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Verhille: Blood Dragon is a great time for being reasonably priced

BY DAN VERHILLE | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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Blood Dragon recipe: Begin with Far Cry 3 engine, coat bright tropical colors in dark frosting, sprinkle on pinball-esque color schemes and bright explosions, serve atop an '80s action-movie setting with a heavy side of sardonic and melodramatic overtones.

While the recipe may sound like one for a disastrous game, Ubisoft's stand-alone expansion is actually a pretty damn good time once you completely suspend your disbelief.

This actually isn't a very difficult task as retro graphics set the intentionally ridiculous scene: Cyborg protagonist Sgt. Rex Power Colt, apparently a Mark IV Cyber Commando —whatever that means — is on a mission to "get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the world."

Seems familiar right? Well, good, because this is a game built on satirizing VHS-era video games and bad action movies and everything they entail, including cyborg armies, an arbitrary plot, good music, postapocalyptic terrain, blood dragons, and lots and lots of shooting dumb bad-guys.

The introduction is a rip-off of the Six Million Dollar man and delivers all the fake jargon one could ask for with its "limb-actuators" and "black-sector threats," not to forget, of course, a healthy dose of unnecessary cursing and homophobic jokes.

The tutorials are in on the bad cliché jokes as well, the first one being "press A to confirm you can read," which digress into the more ridiculous, like asking if you're tired of the patronizing tutorials.

The actual world of the game was much darker than I expected, although the black mountains lit up with pillars of red light are simply stunning. The darkness, however, provides for epic contrast, and when I blasted a cyborg into blue goop after a gunfight that looked like someone setting a high score on a pinball machine, my reaction was a simple one: "Whoa, this is bodacious."

Normally I would talk about the game more technically, but that would in a certain sense be trying to compare apples and oranges. The technical discussions of the Far Cry 3 engine have already happened, so if you enjoyed the original game, don't go read about Blood Dragon, just submerge yourself in the blissful reminiscence of the golden age of video-game style.

You will probably need to have played video games before the Nintendo 64 to get the full effect of the nostalgia, but even if you aren't a veteran gamer and you've seen a Hollywood action movie in which the main character ironically goes on a killing rampage to save the world, you'll get the gist of the experience.

If you're willing to cast doubt aside, Blood Dragon is a great time for being reasonably priced and definitely gives you a better bang for your buck than other recently released DLCs from Ubisoft Montreal, ahem Assassin's Creed III.


Name: Blood Dragon
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Shanghai
Genre: First-person shooter, action-adventure
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Microsoft Windows
Release date: May 1


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