It's July 4th! The day of America. The day all the other countries put the word "freedom" in their blocklists because they are weak. Now, even though you're not READING this on July 4th, (I have a 1/365 chance I'm right,) it was POSTED then, so the point still stands. Also, I'm not writing this on July 4th either, but whatever. The point is: This is a day for America, and I needed an American game.
Pretend for a second you don't already know what this review is about. I recently got a new computer, and my Steam list had opened itself to a whole new realm of games I can play now. I needed something with a good rhythm, with a good message, with a good price tag. So since I got Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon last year and Broforce costs money, I decided to play Blood Dragon.
Winners don't do drugs, they play Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a standalone expansion for Far Cry 3 which is set in a neon soaked version of what the 80s thought 2007 would look like. Canada has been nuked to hell, cyber-commandos are the norm, and regular boring animals are now either glowing, different colors, or exactly the same except with a cooler texture. You are Rex Power Colt, last of the Mark IV cyborgs and a total badass. His old crew, Omega Force, have gone rouge in a dastardly plot to take over the world, and it's up to Rex, his partner Spider and his AI HUD to take down their leader, Sloan. Man, it really does sound like a shitty 80s movie when I write it out.
And that's exactly what the game is going for. Faint scanlines are overlayed on the screen, VHS tracking is used for the loading screens, they went and got Michael Biehn to play the main character (and do a deliciously terrible job too.) 80s influenced band Powerglove did all the music, and a lot of it is remixes of 80s movie tracks. Omega Force soldiers look like they've got painted 80s motorcycle helmets for heads, and I, as both fan of and cosplayer of The Protomen, am very familiar with these helmets. Remember when I said "neon-soaked" last paragraph? I'm not kidding. Giant bright lasers shoot into the sky to mark garrisons. All the technology is glowing. You get a bow that is literally just a bow but with blue neon paint. The future is now!
The definition is insanity is different every time
I didn't play Far Cry 3: Regular Dragon, so I'm assuming it's about shooting dudes on a tropical island, only the dudes aren't wearing cool robo-helmets. You'll have to forgive me then, as I bumble through the mechanics of this game, since I don't know the actual differences between the two. The main non-mission gameplay consists of going to various Omega Force garrisons and killing everyone inside, liberating them for the friendly faction, the scientists. I'm not sure why Omega Force is fighting the scientists, actually. It feels like a plot point they glossed over, and considering the tone of the rest of the game I'm not sure if it's intentional.
Capturing the Garrisons unlock Adventure Terminals, which allow you to play one of two types of side missions: Kill an enemy/animal with a specific weapon or rescue a scientist hostage. One is significantly more fun than the other, and here's why. To rescue the hostage, you have to stealthily kill all the Omega Force dudes without them seeing you, otherwise they start attack the hostages.
Now, I've played some Tactical Espionage Action. I know my way around pressing buttons behind people. And I know, this is not this game's strong suit. A dude named something like Rex Power Colt would not be messing around with something lame like stealth. He'd be shooting guns! This is the only excuse I can think of on why stealth is so not great in this game. You have a fairly unlimited supply of d20s to throw and distract troops (Something I assume was like a rock in the original FC3.) Then you can sneak up, take them down, and if you get into a good grove, stab any dudes nearby and/or throw a shiruken at someone. That's the plan. The reality is these dudes can see you a mile away, mostly ignore your shitty rolls and are in enclosed spaces so I can't use my bow from a distance.
This comes into play too with the titular Blood Dragons. Yes, they're real and not just a cool name. These are giant, near blind lizards with, you guessed it, glowing neon skin. The only way to avoid these guys is by crouching so they can't hear you, and throwing the hearts of Omega Force you ripped out of their goddamn chests. These work about as well as the d20s, only you really want them to work better since, y'know, these are massive giant fucking laser shooting dragons.
The game's humor is pretty solid. It's not above the occasional meme, but some of the dialouge genuinely made me laugh, especially the scientists. I also enjoyed the little stickers on the crates lying around. It's not a masterpiece of writing, but should it be?
A bit too awesome
The endgame takes you through a gauntlet of enemies using various weapons, which is a kinda weird shift in pace and is, again, not really explained. Then you get the best weapon in the entire game, and get to play what I call the "breeze level." You know what level I mean. The one right before you fight the final boss and you just get to wreck shit with pretty much no resistance. It's a blast. Then, you get ANOTHER incredible weapon, and there's ANOTHER breeze level. Then a cutscene and.... it's over. No awesome final boss fight. Sorry for the spoilers but I felt really let down by that, especially from this game. I was really looking forward to the fight, too.
All in all, the game doesn't outstay its welcome, as some joke games are prone to do these days. It's nothing really innovative, but it's a nice break from other shooters. I'm hoping for a Blood Dragon 2: Revenge of Blood or something, hopefully breaking away from the Far Cry forumla and becoming something of its own. And if we believe in America enough, hopefully we can make our dreams come true.