The Average Gamer

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Hands-On Preview

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon - Logo
If Far Cry 3 (FC3) was an extreme parody, Blood Dragon is a balls-to-the-wall pisstake of all shooters everywhere. From the opening tutorial to the rampaging dinosaur climax, it feels like Ubisoft Montreal took all the criticisms of Far Cry 3 and threw them right back into our collective faces. And it’s glorious, silly, fun

Hate tutorial levels? We know. Suck it. Cyborg ninjas would be the best thing ever? Here you go. What’s that about dinosaurs? You want them to shoot lasers? You got it.

And to top it all off, they’ve created a bizarre 80s cartoon trailer to go with it. Welcome to the future of 2007:

At heart, it’s still very obviously Far Cry 3. As cyber-commando Sgt. Rex “Power” Colt, you start out with many of the powers that FC3’s Jason had to earn – unlimited underwater swimming and dropping from great heights without taking damage. Healing still has you jabbing needles into your forearm with no damage and you get a full array of weapons with silly names. The Fazertron, an assault rifle. The Kobracon, or sniper rife. The Molotox! It’s a molotov cocktail but everyone knows that using an “x” makes it THE FUTURE.

Opening with this generation’s post-apocalyptic classic set-piece, I started out behind a minigun turret in a helicopter, ripping through the requisite tankers full of explosive fuel and taking down rival choppers before the inevitable crash into a world jam-packed with clichés.

Waking up took me through the tutorial – how to walk, how to run, how to sneak up on people from behind and stab them through the neck, how to use the limp body as cover while you chain-kill nearby soldiers with your shuriken. You know, the usual cyber-commando skills.

What would have been useful is how to recognise the alarm box. The voice embedded in my cyborg head helpfully told me that disabling the alarm would be a good idea but didn’t actually show me what it looked like. So I killed everyone instead, ducking into hangars to avoid the truck-mounted turrets and slinging grenades at fuel tankers to take out groups of enemies. Hey, I’m a cyber-commando. I can do that if I want.

Once inside the base, I was accompanied by my cyber-ninja sidekick Lt. T. T. Brown. He’s not much of a ninja, to be honest. While we infiltrated the base, he preferred to stand in the corridors next to explosive barrels while sending me up the gantries to drop down onto unsuspecting soldiers. Air assassinations are also ridiculously easy – jump vaguely near an enemy from a higher point and you’ll automatically perform a blade execution. Jump down on a pair and you’ll do a double execution. There’s probably some joy in finding the perfect order to assassinate people by chaining shuriken kills with these takedowns. I (again) opted to take the guns-blazing route of ignoring the alarms and shotgunning everyone in the face. It was fabulous.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon - ShotgunAfter destroying everything and going through “Oops, you got bopped on the head and all your weapons are gone” rite-of-passage, I found myself in a valley of dinosaurs blood dragons. They look like T-Rexes and they have crappy vision like T-Rexes. Admittedly, they’re also riddled with neon plumbing and they fire lasers from their faces so perhaps these aren’t quite the dinosaurs that Far Cry 3 fans were clamouring for.

When you kill a cyber soldier you can run over the body to pick up money and ammo but you have to actually stop and press a button to rip their hearts from their cyborg bodies. Weird and gruesome this may be but it comes in pretty handy later on when you’re trying to avoid the blood dragons. They have rubbish eyesight and great hearing, so you’ll have to crawl your way through the valley but apparently they have a great sense of smell when it comes to cyber-hearts. Or, if you think about it too much, they don’t because they can’t smell the 14 hearts you’ve jammed into your cyber-trousers. The one that you’ve tossed away? They can smell that from the other side of the valley.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon - Minigun_battleThe preview build culminated in an attack on another base, where the open-world features were helpfully flagged by the voice inside my head. Blow the generator shields to let the dragons in, sneak in myself and kill everything, or some other option that I wasn’t listening to because I’d much rather watch a blood dragon wreak havoc than do any of the hard work myself.

This was suspiciously easily done, despite the nearby dragons taking a keen interest in me when I approached the generator with my explosives. I even ran around a bit to see just how devastating a blood dragon is to cyber-commando. The answer is “Not very.” I let the thing nibble on me a couple of times with little result before getting bored and slinging a heart away in the distance. Maybe cyber-commando Sgt. Colt has a different type of blood pumping through his cyber-heart that’s not as tasty.

Blood Dragon is essentially a stripped-down version of Far Cry 3 (but in THE FUTURE!) You’ll progress by gaining Cyber Points (a futuristic term for XP) for kills and fancy kills, but there’s no complex skill tree to customise. Instead, you level up and get a health boost. Level up some more, get a speed boost. Do it again and maybe unlock an extra takedown. The same goes for the collectibles. Find nine special TV sets, get a double-barrelled shotgun upgrade. Find eight of Dr. Carlyle’s notes, get a mag upgrade. It gets straight to the point and is absolutely fitting for a standalone downloadable game. I can’t wait to play the full thing.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon will be out later this year on XBLA and PSN and presumably some sort of PC platform.

More Screenshots

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