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May 12 2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
3/5/2013$AU21.95UbisoftUbisoft Montreal1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Using the Dunia 2 engine Blood Dragon looks great - if a little red.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is such an interesting release for a couple of reasons. First of all, despite the Far Cry 3 branding in the title - the game has absolutely no links to that game - no Vaas, no Buck and no Jason Brody. Indeed this is a completely different storyline, set in a completely different time period, but with the same gameplay elements in place. It's also important to note this isn't an expansion pack, but a standalone game which anyone, even those without Far Cry 3 can purchase. Huzzah to that! So what's it about then?

You are Sergeant Rex Colt: Mark IV Cyber Commando. The year is 2007 and Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear war which erupted in the 90s. The east vs. west conflict has raged for generations, and humanity continues to struggle to progress after a disastrous decade. New paths for peace must be found, and the US cyborg army may have found a solution: a powerful bioweapon on a distant island. Your mission is to gather information and figure out what the hell is going on.

Before we move onto the details of the game we have to point out that if you love 1980s action films then you should get a kick out of this game. There are so many movie references with quotes, music and visual cues that will often have you in stitches. What are some of these films? Well think Terminator, Predator, Star Wars, Cyborg, Die Hard, Rambo, Robocop and so many more. It's a blast just trying to find these references.

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Enemies in Blood Dragon look superb.
Just like Far Cry 3 this is a first person shooter with a range of weapons including a pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle, machine gun, grenades and more. There are seven main missions to complete in the game, as well as 13 enemy garrisons to liberate from the enemies however the game includes secondary missions including the ability to hunt animals, or rescue a hostage. While these don't relate to the games (pretty thin) story, they do contribute to your character's total experience points and often provide new weapon attachments.

One difference from Far Cry 3 to Blood Dragon is that you don't start out with few weapons or ability and then build them up over time - you're an action guy right from the get go here with plenty of weapons and explosives on offer. You character can upgrade these weapons (mainly by completing side missions), but it's a simplistic mechanism of upgrading when you reach the right experience level.

In keeping with Far Cry 3 this game includes wildlife to hut, or avoid as many of these have been mutated. When playing this game I recalled a scene in an Austin Powers film where Dr. Evil talks about "Sharks with frickin' laser beams". Well, the developers of this game seem to have liked that line as this game contains Dragon's with lasers, and they're pretty friggin' awesome! These Blood Dragons not only look great but can be used to attack enemies by taking down garrison security barriers and letting them loose.

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Infiltrating one of the enemy labs.
One thing we noticed about this game, and we're not sure if this is a wide issue, or just due to the amount of junk on our PS3, but the games initial loading (or Tracking Screen) can take forever (well, over a minute) to get past. We encountered the same issue with Far Cry 3 as well so just be aware of a long initial loading time. Fortunately once in the game the loading, after you die for instance, is a matter of seconds. Other changes, you don't die when falling from great heights, you can hold your breath and swim for as long as you like (just watch out for the bionic sharks!), and sprint forever.

Again, I want to bring up a question about the rating on this game. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has been given an R18+ rating, which is interesting as it's essentially the same game as Far Cry 3, and while there may be a little more swearing, the enemies being shot in this game are cyborgs, not humans. Apparently the rating was awarded due to a single sex scene - but it's during a cut-scene with 16-bit visuals. Crude at best, and in our book hardly worthy of the higest rating. If anything the ratings on these two games should be reversed. Still, this isn't a game for youngsters.

It should be pointed out that several aspects that made Far Cry 3 such a comprehensive package are missing here. Gone is the level editor so there's no way to create and share maps (and there's no way to play levels created in Far Cry 3 here). The bigger omission though is that of multiplayer - this is a single player experience only which is a bit of a shame, but we have to remember this is a budget release and at $AU21.95, this remains great value. The final big omission is that of a detailed leveling up system. In this game you level up simply by experience points earned, and when you move up the level you get a set "unlock".

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Visuals are on-par with Far Cry 3, although cut-scenes are in 16-bit comic form.
As expected Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a visually impressive game. Using the same Dunia 2 engine as the main game everything here looks fantastic with detailed locations, great animations and gorgeous explosions. The post- apocalyptic deep red skies mean the game is pretty dark from start to finish, but it's a unique look that we enjoyed. Despite the darkness the game is often filled with over the top neon lighting and bright colours which, in conjunction with the dark red skies, certainly gives the game a unique look.

As with Far Cry 3 however there are occasional issues of screen-tearing, and it appears this game suffers a little more from frame rate issues, but they are rarely to the point of distraction. In keeping with the 1980s styled action and theme the cut-scenes are similar to the static, or near-static, 16-bit storytelling moments you would have found on the old SNES or Megadrive consoles. It's good, but in all honesty I would have loved a couple of high quality cut-scenes to match the production values in the gameplay sections.

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An enemy cops a shot to the head!
We have to start talking about the audio in this game with the music. Australian electronic music duo Power Glove have composed the soundtrack for the game and it's an absolute cracker with much inspiration from those many 1980s synthesized sounds. In fact you can here some of the songs from the game here on Soundcloud. Have a listen to "Warzone" and tell me which sci-fi film you believe may be the inspiration. It's great.

Dialogue is a key component of this game and Michael Biehn has been hired to voice Sergeant Rex Colt. He has plenty to say during the game too, not only in the cut scenes, but also after taking down enemies, completing mission objectives or talking to others. The dialogue is often (deliberately) groan-worthy, but perfectly suited to the 1980s action film era which makes it a big positive to setting the "vibe" for this game.

For the price of a pub meal Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a fantastic title. If you're a fan of 1980s action films (think Schwarzenegger in particular) then this is pretty much a no brainer - it's a fantastic game, with a fantastic sense of humour and technically polished as well. We love it.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSIt uses the Dunia 2 engine from Far Cry 3, so is quite polished, but a bit dark, too red, and not without occasional flaws.
SOUNDCheesy 1980s music, laser blasts, corny dialogue. It's all here, and it's fantastic.
GAMEPLAYA great first person shooter, with a range of ways to take out enemies. Very entertaining.
VALUEIt's $22 for several hours of very amusing, but still quite competent FPS action. No multiplayer disappoints, but for the price it's understandable.
OVERALLFar Cry 3: Blood Dragon may not have any storyline links to the actual FPS it's named after, but it's a cracking good time and highly recommended especially to those who love 1980s action films.

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