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Blood Dragon is the perfect piece of stand-alone DLC. Much in the same vein as others that have come before it, Infamous, Sleeping Dogs and Red Dead Redemption, it is an expansion that removes itself entirely from the lore and sensibilities of its predecessors. Infamous Festival of Blood was all about Vampires and Sleeping Dogs and Red Dead Redemption continued the horror trend with ghosts and zombies. Now as much as it was fun to hear about these expansions I am sick to death with zombies and the un-dead this generation. So I was over the moon when the teaser poster for Blood dragon was released and it looked like someone had vomited the 80’s everywhere! The neon, the heavy metal logo, the wire frame mountains and the deep hues of navy blue and dark purple. I couldn’t have been more hyped if I tried. I just hoped that this wouldn’t be another bland stand-alone disappointment. It wasn’t!

Blood Dragon starts with a glorious 32bit style cut-scene that is as ridiculous and far-fetched as it is funny! The game is set in an alternative 2007 (you remember those sci-fi action films from the 70’s and 80’s that showed the year 2000 as a war torn holocaust? Yeah, this is that!) And the world is recovering from the fallout of Vietnam War II. You play as main protagonist Sergeant Rex Power Colt. A renegade soldier who, to quote the game, is part man, part machine, ALL cyber commando. And his mission is to thwart a cyborg army called Omega Force and save the world from another nuclear catastrophe like the one that befell Canada!

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So far so silly. And it doesn’t stop there. During the game Rex will jump the shark (literally), ride self-aware cyber blood dragons and assassinate this world’s version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Short as this game may be it never lets up on the action. Like Far Cry 3 you still have an open world to explore but it’s much smaller and much more traversable than its predecessor. This being said the map is still full to the brim of cyber demon wildlife to hunt, enemy barracks to liberate, side missions and a plethora of collectables to seek out. And this is a game that wants you to succeed. Very early on you can unlock maps that show you where all the collectables are. This makes exploring and hunting feel like much more of an adventure and less of a slog.

Levelling up Rex has also been streamlined for a quicker less hassle experience. Gone are the skill trees of FC3. Instead every time Rex gains a level he will gain a pre-selected ability. This ranges from an extra health slot to increased speed and reduced noise whilst in stealth mode. Thus away is taken the stress of deciding where to drop skill points.

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The weapons also deserve a special mention as they are a joy to mess around with. Not since Borderlands 2 has a game made me smile as much as when I’ve upgraded some of these machines of death. You start off with the basics (all of which are named to reference some awesome action films. The shotgun is aptly named the Galleria 1991, a direct reference to the Terminator films) but soon these are pimped up to the max! My basic one barrelled shotgun is now a quadruple barrelled explosive flame ammo’d weapon of mass destruction. And it kicks ass!

The main story arc isn’t that long but the distractions in this dingy violet world are vast. Every time you liberate a base this then unlocks side quests which in turn upon completion award you with exp, money and new upgrades for your arsenal. So there is soooo much here to keep you occupied. Even after the main story is done you are free to explore and maim to your heart’s content whilst you strive to obtain 100% completion.

The music is also fantastic. A mixture of grimy sci-fi clichés such as the Aliens or Terminator themes. To full out full blown awesome 80’s cock rock! Seriously there is very little time for you to frown during the course of this game as you’ll be smiling so much.

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I only have very two tiny little niggley niggles with the game. The first is that I played through on normal and the game goes very quickly from being fairly challenging to a walk in the park. Mainly due to the very generous amounts of experience that is handed out for very nearly everything you do. And the other is that WHERE THE HELL IS THE FINAL BOSS FIGHT?!?! The end of the game does a brilliant job of ramping up the tension and action for what is surely going to be one of the greatest fights in videogame history, only to relegate it to a short 32bit cut scene. For shame. It did make me feel a little short changed after enjoying the journey to this point so much.

And finally a very quick word on the stars of this masterpiece, the blood dragons themselves. Towering and menacing, these neon striped beasts really are a force to be reckoned with. Not only are these deceptively large hulks quick on their feet (claws?) but they can also shoot freakin’ lasers from their eyes! YEAH FROM THEIR EYES! However they can be of help to you in the game. You see every time you loot the body of a fallen enemy you take their cyber heart. Now cyber hearts just so happen to be a blood dragons favourite treat. So after you have stealthily infiltrated an enemy base and lowered the shields surrounding it, just find yourself a nice quite spot and toss a heart into the middle of the barracks and sit back and enjoy the carnage as one of these unstoppable beasts tears it apart for you!

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That about wraps things up really. There still feels like there is so much to talk about and go into but half the fun is finding all these silly easter eggs and references yourself. Like I said at the start this really is a perfect slice of gaming. At £11.99 you definitely get your money’s worth. With so much content, action, humour and gameplay at your fingertips you will probably be left asking yourself, as I did, why can’t some full blown full priced retail games be this good? Well stop wasting time listening to me wax lyrical for another hour. Go and download this game. It’s a simple as that! You won’t regret it!

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Comments
  1. hughesn7 says:

    Thanks for the recommendation for my OST review ! Much appreciated.

  2. Thanks for the shout out! (Lagasaurus Rex.com)

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