Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is stupid. It is ridiculous times idiotic to the power of moronic. It is dumber than a Yugo full of anvils. This standalone pseudo-expansion available for download now revels in a massive pool idiocy. And it is glorious. In the post-post-apocalyptic future of 2007, Sergeant Rex 'Power' Colt has been dropped into the island stronghold of rogue cyborg Colonel Sloan to stop his bio-terror campaign, kill all the baddies, and get the girl. It's an enjoyable romp for weekend, so long as the player isn't lactose intolerant.
The presentation of the game is a love letter sci-fi actioners of the late 80's with all the cheesiness that this entails. VHS scan lines are omnipresent, everything is covered in neon, set and costume designs are intentionally cheap looking and any word that could be prefixed with "cyber" is so. Cutscenes play out in VGA graphics. All this is supported with a score from Power Glove (not the metal guys, the other Power Glove), that not only evokes the best of Terminator and Blade Runner, but works so well with action of the game.
The writing doesn't quite have the focus compared to the visuals. Most of the dialogue is cliché-riddled action schlock, with cheesy one-liners, macho posturing and so on, but every third gag seems to be at the expense of modern gaming tropes or other Ubisoft titles. The voice acting doesn't help much either, the main cast seems to be playing their lines straight while the supporting cast has its tongue firmly in cheek. This could be part of the 'so bad it's good' feel, or could it be part of the continuing lack of tonal cohesion in the Far Cry franchise.
Gameplay in Blood Dragon is identical to that of Far Cry 3 with power fantasy turned way up. The player starts with more perks (including immunity to falling damage, infinite sprint distance, the ability to breathe underwater and a selection of stealth takedown abilities). Levels also come more frequently and at the top of the power curve is well beyond the badassery of Far Cry 3's endgame.
There isn't much of variety in terms of firearms for Blood Dragon. Gamers have the choice between the pistol and rifle from Robocop, the shotgun and minigun from Terminator 2, the Glaive from Krull, the submachine that goons always seem to have sci-fi movies, the stock flamethrowers, bow RPG launchers, and usual explosives of Far Cry 3. It makes up for this lack of variety with ridiculously overpowered upgrades. It's very easy to forgive a game for a lack of guns when such rapturous violence can be brought about with a semiautomatic sniper rifle loaded with explosive rounds or a quad-barrelled incendiary shotgun.
Also missing from the namesake game are craftable syringes, because "winners don't use drugs". It's a good joke, well delivered, but it feels like the game has lost something. The only activities to make the cut were hostage rescues, garrison liberation and hunting expeditions. That isn't much in the way of scripted gameplay. Fortunately, the whole experience is over by the time it starts to feel repetitive, clocking in about ten hours to complete.
Blood Dragon is a nostalgic coat of paint on the Far Cry 3 experience. It has a few good laughs and wraps itself up without overstaying its welcome. For any fan of old school sci-fi action looking for weekend's worth of entertainment, it's worth a buy.