Most Intriguing Idea: I Love the 80s: the FPS!
Best Design Decision: High walls around outposts
Worst Design Decision: As usual, zombies
Video game violence is mostly stupid and unbelievable. This makes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon a superior FPS almost by default, as it is one of the few first-person shooters with a story and world dumb and ridiculous enough to match its gameplay. Sergeant Rex Power Colt punching a cybershark with his cyber-fist makes sense in a way that Dude McBro gutting a jaguar to make himself a new purse never did. What’s more, Blood Dragon improves on Far Cry 3‘s formula in almost every way. Most of the outposts have high walls and interesting interior level design, and there’s no experience penalty for setting off an alarm, eliminating the tedious long-range stealth approach that the main game incentivized (a lack of silenced weapons is also important in this regard). The missions still have area borders, but mostly take place inside so this doesn’t matter quite as much. Weapons and upgrades are now rewards for completing challenges rather than just climbing towers, making them feel more earned.
Blood Dragon wobbles towards the end, however. The penultimate mission is a series of arena fights against running zombies that is not only pointlessly frustrating but also completely disconnected from everything else that the game is about. Worse, this gets followed up with a training montage (including a dubious sex scene) that goes on waaay too long. The final mission, with its laser arm and machinegun-equipped dinosaur, is almost perfect, but the game ends on a slightly down note with another overlong cutscene where the big bad dies without any player intervention. Blood Dragon could also have done with a bit more quantity and variety in sidequests, and really needed a more thorough reskin on its vehicles. A real night-day cycle would also have been appreciated, although I can understand if the developers didn’t think they could make the neon aesthetic work in daylight.
Blood Dragon is superior to the base game. The missions, with that one exception, are better, the level design, especially in the outposts, is much improved, and the tone of the story meshes much better with the tone of the mechanics. I liked it.