Once in a while, there comes a game, or an extension of a game, that attempts and sometimes succeeds in redefining what a genre is all about. Recently it was Telltales The Walking Dead, which took the adventure game genre by storm, showing that a slow paced deliberate game could work in a mass market, as long as the makers were wiling to make a mature, realistic vision, and that's what they did.


Now when it comes to FC3: Blood Dragon, mature and realistic are far; and I mean far, from the words I would use to describe it. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, too often I find myself bored and tired of games going down one predictable cookie cutter path after another and that is not something you have to worry about when you are dropped into the absurd, neon splashed world of Blood Dragon. From the offset the silliness and outright brashness, shines through like a misplaced spot light in a Steven Spielberg movie.


The game opens with a call out to the action movies of old, as rock'n good tunes play, while you mow down enemy after enemy, explosions, fire, pinging bullets and the whirl of a chopper blade pierce your ears and you know, from that moment, that this is going to be a one of a kind guilty pleasure experience. The game continues at that pace for most of the running time, which for me was roughly around 10 hours, if you want to sink your teeth into the side missions; hunting rare animals and the like, it may take you an hour or two more, depending on how determined you are and how often you get distracted by the unique animals running wild and the neon painted scenery. The island that houses that scenery, is much like that of the original Far Cry 3, but of course there are a few exceptions the island is much smaller this time around, the structures look more robot like and imposing and the color changes are drastic. But if you enjoyed the openness and look of the island from the standalone game you will surely like this.


The two biggest changes in the game play, come in the form of a new enemy and the fact that your character is in fact an cyborg. The enemy in question is the towering and quite threatening blood dragon. Now not only is this thing a pain in the rear to kill; even after leveling up a bit, but it can be used as a weapon of sorts, that's right you can use these damn things as a weapon! Early on in the game you come across a cyber heart, which you pick up from a poor cyborg who was just on the wrong island, at the wrong time. Throwing the cyber heats work in two different ways, the first is to merely distract the terrifying, lumbering blood dragons, by throwing them in one direction, then sneaking off in the other direction. The second way is to take the heart, walk up to the gate of an enemy stronghold, then throw it through the barrier, in doing this the glowing neon giant will tear into the fortress chasing down its tasty treat and in doing so come across a whole bevy of fresh cyber hearts, in the form of your enemies; think of it as a the enemy of my enemy is my friend type scenario, now after your blood dragon for hire has done its duty and killed all those pesky little cyborgs, all you need to do is throw another heart out the barrier and close it up. It is quite the fun game play experience and something unique. Its rare that I find myself playing a game and feeling like I have so much power, as I did when I tricked a blood dragon through those gates and sacked an entire enemy encampment. Now I did experience a few issues; nothing major and they popped up very infrequently, but my dragon got stuck once or twice and I had to coax him a bit to get him to leave and once in the encampment he just wouldn't attack my enemies; maybe he just had a big brunch, I don't know, but those rare issues don't keep it from being a cool, unique, game play mechanic.

The other change; as mentioned, is the fact that your main character, Mr. Rex Power Colt is a cyborg! This comes with a few really nice little bonuses. The first being his ability to fall from any height, without taking damage, this to me, isn't as much useful as it is just bad ass. Being able to place some charges on a huge structure, then being able to jump to freedom, right as the bombs detonate is a wonderful and crazy cool feeling. The other ability of note is Mr. Colts robo lungs, which allow him to stay submerged indefinitely, this happens to be a lot of fun when combined with the knife take downs, or the bow. Going stealth under the water waiting, for the right moment, then striking suddenly and precisely is very, very rewarding.


The last thing I'd like to talk about is the story. Now the story nothing really new, or exciting, but if you are an avid 80's action movie fan, you will be in for a few really good laughs and a few pretty damn good references; such as the Galleria shotgun. The plot is simple and boils down to one thing, a really bad cyber dude, did some really bad stuff and you need to take him down to save the world, that's it, and honestly if you get into this game expecting it to have an Academy Award worthy story, you are getting into this game for the wrong reasons. The story is told mainly in SNES type stilted, neon animations and they are pretty freaking cool. The voice acting really seems to carry the colorful cut scenes and Michael Biehn does a tremendous job delivering the corny, out of nowhere lines, that make these kinda rides so much fun.


Even with its issues, this is one of my favorite gaming journeys I have taken this year. Blood Dragon is not the most polished, or the most story heavy, it has some minor glitches and the game play can get slightly tedious at times, but if you are looking for a silly, fun, action packed joy ride and you have a few hours to pass, you cant go wrong with this game.