to find Ubisoft Montreal's inspiration for Blood Dragon. The game is heavily inspired by some of the most renowned action movies from the 80's. Seeing things like Robocop's pistol or Arnold's shotgun from Terminator 2 will easily bring a grin to any who loves those 80's action movies. This game is not subtle about what it is trying to emulate and the game is that much better for it. The look of the game alone warranted a buy for me but lucky enough, behind this 80's style movie there is a great game included.

The story of Blood Dragon is exactly what you would expect from an 80's action movie; a paper-thin story with ridiculous characters.  The game takes place in an alternate reality version of 2007. Unlike the 2007 we all knew and loved, this version is filled with nuclear war, laser guns and cyborgs. You play through this hellish world as Sergeant Rex Power Colt, a Cyber Commando who loves killing almost as much as he loves America. He is tasked with the mission to take down his former Omega Force commander and stop him from launching the missiles filled with the mysterious blood dragon blood. That is about all you need to know. Blood Dragon does not have a very deep plot; you are the good guy, you're after the bad guy and everything in between is pretty minor. Still, Blood Dragon does a great job of emulating those cheesy action movies from the 80's and I'm pretty sure that's what it's going for.

If you were a big fan of Far Cry 3 than it won't take you long to grasp Blood Dragon. Both games are near identical in their gameplay. That being said there are a few differences to get used to. Rex Power Colt is a Cyber Commando so he is basically a superhuman. He runs faster, jumps farther, breathe underwater and last but not least can fall from very high distances without even a scratch. As such, don't be surprised if you run past your target or jump far past where you were aiming as you first start playing the game. Other than that the basic gameplay is the exact same. You will be shooting, stabbing and looking like a real badass before you know it.

Design wise, Blood Dragon makes far more strides to be different. Sadly some great features from Far Cry 3 like the leveling up and hunting have been great diminished. Instead of gaining skill points and giving them to abilities you want, the leveling up system has been far more streamlined. At every level you will learn the ability corresponding to the level, no exceptions. As for hunting, while there are still animals to hunt, there isn't much of a point. Sadly they got rid of the crafting element, so even though you can still kill all the zombie or cyborg animals you want, you won't be skinning them and making ammo pouches.

Speaking of killing animals, this also leads me to probably the biggest new feature in the game, blood dragons. These glowing lizards scour the island looking for cyber-hearts to eat and sadly, as a Cyber Commander, you fit into that group. Blood dragons will stalk you the second you make enough noise and chase you until you kill one or lure it away with a cyber-heart. Cyber-hearts can be collected from dead soldiers and used to not only get blood dragons off your tail but also to lure them towards enemy strong holds and let the dragons do all the work. While it's always good to have a lot of cyber-hearts, if you're like me you will easily have 99 before you know it and without any other uses besides luring blood dragons they will start to feel useless. The blood dragons are the biggest addition to Blood Dragon and they really give a good bit of challenge to the game.

While the story may yell cheesy action movie, it's the presentation of Blood Dragon that really seals the deal. The game looks and feels like you're watching a VHS tape. From the tracking bar during the loading screens, the scan lines across your screen during the gameplay or the static that appears every time you're a bit too close to an explosion, the game screams VHS. The game also shows off some retro graphics for the cutscenes which look like they were taken right out of Ninja Gaiden on the NES. Putting the retro look aside, the game still looks pretty good. The game is running on the same engine as Far Cry 3 and that game was quite the looker. My one true issue with how the game looks is that it's hard to see. This is a very dark game and it can sometimes be bad when you're trying to traverse the island. Luckily enemies (especially the blood dragons) all glow so it's never hard to see them in the environment but the environment itself can be hard to see.

The one thing that really gives Blood Dragon the authentic action movie vibe is the voice-acting. It's laughably bad, but don't get me wrong, that's a good thing. Rex Power Colt (voiced by Terminator star Michael Biehn) does a great job of delivering those perfectly awful one-liners after seemingly every other kill. From "I'm a real heart-breaker" after ripping out a cyber-heart to "That's my kind of blowjob" after a big explosion, all of his cheesy one-liners fit the game perfectly. However I will admit that after the 100th catchphrase it can get a bit old. Biehn's hilarious voice acting isn't limited to the one-liners, even when he isn't even saying anything funny his delivery of his lines always seems to make me chuckle. Everyone else's performance is just as hilarious (and in one case a bit racist) to listen to even if it isn't quite as good as Biehn. Some may see Blood Dragon's voice-acting as bad and they wouldn't be wrong, but in a game like this it sounds perfect.  

The music fits the mood of the game just as well. Power Glove (not to be confused with the videogame inspired metal band, Powerglove) does the majority of the games music and their techno style fits the world perfectly. One song in particular (which sounds oddly similar to the Terminator theme) really fits in when you're shooting down helicopters or assassinating cyborgs.  The game also throws in a few songs that don't quite fit in as well. The most notable ones being Long Tall Sally by Little Richard and a very humorous ending credits song titled Friends. Overall Blood Dragon has a very enjoyable soundtrack and it has actually got me listening to other Power Glove songs.

Now if there is one major complaint with Blood Dragon it would have to be the length. Now I understand that this is just a downloadable game, but when a game is this fun, a five hour game feels a lot shorter. There are only 7 main missions and while the first five are all relatively long, the final two missions are painfully short. There are also a good selection of side missions but they only really come in three variants; hostage saving, animal hunting and soldier hunting. While some of these missions are unique (like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle inspired hunting mission), it doesn't take long for these missions to become tedious. Luckily the game does have enough stuff going on outside of the missions to keep you interested. There are 16 garrisons scattered around the island, each one can be taken over in whichever way you can think of. Taking over these garrisons unlocks the aforementioned side missions and can be used as fast travel locations. There are also over fifty collectables scattered around the island which can unlock new weapons attachments after finding certain amounts. However after every side mission is complete, every garrison conquered and every collectable found, there isn't much left in the game. Sure you may have the best attachments for every weapon, but there won't be much to use them on.

Blood Dragon was not the next step I was expecting from Far Cry 3. Instead of a new adventure on the island that taught us all about insanity, we got something far different and something I want to see a lot more of. Blood Dragon is one of the best experiences I have experienced in a long time. The game is pure fun and for only 15 bucks you can't do much better. The game may only take you about 6 hours to beat but it was some of the best 6 hours I have experienced in a long time. I strongly suggest you go download this game right now, not for me, not for Rex Power Colt but for America.

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