Reviews: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

So 80s it needs a floppy disc

The relationship between boys (not men) and the 1980s action movie craze is something which is difficult to explain. It's really a meeting of circumstances more than anything else. You see, back when the PG-13 rating was either nonexistent or new (coming to pass because of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), the R-rating had some leeway from movie theaters. It had just the sort of forbidden allure that was intoxicating to boys aged twelve to fourteen.

What am I blathering on about? Well, what I'm trying to get at is that 1980s action movies were marketed as often as not at kids as well as adults. I could have said that upfront but I wanted to soliloquy about my childhood. Imagine G.I. Joe with more nudity (16-bit), swearing, and blue-colored gore. This will give you a pretty good idea of what Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is all about. It's a cartoon made for adult men in their thirties reminiscing about their childhood as adolescents wishing they were adult men in their thirties.

It's pure nostalgia.

In a way, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the Spec Ops: The Line. SO:TL is a video game about the horrors of war and how there's something messed up about slaughtering thousands of digital people onscreen to feel like a hero. Blood Dragon explicitly calls out this attitude as nonsense, having a brief moment where an NPC talks about how video games are fun, improve reaction time, and have no proven link to violence despite numerous studies.

The homages run hot and thick in Blood Dragon, starting with the fact Michael Biehn is the voice of our hero. The game references a dozen action-movie sources with everything from databank entries to more obvious references. I'm particularly fond of Doctor Elizabeth Veronica Darling, voiced by the incomparable Grey Delisle, is a combination of a dozen 80s cliches. All of them, I point out, which make her character laugh out loud funny.

If I have a complaint about Blood Dragon, it's that its less ambitious than it could have been. The entirety of the game takes place on a single island smaller than the final level of Far Cry 3. This game could have easily been expanded into a full-blown $60 side-entry into the franchise using Far Cry 3's engine. Likewise, the final level comes close to being perfect but fails to deliver a satisfying battle with the villain. Still, this is an awesome game.