Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is still one of the more well-received entries in the Far Cry series. It came out right after fan-favorite Far Cry 3 and mined ‘80s nostalgia just before that became incredibly played out. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition, the 2021 rerelease, seems poised to remind players of a time when Far Cry was still fresh and show the game in an even better light. But it doesn’t and is a mediocre port job that makes it clear why Ubisoft avoided the “remaster” label with this one.

Blood Dragon Classic Edition couldn’t even earn the “remaster” label since it is hardly distinguishable from its original 2013 release. Side-by-side comparisons of the original PlayStation 3 version and the PlayStation 4 version running on a PlayStation 5 are hardly distinguishable from one another. There is obviously a resolution bump, but there’s not much of a need to technically analyze it and crunch the numbers because its lack of visual upgrades is easily apparent because it just looks old.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition Is a Disappointing, Low-Effort 'Remaster' of a Good Game

Some of it is by design. There is a VHS-like filter covering the whole game and the island itself is drenched in a thick layer of fog, but these stylistic choices are working against the title in this context since it’s clear that Ubisoft didn’t allocate many resources into upgrading this game. Essentially, these established choices to purposely make the game worse seem less like deliberate creative decisions now and more like elements of a rushed, underdeveloped rerelease.

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There’s not even a native PS5 or Xbox Series X|S version of the game so Blood Dragon Classic Edition is also limited by its refusal to jump to newer systems. Playing the game through backwards compatibility doesn’t even give Xbox Series X|S or PS5 owners any special boost, meaning that the game only runs at 30 frames per second.

Such a frame rate is perfectly playable in most instances, but is a struggle here given the troubling amount of input latency. It’s not unplayable, but it is unresponsive. Its wonky and overly jittery aiming sensitivity makes this even worse as it’s easy to overshoot targets when fighting the lag and sensitive reticule.

The performance is even more of a head-scratcher, given how Far Cry 3, 4, 5, New Dawn, and Primal (not to mention multiple Assassin’s Creed games) all run at 60 frames per second on Xbox Series X|S. Ubisoft has even updated Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to run at 60 frames on PS5 and new Xbox systems, too. It’s ridiculous that this game from 2013 runs at such a frame rate in light of Ubisoft’s other better-performing titles and even more ridiculous that it has input lag on top of it. Ubisoft also hasn’t added any accessibility options, something its newer titles have done exceptionally well at.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition Is a Disappointing, Low-Effort 'Remaster' of a Good Game

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition isn’t a total farce since its humor and charm can hold up independently of its technical shortcomings. The overly silly story has a fair share of decent one-liners and purposely cheesy scenes that make it a joy to pay attention to. Thankfully, it also doesn’t overstay its welcome, a rarity in modern Ubisoft titles.

Aliens and The Terminator’s Michael Biehn also delivers his grumbly lines well and fits the hypermasculine badass profile that was prominent in ‘80s films. His machismo both works for parody as well as an honest portrayal of the action stars he’s parodying, making him a great fit either way. Combined with some solid visual gags, Blood Dragon Classic Edition is still a relatively funny game that commits to its bit and only overdoes it when matching the ‘80s excess it is poking fun at.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition Is a Disappointing, Low-Effort 'Remaster' of a Good Game

And even though Blood Dragon Classic Edition’s underwhelming technical specs hold it back, the base game itself is mostly sturdy. There’s still a decent core here of taking over bases that is mindlessly fun, if all too familiar at this point since Ubisoft hasn’t iterated much on that idea since. Infiltrating bases stealthily or with the business end of a machine gun hasn’t changed much.

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Most of Blood Dragon’s simplicity works, but it is a double-edged neon blade. Being a downloadable spin-off at its core, Blood Dragon condenses the Far Cry experience down to its essence and creates a shorter and snappier progression loop that doesn’t go on unnecessarily. But it can also be limiting as there aren’t as many options or gameplay systems as, say, Far Cry 6. There’s also not much to do outside of clearing out bases and doing rudimentary side missions either, which makes the world feel empty. The actual blood dragons roaming around are the only aspect that is genuinely new since that sort of hulking, Big Daddy-esque beast hasn’t been replicated in the series since.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Classic Edition is a competent game trapped in a crude port. The list of technical shortcomings is inexcusable, even if it doesn’t call itself a proper remaster. And even though rereleasing games isn’t without value, Blood Dragon Classic Edition should have been more than that. Its humor and style have withstood the sands of time rather well and its gameplay, while basic, wouldn’t require much to bring it more in line with modern standards. It didn’t need to be fully remade, but it definitely deserved to be more than a hasty port that was quietly pushed out in the middle of the night with no official warning.

By admin