Wot I Think: Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon

By John Walker on April 30th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Do you remember that there were decades previously to this one? Far Cry 3 seems to think it does, with the appearance of an expandalone spoof of the 1980s, Blood Dragon. How does this mini-adventure hold up? Here’s wot I think:

It’s hard not to wish whoever created that first, excellent Blood Dragon trailer hadn’t been in charge of writing the whole game. This most peculiar of spin-off games, a mini-campaign and new island of bases to take over, finds itself in a bizarre space between a bunch of fun, and a lot of irritation.

If you peel away its crêpe-paper-thin veneer of confused 80s pastiche, what you’ve got here is an psuedo-expansion pack for Far Cry 3 (although there’s no crossover, no sharing of characters, etc). A new island, twelve or so new garrisons to take over (each with their own hostage-rescue additional task), new animals to shoot, dozens of new collectables to run up to and press E on, and a smattering of plot missions to play through. However, it’s an oddly stripped down version of Far Cry 3, with the skill system reduced to automatically added new abilities as you trundle through, the variation of activities reduced to three, no crafting whatsoever, and the arsenal of weapons limited to five.

So, well, that’s pretty good still. A bunch more charging about the countryside, the spontaneous events, the slaughtering of armies to take their homes for yourself, and the deaths of more tigers. Except this time there are giant laser-firing dragons, and everything’s lit in purple.

The dragons are perhaps the only really significant change in how you actually play. When you kill enemies you can tear their cyborg hearts from their chests, and store them up. The Blood Dragons are attracted to these, so you can use them for making your escape, or better, directing them toward enemies. Sneaking into a base, turning off their dragon shields, and then luring one in is obviously a fun time. Fighting the dragons themselves seems at first to be too daunting a prospect, but then later you’ll start figuring some stuff out, and be equipped with a better chance against them.

The mission quests were perhaps where Far Cry 3 saw the most criticism (although unfairly I’d argue – their leaning toward an Uncharted territory offered even more variation to the game), I doubt anyone would level the same here. They are, in general, splendid runs of violence. Rather than deviating from the core mechanics too much this time, most are focused on infiltration and then mass murder, offering multi-stage missions building to daft climaxes. Bearing in mind the minimized tone to the much of the game, these are extremely well constructed and realised. The only issue here is how few there are – that part of the game will only take about three or four hours at the very most.

Here that sound, coming over the horizon, as the purple storm crackles against the purple clouds? It’s a “but”.

But, in a strange way this game also feels like a worst-of of Far Cry 3. Other than issues with the story, what were the primary complaints? That bloody mission pop-up message that can’t be switched off? That’s still present. Mission zoning, such that you fail if you cross some arbitrary boundary on your way? Here. Then forced reloading to an earlier point, losing any progress as a consequence? Yup. Keys not responding at crucial moments? Indeed. And this time they’ve added in a new bug where if you task switch out of the game, going back in will have switched it to “Borderless” mode rather than “Windowed”, and for some reason (that wasn’t the case with the original game for me) it barely runs in Borderless.

So while you’ve got the unquestionable fun of taking over a new island, and the pleasure of the (scant few) missions, you’re also being pissed off by things that should have been patched out of FC3, let alone left in for its spin-off. And then there’s the peculiarity of the tone.

It’s hard to get precisely what it is that Blood Dragon thinks it’s spoofing. It seems to set out to be something of every 80s Saturday morning action cartoon, but then in a flurry of swearing, violence and sex scenes, veers into mocking straight-to-video 80s action movies. But the disconnect between the two is weirdly jarring. Cutscenes are barely-animated cartoon sequences – which I started to suspect weren’t so crude for the sake of mocking anything but more to save money – while the dialogue is an attempt at lampooning action movies’ tendency toward ultra-cheese. And in neither does it do a good job. (It’s also worth noting that the lovely animation in the trailer has nothing in common with the lazy crap in the game.)

The writing is abysmal, and not because it’s trying to be. It ultimately feels like a dismal Peter Kay routine, with someone shrieking “DO YOU REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES?!?!!” at you as if saying that alone is the funniest thing imaginable. Yes, I remember them. And that’s rather the issue – I remember that what it contained, even at its worst, was a lot more entertaining than the drivel this game puts out as story. That classic rule of spoofing – that you must actually be better than the target of your mockery – is not followed at all. Instead they’ve opted for that so much easier route of just being bad, and saying, “Seeeeeeee?”

There’s all manner of meta-commentary in there, but again it weirdly misfires by directing this all at current gaming, rather than arch comments on a bygone decade. So the beginning drags you through this miserable pastiche of a tutorial, which succeeds only in being a really bloody frustrating tutorial, with a character in the game saying how frustrating it is. That’s not funny – that’s actively sneering at your audience. Being bad on purpose, and then pointing out how you’re being bad on purpose is… being bad. Deliberately making your game bad. Oh, and there’s an incredibly uncomfortable “sex scene”, seemingly entirely consensual, which finishes with the woman shouting, “NO NO NO!” It’s foul, and it’s hard to imagine what they thought they were achieving here.

The rest is expository voices ironically sighing lines about how convenient certain aspects of the game’s lazier moments are. Uh, great.

The result is odd. A good game, wallpapered with what should have been a festivity of fun, but instead is a dreary commentary no more witty than pub bores misremembering the existence of old adverts and then loudly laughing at themselves. And then explaining the jokes to each other in case they didn’t get it. (I finally lost all patience for the bothersome narrative when it underlined, highlighted and shone giant neon arrows at an incredibly weak and entirely misplaced “jump the shark” joke.)

For its budgety price of £12, the game inside here is well worth it. It’s just such a shame that the rich vein of an 80s send-up was so wildly missed.

Although there’s always Super Time Force to come, whose trailer seemed to have, uh, inspired Blood Dragon’s.

Blood Dragon is out tomorrow.

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143 Comments »

  1. Lyton Darque says:

    From the gameplay video by the developer I thought this addition would end up having an understated tone, but it sounds like they’ve gone all-out in a terrible way, veering away from the reasonably slick Saints Row 3 party-vibe it seemed they were perhaps trying to evoke.

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  2. Premium User Badge

    FunnyB says:

    Sounds a bit disappointing, but I think I’ll eventually pick this up anyway.

  3. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    {On the 80′s}”I remember that what it contained, even at its worst, was a lot more entertaining than the drivel this game puts out as story.

    Textbook nostalgia… e’vrytime.

    Addendum: Seriously, from the offensively bad music of the period, the horrendous Art Deco revival that managed to strip out everything beautiful and sublime and replace it the gaudy and garish, the explosion of inequality and greed, the sickening rise of Reagan and Thatcher whose policy consequences the world suffers to this day, the emergence of the ‘blockbuster’ “high-concept” franchise, the hair, my God, the hair, the fashion, the obscene corporatisation, the literal reversal of societal progress, fucking Hair Metal? What the fuck? The genuine creavity and intelligence of what is retroactively known as proto-punk devolving into pure down-stroke stupidity. Don’t even get me started on US policy in Latin-America, Lord help me if I get started on US policy in Latin-America.

    It was a loathesome decade and I have nothing but contempt for it (with the qualification that as far as it is possible to meaningfully divine trends in an ultimately arbitrary 10 year period).

    • Nick says:

      because everything now is better than stuff before it, because its newer.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        Thank God I didn’t espouse that, do you always invent views others hold? Is it for fun or for necessity?

        • realmenhuntinpacks says:

          So Tyrone, I take it you don’t really ‘do’ music? Don’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So much good stuff – it was ten years of human culture ferchrist’s! : )

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            I utterly love music, just not prevailing 80′s music (outside of John Zorn, Tom Waits and many exceptions that in no way are typified by the qualification of ‘prevailing’). Somehow if one is even ‘does’ music, it must be all music or 80′s music included?

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            There was lots of good music in the ’80s, but for some reason any ‘Best of the ’80s’ compilation cassette doesn’t seem to feature much that’s worth listening to.
            Prime example: The Beastie Boys

          • Shadowcat says:

            I suspect the majority of the popular music from any decade is awful, but because it was popular at the time, it’s also what gets dredged up when examples of music of the era are needed.

            Good music is always being made, and then subsequently buried by time.

    • John Walker says:

      Yes, I was talking about the action movies of the decade, rather than the politics or haircuts. Context.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        (The addendum wasn’t really in reference to your comment but expressing my general disgust with that sad decade but I further digress) I contend that accounting for nostalgia they were awful.

      • Syra says:

        I ‘here’ you John. No doubt a sneaksome reference to the state of grammar in the 80s.

      • Lemming says:

        I assumed this, and also agree. It’s the reason why I have so many of them on blu-ray in my house. At no point do I rewatch them and go “oh, wow this is shit, I must’ve been mad!”

        It’s more “holy shit they really didn’t give a fuck back then did they? KIDS IN PERIL! HOORAY!”

    • F3ck says:

      Yeah, that’s sort of what went through my head when I read that line.

      A buddy of mine left a 2tb hdd full of all the (some 70s but mostly) 80s “classics”; Terminator, ET, B&T, and a few other decent films were clear stand outs in an era of day-glow dip-shittery.

      These movies that I barely tolerated in my youth are insufferable to me now…

      …only really good thing about the 80s was the metal/punk.

    • Dervish says:

      For those of you who think RPS has been sounding off too much on tangential social issues, this is a reminder of how much worse it could be.

      • tormos says:

        to be fair even those of us who think his reasons for detesting the eighties are pretty good find being reminded about them in the comments section of a gaming site rather annoying.

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          In the future I shall only complain about purely optional DLC and typing all-caps pronouns appended with ‘face’.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oh you did not just diss the hair.

    • zachforrest says:

      Talking Heads? Orange Juice? The Smiths?

    • DiamondDog says:

      Yeah but come on The A-Team was pretty great.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Whatever dude, a video game with all of that stuff would be awesome and you know it.

      Living through it sucked, sure.

    • jonahcutter says:

      John Carpenter at his best (Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China), Nightmare on Elm Street, Legend, Terminator, Aliens, John Hughes at his best, Wrath of Khan, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, Caddyshack, Easy Money, PeeWee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Shining, Stand By Me, Platoon, Wall Street, Airplane, Commando (action movie distilled to its purest form), Back To the Future, Empire Strikes Back, Blue Velvet…

      And that’s just some of the highest profile/most notable films from the 80′s. There’s many, many more.

      Anyone want to do music?

      Politics: Pretty ugly no doubt. Of course, U.S. policy can be pretty ugly for anyone but knee-jerk conservatives, regardless of decade (see Bush 1 invasion of Iraq, Clinton ignoring Rwanda, Bush 2 invasion of Iraq).

      But in the 80′s we do get Glasnost in the Soviet Union. And late in ’89 we get the reforms going into place to end the separation of Germany, with East Germans allowed to travel freely to West Germany.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        I alluded in a previous comment that’s somewhere above to the fact that there are exceptions to any rule and my general disdain for the decade is for the prevailing trends and some notable examples of the decade. By the rosy selection (and… ugh fucking John Hughes of all people) you offer in a handful of countervailing pieces of media that can be done for any decade and overlooks structural and cultural changes of a more fundamental nature.

        I utterly adore Blue Velvet and would easily rank it in my top ten films, yet its creation in the 80′s doesn’t remotely ameliorate, excuse or counter-balance the very reality it deconstructed, the mythical 1950′s Reaganite suburbia. There was a clear egalitarianism that began to emerge from the social victories of the 60′s and 70′s, which broadened and ultimately was perceived to threaten a very reactionary status quo that was desperate for realising a ‘return to Normalcy’ to borrow President Harding’s impossible campaign promise.

        Reaganism specifically and neoliberal policies more generally sought to domesticate those previously marginalised calls for greater democracy. Intellectuals such as Lewis Powell and Charles Murray spoke candidly about suppressing those peoples and their views are public record if you wish to understand some of the framework of the dominant structure we find ourselves in. As such the prison-industrial complex doubled in America in terms of population and would do so again in the 90′s once Clinton cemented neoliberalism as a bipartisan consensus. Corporate-funded think tanks exploded, the financial sector was deregulated, an ethos of greed and the self once considered utterly deplorable was celebrated as income equality soared in tandem to the dismantling of the welfare state.

        Corporations became ascendant to a degree unseen since the Gilded Age and they have become literally too large to meaningfully hold accountable by this decade, either by a government which genuflects to their interests, the media which they also literally own and the ‘market’ itself. I’m not an American but I take a supreme interest in the history of the US because its actions have radically disproportionate consequences for the world entire. The 80′s marked a radical change in the world order that will be felt for decades to come given the all but insurmountable hold its philosophy has amongst the most powerful nations on Earth.

        As an aside, even the Cold War was essentially revived due to U.S. brinkmanship after a period of relative calm long after Cuban missile crisis, the real and indeed justified atomic fear that typified the 50′s and early 60′s loomed once more. Even an overture in around 1985 to dismantle the Warsaw Pact in exchange for the dissolution of NATO was rejected since it then was obvious the USSR would collapse in several years so what impetus did the US have to agree other than the quality of life of millions, for yours truly as well.

      • Prime says:

        The 80s gave us Transformers: The Movie. “Nostalgia” (a term that is wildly over-used on this site, and largely inapplicable to anything ever) does not account for the fact that this film is still the most awesome of the Transformers movies, and perhaps the most awesome movie in movie history. Take it from one who was there – the 80s were ace. I’ll bet you a shiny, flammable shell-suit they were better than the god-awful fucking 90s, at least.

        • LordMidas says:

          I was a teenager in the 80′s and it was a load of bollocks. Then 90′s turned up, and with it the Rave era. Quite simply the best times ever. Looking back at the shell suits, sovereign rings and centre parted hair that curled into your eyes, tastes were clearly fucked. But they were great times.

          The 80s had The Police and Dire Straits. And a load of other depressing shit.

    • Low Life says:

      Why would anyone have anything against the fashion and hair styles of the 80s? I mean, just look at this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-el7fqBfWQMs/UL9ZmmGCYoI/AAAAAAAAABo/i-cG8TXXIu8/s1600/bogart-co.jpg

      That’s glorious.

    • Don Reba says:

      Hey, man. In Latin America, US only did what it had to do in the name of democracy! They are all thankful for it now.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      wow, dude, you need a nice cup of “just let it the fuck go”.

    • Karmik says:

      The eighties were the decade I grew up in. They were awesome. Yes the world had troubles. The world has troubles now. Yes the world had shit music. The world has shit music now.

      Were you actually around at the time? You sound like some who just Googled “the 1980′s” and pasted your interpreted output here.

  4. MuscleHorse says:

    Just a note: I believe the message pop ups can be turned off in FC3 now from a patch a while back. Very odd that this hasn’t been carried over. Reminds me of how certain bugs from earlier builds of L4D1 carried over into L4D2 despite being patched out from the former ages before.

    I’ll be picking this up soon, I believe, in a sale in a months time.

  5. P.Funk says:

    “The writing is abysmal, and not because it’s trying to be. It ultimately feels like a dismal Peter Kay routine, with someone shrieking “DO YOU REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES?!?!!” at you as if saying that alone is the funniest thing imaginable. Yes, I remember them. And that’s rather the issue – I remember that what it contained, even at its worst, was a lot more entertaining than the drivel this game puts out as story. That classic rule of spoofing – that you must actually be better than the target of your mockery – is not followed at all. Instead they’ve opted for that so much easier route of just being bad, and saying, “Seeeeeeee?””

    Why I love RPS. You get it.

    This is basically why mainstream gaming is still in my opinion miles away from being as good as an HBO series or a great 70s movie right now. Its just really weird that mainstream gaming now is almost in its own 80s movie phase in terms of how awful it is in many areas, but at the same time its conscious of how awful it is, but then cashes in on that by satirizing itself while pretending that we’re just making fun of the 80s or something.

    Its weird how self conscious yet utterly awful it all is isn’t it. I should play it so I can complain more!

    • karry says:

      Someone watches HBO shows ? Just watch porn. Exact same content, with more satisfaction, and forget about it 10 seconds after you watch it. Works out better that way.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Wait, The Game of Thrones does have some full-frontals, but otherwise content is the same? I don’t remember anyone being beheaded in a porn flick, ever.

      • lokijki says:

        The whole ‘HBO = porn’ thing seems to have spiraled out of control. I realize they added a few sex scenes to Game of Thrones, but now I can’t bring the show or the channel up with out someone going, “HEUH HEUH HEUH MIGHT AS WELL WATCH PORN.”

        • Ztroskotanec says:

          Maybe the joke is that gamers don’t know what good writing is (and therefore can’t tell the difference between HBO and porn) but maybe that’s too much to hope for.

  6. Universal Quitter says:

    Wow, I’m a quick reader and happened upon this with no comments. One login later….

    Anyway, It’s a shame they missed with the 80s spoofing, but that’s not what actually drew me into the game trailers. I just wanted an ultra-violent game without the pretense of a bad social-commentary, or some made up explanation of why the game is actually against violence, despite a body count higher than the Korean War.

    I haven’t played a typical manshooter in years, but some small part of me just wants to fight laser-shooting dinosaurs, while flipping it off.

    • FragStag says:

      I just wanted an ultra-violent game without the pretense of a bad social-commentary, … to fight laser-shooting dinosaurs, while flipping it off.

      That’s exactly what Blood Dragon is and does.

    • karry says:

      “body count higher than the Korean War.”

      But still not as high as Robocop or Total Recall.

      • Kobest says:

        I thought Hot Shots! Part Deux had the highest body count of all time…

  7. Radiant says:

    Is it me or has getting married made John a bit angry at the world?

    • zaphod42 says:

      For a $15 dollar game he was WAAAAY too harsh. This is more fun than FC3 and doesn’t take itself seriously.

      I guess the humor wasn’t his style, but he is very critical, as though the game has no value for anybody. Sorry, but me and lots of my friends are FUCKING JAZZED about this game. I want more over-the-top hilarity.

      I’M SO SICK OF BLACK AND BROWN.

      • Dervish says:

        “he is very critical, as though the game has no value for anybody”

        Oh, so that’s what he meant when he called it a “good game.”

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        If it’s 15bucks worth of crap he has every right to give it a pasting, it’s £12 in the UK, half the cost of a FULL game nearly. So if it’s not a very good small episode he has every right to tell ME to ‘stay well clear till it’s a 75%off sale’

        Thanks John!!!!

      • Radiant says:

        I wasn’t defending the game.
        I was just welcoming John to the rest of his life.

      • Feferuco says:

        Dude please, there hasn’t been much black and brown in FPSs for a while, I’d even argue this wasn’t even that common in the first place. There are tons of action games out there for you if you don’t want brown and grey.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nogo says:

        Having played the dirty pirate version I actually found the visuals to be a step back from Far Cry 3. They took the one franchise built around beautiful sunny locales and replaced it with perpetual darkness, neon bloom and a constant purple fog.

        I agree completely with John though. If you liked FC3 you’ll enjoy this, but the story and dialogue is beyond awful. It’s like they were aiming for a Commando/Rambo spoof but just ended up making Duke Nukem on accident (and not the fun version with the lines we love. The Forever version.)

    • quijote3000 says:

      It seems overly harsh, considering the usually good reviews it has been getting, and that it’s just a 15$ game. I really hope getting married don’t cause angry reviews and getting a white knighthood.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Whatever the cause, John has indeed been coming across in his articles like he’s stuck in a bad mood lately. I’m not demanding an explanation, just stating my personal perception that his writing has this irritable edge that I don’t remember it having before.

      • Ztroskotanec says:

        As we get older, we get more conscious of the limited time we have in the world, and less tolerant of having our time wasted. It could just be that.

  8. drvoke says:

    They should have just picked one 80s motif and stuck with it. I wonder if any of these people were even alive in the 80s? It’s like.. what? GI Joe and Godzilla made a lumpy, awful 3D baby with every 80s side-scrolling Contra-alike and beat-em-up. If it was a riff on those late-80s/early-90s games, it should have stuck with those tropes because there is plenty to mine there, or if it was going for Escape from NY and The Warriors action movie style, it should have stuck with those tropes as there’s plenty there as well.

    As it stands, this looks like a real mess. Not even a hint of identifiable nostalgia. Just… I dunno what. It doesn’t look good, though.

  9. SuicideKing says:

    Ok, that sex scene might make me not play it. Didn’t know about the torture part in FC3, felt sick while doing it, but now that i know this is here in Blood Dragon, i may skip.

    I’m saying “may” because i really wanted to play this, it looked like so much fun. John’s and my tastes usually match…so i dunno.

    • Guvornator says:

      ‘…there’s an incredibly uncomfortable “sex scene”, seemingly entirely consensual, which finishes with the woman shouting, “NO NO NO!” ‘

      Well at uni this was pretty much the sound of my last year, thanks to a horny roommate and his girlfriend. 8 years later they’re still happily together. Obviously I’ve not seen the scene in question, but it is possible to read too much into these things*…

      *she also used to growl and on one occasion shouted “LIKE THE WIND!”. The rest of us were huddled in the living room avoid eye contact…

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Thanks for sharing. Stupid internet…

        • Guvornator says:

          It’s like The Ring.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            I undo your damage thus:

            …tcatnoc eye diova moor gnivil eht ni deldduh erew su fo tser ehT .”!DNIW EHT EKIL“ detuohs noisacco eno no dna lworg ot desu osla ehs*

            …*sgniht eseht otni hcum oot daer ot elbissop si ti tub ,noitseuq ni enecs eht nees ton ev’I ylsuoivbO .rehtegot ylippah llits er’yeht retal sraey 8 .dneirflrig sih dna etammoor ynroh a ot sknaht ,raey tsal ym fo dnuos eht hcum ytterp saw siht inu ta lleW

            ‘ ”!ON ON ON“ ,gnituohs namow eht htiw sehsinif hcihw ,lausnesnoc yleritne ylgnimees ,”enecs xes“ elbatrofmocnu ylbidercni na s’ereht…‘

          • Guvornator says:

            YOU! As a direct result of reading a bunch of your comments a few days ago, I had a dream that I was an adopted orphan called Andy (?) who lived in a forbidding Edwardian Grand House, owned a large dog called Beast and in a particularly traumatic episode, had to go down to the docks to talk to working class people.

            So I’m sort of banning you from undoing any of the harm my comments cause, on the grounds of gross hypocrisy…

      • kael13 says:

        What did I just read?

    • greg_ritter says:

      Wait, don’t you think that the torture scene was there to make you sick? Deliberately? You are under cover. It’s totally justified. Even the tortured was kinda okay with that.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Yeah but i didn’t really want to do it. As in, wouldn’t have done it had there been a choice. No one would have, probably. But seeing that most of FC3 is sort of relaxing and all…it just spoiled the game in that moment.

        I didn’t expect it to turn all serious and shit, you know.

        • Homercleese says:

          “As in, wouldn’t have done it had there been a choice. No one would have, probably.”

          Ahhh, if only. It seems you haven’t heard of the Stanford Prison experiment or the the Milgram experiment. That kind of moral assertiveness seems to be in short supply in humans. At least when there’s the smallest chance of being able to say ‘but he told me to’.

          • Beemann says:

            The Stanford Prison experiment fell victim to selection bias. The Milgram experiment had more to do with accepting authority than autonomous douchebaggery
            And neither really count in a clearly fake and contrived video game scenario regardless, especially when you’re Jason Brody, nigh-invincible mass murdering dudebro. There’s no reason why you couldnt gun your way out of there like you do in pretty much every other scenario

    • quijote3000 says:

      In that case, I’d recommend DA: Origins, or Mass effect, or… wait. Well, you can go to the movies. You have opening this week Love is all you need, the iceman, pain & gain, the great wedding, something in the air… well, shit.

  10. MrThingy says:

    “It ultimately feels like a dismal Peter Kay routine”

    GARLIC BREAD?

  11. LionsPhil says:

    Well, that’s a shame. A somewhat predictable shame, the predictability of which is, indeed, a shame.

    Watching through ’80s and early ’90s action flicks (everything Arnie did in that genre from The Terminator to Eraser should do) should be an actual requirement for making a retro action thing. And playing through DOOM and Quake a requirement if your retro thing is an FPS. (THIS MEANS YOU, HARD RESET.)

    • The Random One says:

      The realization that there is a fair chance that the level designer for any given modern FPS has never played DOOM causes my heart to shiver.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Michael Biehn does the voice of the main character and he was in some of the top 80′s action movies. That has to be some 80′s cyber-points in their favour?

  12. Urthman says:

    Who played Far Cry 3 and thought, “I’ll bet the guys who wrote this could do a very clever and witty satire of the 80s”?

    • TCM says:

      I’m reasonably sure it’s a completely different set of writers? I have to check, but it doesn’t seem in the purview of the old team.

    • zaphod42 says:

      It was an entirely different writer, one who didn’t have his head up his ass being pretentious like the FC3 writer did. FC3 takes itself way too seriously, and sucks.

      This game is a hilarious goofy parody which doesn’t take ANYTHING seriously. That’s what the review misses. The writing here is all way better than FC3 because its FUN. Its not trying to be SUPER CEREAL.

  13. barney says:

    I don’t think it’s trying to spoof anything. I think this is a love letter to the 80s: not going ‘Ha! That was stupid! We’re cleverer than that!’, but ‘That was great! We’re no better than that!’. Although I see what you’re saying: as with Far Cry 3′s incoherent writing, referencing concepts is not ‘commentary’, and neither is it necessarily clever, entertaining or thought-provoking to simply show that you are aware of these cultural objects — directing a team of paid artists, designers and developers to build your meme doesn’t make it any more poignant than an auto-generated animated gif.

    Meanwhile, when you say ‘sort-of expansion’ and then supply a load of qualifiers in parentheses, are you looking for the expression ‘total conversion’?

    Errata:

    pseudo-expansion — not ‘psuedo’. Next you’ll be saying things are ‘different than’ others if we don’t keep an eye on you!

    Also:

    “Bearing in mind the minimized tone to the much of the game” — ‘the minimized tone of much of the game‘ would make more grammatical sense, although I’m still not quite sure what a ‘minimized tone’ is. Do you mean it’s in some way toned-down?

    “Here that sound” — hear that sound.

  14. Dominic White says:

    “It seems to set out to be something of every 80s Saturday morning action cartoon, but then in a flurry of swearing, violence and sex scenes, veers into mocking straight-to-video 80s action movies”

    So, does nobody remember the kids toy lines and saturday morning cartoons spun off of Robocop, Aliens, etc? The 80s was a weird decade like that.

  15. zaphod42 says:

    Oh come on Walker, you seemed to completely miss the point! Maybe this just isn’t for you. Its definitely not for everybody, but if you like Terminator 1 & 2 and Robocop and other 80s schtick, this is awesome.

    ” Cutscenes are barely-animated cartoon sequences ” THEY’RE CHEESY DOS GAME ANIMATIONS. HAVE YOU NEVER PLAYED DOS GAMES BEFORE? THIS IS A HILARIOUS HOMAGE.

    *makes motion of hand over head* Somebody missed the joke.

    I mean seriously, the game says “Mark IV Style, motherfucker!” in the opening cutscene. None of this is serious. Its a hilarious parody.

    • kud13 says:

      Terminator 2 was so 1991

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      I don’t think he’s saying the 80s were inherently good, but that doing something that is stupid and then saying “man that was a stupid plot point!” is not inherently humorous. Generally speaking people often confuse “meta” with “funny.” Meta can be funny, but it’s not automatically funny.

    • Widthwood says:

      No DOS game I remember had cutscenes THAT shitty. I mean, they didn’t even bother adding 2 frame animation when characters moved around! everyone is just sliding all over the frame

      • Kilometrik says:

        THat’s because it’s not actually referencing DOS cutscenes but NES cutscenes (totally different acronyms).

        • Low Life says:

          Yeah, even the composition is the same with only a small part of the screen used for the image. I don’t see how anyone would think they were trying to be cartoons.

        • Widthwood says:

          Yeah, those too :) Cutscenes in those days were carefully directed to deliver as much as possible with the limited resources they had. BD stuff however is just super lazy crap – a single image cut in pieces, moving without any thought or effort from director or animators.

          Great example actually. Notice how at no point do we see a static character with static legs just sliding around – something that happens in BD cutscenes all the time. They had a tight budget on each frame, so that every picture is used as much as possible (something that is completely irrelevant to BD), yet they still draw additinal frames where entire character is visible and is moving – http://youtu.be/EnpAfBKUXGw?t=1m2s

  16. Lagwolf says:

    I have to confess to absolute bloody loving this game. I found it really fun and loved every minute of it. I revelled in its intentional naffness.

  17. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    Loved it. It misfires entirely for the first hour because a compulsory shit tutorial is still a compulsory shit tutorial but after that? Sterling.

    I mean, the cyborgs are men in motorbike helmets, it has giant neon laser dragons, it has fireworks and the best set of videogame steps in a videogame ever.

    I didn’t want to play Far Cry 3 because it was Far Cry 3, stripping it down to crawling around a purple nuclear wasteland, taking out cyborg outposts from zip lines, flipping off laser sharks, making me agile from the off without the need to faff, having both fireworks and lasers and a tremendous soundtrack that meant I’d go hunting laser pigs just to hear the soundtrack? Yeah, that works for me. Having laser pigs in the first place. Laser pigs!

    The script misfires precisely like a really cheap eighties movie and did I mention the game has lasers? Man, lasers.

    There’s a few jokes that definitely needed someone to give them another pass over though, the sex scene entirely unintentionally and clearly unwittingly doesn’t hit where it’s supposed to and someone should definitely have tapped them on the shoulder about it and the tips have a few dodgy shitbombing lying in wait too. Not really a good show there.

    But y’know, GIANT LASER DRAGONS.

    Overall, best big box thing I’ve played this year that’s not Dishonored.

  18. Vraptor117 says:

    “Instead they’ve opted for that so much easier route of just being bad, and saying, “Seeeeeeee?””

    This aspect of it makes it impossible for me to like this game. It’s like a guy at a party that tries to retell a famous comedian’s routine, then gets upset when no one laughs. Add that to the fact that I thought FC3′s shooting was horrendous, and this is a no buy.

    I also thought the tutorial stuff was idiotic. “Ha Ha, don’t lame tutorials suck? Now let’s force you through this lame tutorial anyways because we have to make sure that every mouth breather can figure out how to stab.”

    I get that people like to have “silly” fun; not everything needs to be serious. But people shouldn’t just fork over their money because of lazy, overdone “but but DRAGONS and Predator references!”

  19. walldad says:

    The writing was the game’s strongest suit, if you’re looking for the cheesy one-liner school of FPS dialogue. It gets a nice MST3K-movie vibe going, I guess? I thought it was amusing. For me the tone was more on the irreverent side of satirical.

    I gotta say, when a review cites no examples of where the writing falters except an objectionable sex scene, and lazily punts out of the issue by comparing it to some bad standup comedian, it’s hard to take seriously. When your argument amounts to “it’s irritating” it’s kinda like … well okay, thanks for letting your preference be known? I expected more substance than my own inane, tossed off comment right here.

    BD is horribly balanced — in favor of the player — to the extent where I was simply sprinting through all the corridor sequences of the last half of the game. IThere’s really no challenge to it at all, and it shows just how worthless the AI is and how much FC3 favored systems like crafting and unlocks to create challenge, rather than providing something that tests the players tactics and skill. So yeah, what I’m saying is that it’s a console FPS.

    Good day.

  20. LionsPhil says:

    It’s worth pointing out that Corridor Digital did a pretty awesome cheesy spinoff trailer thing for it.

    For those of you who now spend the rest of their evenings watching all their other stuff, I’m sorry, and you’re welcome. (Clock Stoppers is great. It’s like Frozen Synapse: The Live-Action Short.)

    • Urthman says:

      “Error: CPU / Torso mismatch” – Ha. This is great. Thanks, LionsPhil (Curse you, LionsPhil!)

    • karry says:

      I thought that trailer was crap. Everything seems alright…but there’s no feeling behind it. Contrast it with something really awesome, like the trailer for Sleeping Dogs, or even EC17. Doesnt hold water.

  21. PopeRatzo says:

    but then in a flurry of swearing, violence and sex scenes, veers into mocking

    Swearing, violence, sex scenes and mocking are four of my favorite things. I’m sold.

    And why is this game being held to a much much higher standard than say, Hotline:Miami? Do retro graphics and music really obviate putting on masks and killing hookers with baseball bats, while a single consensual sex scene and some cuss words are beyond the pale?

    John was “Very glad that people are are loving” Hotline Miami, but this game makes him cranky. Can we get a WOT for Blood Dragon from someone who actually likes computer games?

    • Juan Carlo says:

      It’s kind of tiring how everyone at RPS suddenly turned into a bunch of shrill, second-wave, feminists. It’s like it’s 1972 all year round here. I mean I’m not saying it’s unnecessary as there has been an entrenched sexism and homophobia in gaming for years so it is nice to see people in games journalism responding to that, but I think the RPS guys overdo it at times and their perspective on sexism can be a bit narrow and archaic which can sometimes lead them to overstate their cases on this issue in a rush to appear morally “right.” I don’t think they realize that feminists are allowed to have a sense of humor now.

      Anyhow, I just say this because it makes me trust their perspective on certain games less just because nowdays they seem sure to ding anything with any sort of sexual humor in it.

      • greg_ritter says:

        Word, man.

      • Widthwood says:

        I don’t think that RPS should pay that much attention to just one singled out problem in gaming industry, but what actually becomes more tiring is readers finding over the top feminism where none whatsoever exists, and writing these kinds of tirades out of nowhere.

        The thing about Blood Dragon is that it actually is crap. Its made on top of (and is an identical reskinned clone of) another game, one that was made by a lot of professional people (and no, I don’t mean its lead writer), so it is not complete crap – mostly just the parts that they added or changed. The fact that John managed to find specific negative points in that crap is a testament to his reviewing abilities, not a sign of him being a frenzied feminist or whatever you imagined.
        The game looks like someone had a brilliant idea, started development, created some assets, – and then the budget was slashed, they threw the stuff they created together in a couple of months and released it. And to avoid critisizm – turned irony to 11, pointing out to you as their customer – hey dude, look how little effort we put in this crap you just bought, haha!

        • Premium User Badge

          FriendlyFire says:

          Except TB, who’s usually *really* critical of that sort of stuff, enjoyed it very much.

          Honestly, with John’s current streak I think I’ll take TB’s view of things, especially as I could watch what made him tick with the game.

          • Widthwood says:

            Well I don’t have to trust anybody on this – I tried it for couple of hours a month ago when it leaked, and my impressions were exactly as Johns. This WIT only reassured me in my decision not to buy it, seems like that version was final and they didn’t improve anything at all.

    • derbefrier says:

      yep from the sounds of this review I will love this game. Glad I pre ordered it.

      • Kobest says:

        Same here, can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon when the game unlocks. Not really sure why Walker took its style way too seriously. As a commenter above said, sometimes you just want to shoot lasers, flip someone off, and say a bad one-liner. And the animations? Why all the hate? Anyway…

        “What did you do to Sully?”

        “I let him go.”

        • bigjig says:

          Same here. 15 bucks for what seems to be a really fun romp. It’s a shame everything needs to be ‘serious’ and ‘gritty’ to be liked around here. Heaven forbid you play video games for a bit of FUN :P

          • Ztroskotanec says:

            Criticizing an attempted comedy for not being funny enough means he wants it to be more serious?

            We are through the looking glass.

        • DarkMalice says:

          “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?”

          “That’s right, Matrix! You did!”

          “I lied.”

  22. Lagwolf says:

    My take on this daft genius of a game.

    • Low Life says:

      Blood Dragon is not DLC and it doesn’t require Far Cry 3 to play.

  23. Lucid says:

    No, sorry, Blood Dragon is pretty fantastic in pretty much every way imaginable.

  24. kael13 says:

    Oh John, please don’t lose your sense of humour entirely. Can’t wait to play this, daft plot and all!

  25. astralmind says:

    I like RPS… a lot. Pretty much one of the only gaming website I usually put my blind trust in. I must say that this has been the only review so far with which I am entirely disagreeing. Obviously to each their own but I guess John was either born after 1990 or has no sense of humor…

    It is an insanely cheesy over the top game and that’s actually what makes it so awesome. It doesn’t take itself seriously for one second and is deliberately written in that way. Every single aspect of that game reeks of 80s cheesy goodness.

    The gameplay is certainly not deep and could have been more polished, the always dark environment is a lame excuse for cheap and lower end textures but besides that, I find it hard to criticize the game in any ways. At 15$ it is a great value length wise and I haven’t had such a good time playing a game in a long time…

    • Shooop says:

      His issues aren’t with the game’s setting and presentation of the 80s, they’re with it basically being just a re-skinned Far Cry 3 and lack of self-aware humor which it’s just begging for.

      He seems to be saying the humor is the Scary Movie 2 and beyond (for whatever ungodly reason they exist) lazy type of “point to something familiar and have it spew some profanity or not do anything because just acknowledging something is comedy!” That’s not how parody works. If anything that’s anti-parody.

      I’ll be giving it a spin myself because the concept is interesting enough (and this is the same site that picked its predecessor Far Cry 3 as the best game of last year – can’t trust them for all things…).

  26. 2helix4u says:

    Thanks Walker, I’m happy to agree with you.
    Some folk will enjoy it sure, but it fails to be clever about its concept even once. I’m not saying that it needs to be clever though.
    I doubt very much Walker doesnt “get it” its not that hard to get, its just if you actually seek out these kinds of parody this isn’t a very well executed one, or at least isn’t nearly as funny as it could be. It feels very amateur comedian.

  27. Shooop says:

    This somewhat dampens my hopes for the game, but I’ll give it go anyway.

    It’s got enough ludicrous ideas bouncing around that it’s worth looking deeper into, but I already completely agree with you about the tutorial being in horrible taste. Acknowledging people hate something but forcing them to do it anyway in your game is piratically insulting them.

  28. Low Life says:

    I wish they’d gone crazy with the vehicles, as it is now I’d rather just run everywhere. The run speed is high, you can jump properly (and god, the sound jumping makes is so damn satisfying) and there’s no fall damage, so there’s not much point in driving.

    Otherwise, apart from a few bits that didn’t quite hit their mark (like the tutorial joke dragging on too long), I absolutely loved the game. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of points, and I never laugh out loud.

    I found Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann’s review of the game much more agreeable.

  29. rawtheory says:

    What a garbage politically biased site this has become. I only pop in once and a while to see if any other commenters recognize these “reviews” for what they are.

  30. yesterdayisawadeer says:

    Mr. Walker, you wouldn’t recognize fun if it slapped it’s offspring-creating organs across your face.

  31. voidmind says:

    IMO the author doesn’t seem to get the humor in this game. He is pointing at flaws that are considered it’s highlights by most people who have played it (myself included) as well as most reviews. Go see other reviews before deciding whether to get this or not.

  32. Megakoresh says:

    Well, I am not an 80s kid, therefore I thought the game was funny as all hell and will probably play it more. I loved everything they did there including the stupid dialogue and deliberate disconnect between story and gameplay: the character acknowledges the stupidity while in gameplay and seems completely ignorant of it when progressing the storyline.

    Rather than an 80s parody, I like to think of this game as the PROPER Duke Nukem Forever. And suddenly it becomes so much better.

  33. VeloriumTrigger says:

    I think the word “mock” is a bit harsh although this game is a parody of the 80′s, I prefer “homage.”

    I’m not sure what the guys at Ubisoft were thinking. I saw the trailer on April Fool’s so I thought Blood Dragon was far from being an actual game, maybe they were just bored, maybe they want to bridge the generation gap, maybe they were tired of zombie themed expansions, maybe they want to takeover the world, maybe they were high, maybe, maybe, maybe…

    Anyway, despite the jokes and the mixed reviews, Blood Dragon is still a hell of a game and I hope this wouldn’t be the last. Here’s a walkthrough by the way: http://www.cheatmasters.com/blog/2013/05/02/far-cry-3-blood-dragon-guide/

  34. Stagnation says:

    Blood Dragon was incredible. GOTY so far.

    The game perfectly displays what video games would have been like had the 1980s been graced with i7 and Kepler levels of computing power. It fulfills every 9 year old boys dream: being a terminator and slaughtering robots and dinosaurs with lasers.

  35. BarbaraRedding27 says:

    upto I looked at the draft four $4178, I did not believe …that…my mom in-law was actualey erning money in their spare time at their computer.. there friend brother started doing this for only 1 year and resently paid for the mortgage on their villa and purchased a great new Lotus Elan. read more at, Bow6.com

  36. Hyperion says:

    I really dont agree with this. A serious review of a not so serious game (reminds me of IGN’s review of Godhand). I’ve played this 3 times over and the pacing of the game, even those tedious collection items didnt bother me. As for the constant mission reminders, they had fixed those in FC3 some time ago and you can disable them in Blood Dragon under the settings menu. The tutorial made me chuckle, was a horrible thing to do to your teammate along with the rest of the silliness and one liners.

    The game is horrible. But its the best $15 I’ve ever spent and I’m glad ubisoft is considering a “full sized” sequel in the future.