Retro Nostalgia Done Right: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review


When I finished Far Cry 3, I was actually sad. I had liberated every outpost, and activated every radio tower. I had done every hunting mission and killing mission. I had done EVERY SINGLE SIDE QUEST that was available. Truth be told, Far Cry 3 was the closest I had ever come to (willingly) getting 100% on a game of that size. And I did so because I LOVED the game. I just truly believe it is one of the games that got the “evolution into tough guy” just right. At the start of that game, you are weak and overwhelmed. But by the end, you are firing flaming arrows into camps, silently taking out guys from zip lines, and fighting tigers with your bare hands. You are literally a one man army. Add to that the fun Wonderland metaphors, and Far Cry 3 was just, pretty much a perfect game to me.

So imagine my pure bliss when I heard they were releasing a follow up, stand-alone to Far Cry 3 for fifteen bucks on Xbox live. The idea here is taking Far Cry 3 and placing it in a terrible 80’s sci-fi movie. You still have everything that made Far Cry 3 great,(minus the weapon crafting) but now you have an inch thick layer of cheese making the whole thing that much more enjoyable. While there are games you will play on Xbox live that are, technically, better. And there are games on Xbox live that push the medium much further than this game does, regardless of that, I, personally, have NEVER had as much fun with an XBLA game as I had with Blood Dragon. But you all NEED to understand something, if you were not raised on bad 80’s action and science fiction like I was, most of this will not make sense to you, and therefore, it will be half as enjoyable for you as it was for me. A fun game is here, no doubt, but if you don’t appreciate the B-movie sensibilities layered over Far Cry 3, you won’t enjoy this game. It is that very and the fun Ubisoft has with it that makes Blood Dragon the massive, hulking beast of awesome that it is.

pop gies the dome

Blue Electric Head was always my favorite X-Men.

So did you like Far Cry 3? If you answered yes to that question, know, this is the best fifteen bucks you can spend. This IS Far Cry 3, with a brand new coat of paint. On top of that, it is a stand alone expansion that anyone can play even if they don’t have a copy of the original game. Brilliant move, Ubisoft.  Granted, a bit of the challenge of the original Far Cry 3 is gone, and the overall size is a great deal shorter, but if you play through slow and check out all the side areas and extra missions, you will find a hearty ten + hours of gameplay here, which is a good deal considering ALL OF US have dished out sixty dollars for games significantly shorter than that (looking at you, Revengeance).

Also, that odd feeling that you are a lone man versus a million is still here, though not as initially overwhelming as it was in FC3. Don’t get me wrong, you are still one versus a million, but here, as Sgt Rex Power Colt (a cooler, cheesier name I have never known), played with B-grade passion by actor Michael Biehn (good guy from Terminator, for you noobs) you are a killing machine, and you know it at all times. He wants the bad guys dead, and it is your job to help him feed that need. He has one particular line of dialogue that he says randomly that really killed me, everytime he said it. After you do a particularly heavy kill count, you can hear him say “Call for a medic so I can kill him, too.” If that is not the best thing ever, I don’t know what is. He also makes quips about bad fetch quests and silly NPC’s. This game is so meta, I am pretty sure it was playing me. And from the first minute to the last, this game will make references and drop lines that will have you laughing out loud. One particular line has his expressing his disdain for “collecting feathers”, and it is those examples that make Blood Dragon shine.


It is like Far Cry 3 got into some of your mushrooms and watched the Sy Fy channel too long.

While the story is (obviously) cliche’, that is kind of the point of the whole game. From the first seconds you do your training, and the game is being self referential, you realize you are onto something special here. Add to that, the typically cliche game advice that some games gives between levels or while loading flipped completely on its head. For example, while loading one level my screen said: The Sniper Rifle. For shooting things up close when you mistakenly choose the wrong gun. As gamers, we have ALL DONE THAT, so to have it sorta thrown in my face for great comic effects between levels (and that is just one line of many) makes the experience more encompassing for me. Another thing we need to discuss is the NPC dialogue.

As crazy as it may sound, I will go out on a limb here and say that Jim Rash (Dean from Community) DEFINITELY recorded the NPC dialogue for the scientists. You can tell from his voice and his snarky comments, but there was finally a moment this was (unofficially) certified for me in my final hours of playing. I watched a soldier try to kill a scientist, and the scientists yells, in what is CLEARLY the Dean’s voice: I can’t die, I graduated from Greendale! Greendale, as most of you know, if the fictitious school from the once beloved show, Community. It is little touches like that helping to really make the game a fun and zany ride, throughout. Hell, just like Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon has a side quest where you are faced with taking on four “mutant” turtles. It was a hilarious and fun mission in a game full of them, if you know where to look. Now how about we talk about the actual blood dragons for a bit, shall we?


“Excuse me sir, but it seems one of us has a flat and could use some help.”

I will admit, the blood dragons felt a little Skyrim to me, at first. Giant dragons that appear at random and can kill anything in its path. But once I had played around the game a bit, and saw the dragon shoot lasers, I had grown to love them. A little “dragon” meter will appear on-screen when they are near, and early on in the game before you level up (yes, stat building happens here, too) they are a formidable foe, BUT, you can use them to your advantage, too. You see, after you kill enemies, you can tear out their hearts (yup!), and the dinos respond to the hearts because they like to eat them, so you can manipulate that scenario in many ways. What became my fave thing to do would be to get a car, find a blood dragon, get him to give chase, and I would lead him right into an enemy garrison. Once all the baddies flooded, I would toss some hearts in the middle of the crowd and watch as the blood dragon made short work of all my enemies. Once the dragon killed everyone and was considerably wounded, I would finish him off. It’s called using all sides, and blood dragons helped me master that art.


Yes, there is a “flip people off” button.

And while the story is typical here (dystopian future needs saving and only one man can do it), never forget it is supposed to be cheesy and cliche and poorly acted. That is the exact sect of film it is paying homage to. Also, don’t even get me started on all the little touches they put in to really sell the idea. From the start up screen that looks like a  VCR tape, to the fact that a little indicator will come up on your screen as if someone is adjusting the resolution while the game is loading (those of us who used to watch movies on VCR’s will get flashbacks from that) and even the soundtrack, which, outside of the most recent Deus Ex and Bastion, may have the very best game soundtrack I have ever heard (the bit chip musicians Power Glove provide the retro, cheesy soundtrack that is pure, 80s’, science fiction, VHS bliss). Here, peep it for yourself.


The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission.

So basically, whether or not you enjoy this game on the level I do will come down to a few things. Did you adore Far Cry 3? Because this is that. Do you enjoy TERRIBLE eighties movies? Because this is that. When you order nachos, do you order your cheese with extra cheese? Because this is that. For me, those are three resounding YES’s, which is exactly why I think this game is amazing, but you need to weigh those factors and see for yourself. But even if you miss the references, this is a game that is mindless and fun in a time when so many games seem to take themselves far too seriously. For me, this was the PERFECT follow up to Bioshock Infinite. A mindless game that made me laugh as oppose to think. Well, laugh and seriously kick some ass. And on a final note, there is a level where you are constantly reminded you need to “Jump the shark”, literally. If that does not make you love this game, nothing will. This game does not pretend to be serious. This game is not trying to be deep. This is a kiddie pool filled up with awesomesauce, and you would be foolish not to dive in. While lacking the crisp visuals and some of the structured gameplay of Far Cry 3, it abandons those things in favor of mindless fun and nostalgia, and it is a worthwhile trade off. Also, the cut scenes are done in NES style graphics.

And you are not playing this right now because why exactly?

4 out of 5 Stars

” Doors that open by themselves? I LOVE 2007!” < An actual line of dialogue from this game.

Similar Posts


  1. That was one gush-tastic, review, man. Seeing the 4/5 rating makes me think you’re hiding something. You had me at “flip people off button”, though. Imma hafta get summa dat. Please tell me the AI gives you the finger back. I don’t really know why, but that seems like it’d be twice as funny to me.

  2. As soon as there was a helicopter shooting sequence set to the helicopter music from “Predator,” I knew I was playing a masterpiece.
    I’m gonna have me some fun!

  3. Power Glove FTMFW. One of the tracks from the OST actually sounds like the original terminator theme. I believe PG also remastered their “Hunters” theme (The Plague characters) from the movie “Hobo With A Shotgun”.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.