Tag Archives: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

2014 Game Completed Comics, #16 – Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

2014 games completed 16 - far cry 3 blood dragon facebook

Every videogame that I complete in 2014 will now get its very own wee comic here on Grinding Down. It’s about time I fused my art with my unprofessional games journalism. I can’t guarantee that these comics will be funny or even attempt to be funny. Or look the same from one to another. Some might even aim for thoughtfulness. Comics are a versatile form, so expect the unexpected.

Brothers, a tale of two analog control sticks

brothers tale of two sons completed

Many might think it is strange that I immediately went from Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, but that’s just how I roll sometimes. Kind of needed a bit of a palette cleanser, if you will, from the outlandish exploits of Rex Powercolt. And boy did I get it, both from a story and tone perspective, but also from a control scheme. See, I constantly kept messing up which was the grenade button in Blood Dragon, as it always seems to switch between the shooters I play and have played, like Borderlands 2, Gears of War, and Grand Theft Auto V. There is still plenty of confusion to experience in Brothers, but it never has to do with tossing grenades; I’ll explain in a bit.

Brothers is a game that, not surprisingly, revolves around two brothers. One older, the other younger. They live in a nameless fairytale-like world, which more than likely means death and a lesson is right around the corner. Alas, their father is very sick and dying, and the two boys decide to venture off into the wild in search of a very unique and rare medicine, one that can hopefully save the man that raised them. That really is the meat of the story–two siblings battling the elements to save their father’s life–and while it is pretty simple from a plot perspective, it is delicately handled, with love and care and admiration. You could even almost name Starbreeze Studios as the third brother, looking for the other two.

What makes Brothers stand out, for me, is its control scheme and dedication to not speaking a comprehensible word while still being able to tell a coherent story. We’ll start on the former of those two. Each of the two brothers is controlled by one dual stick; that means there is no switching between them, you are controlling both at all times. If I recall correctly, the older brother is the left stick and left trigger, and the other brother commands the right stick and right trigger. The nameless brothers can each perform unique interactions in the environment, such as swimming or climbing up a ladder, and the game’s puzzles revolve mostly around traversal and using these mechanics in tandem.

A couple months before I played Brothers, I also tried out a little ibb and obb. That’s an indie puzzle platformer on PSN with a very similar control scheme, though it does allow for a second player to control one of the two colored blobs, but I went at it solo and nearly broke my brain. Trying to use both sticks at the same time was quite difficult when precise timing and jumping was at hand. Thankfully, since Brothers is slower paced and much more lax, I was able to control both bodies just fine, except for one area where they are tied together with string, and you have to use them in a steady, physics-based rhythm. Also, there’s a hang-gliding sequence that proved problematic until I figured out how to properly tilt left and right just enough to turn without tumbling down to the ground.

Like many, I played through the entire game in one sitting…and didn’t earn a single stupid, trivial Trophy. I love that. Good on the developers. Evidently, the unlockable Trophies are hidden off the main path and demand that you truly explore the world as you come across it. I thought there might have been on for sitting at every bench, but nothing came of that, and when I find some free time down the line, I think I’ll return to Brothers and take it even slower, scouring the levels for these extra slices of interactivity and the vacuous ping of an unlocked digital picture. This also means I get to spend more time listening to the literally soaring soundtrack again, and that’s fine by me.

Brothers is not a very long or happy journey, about three to four hours, but it is a memorable one. It’s driven by love and compassion, and contains some strikingly gloomy and beautiful visuals that will give you pause, that foreshadow events to come and flesh out the world. There’s a moment near the conclusion of the journey that hits you like a rolling boulder, but I wish it lasted longer, as the impact of all that is quickly swept away by the final cutscene of the game and everything ending. Regardless, this one comes highly recommended.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon stole my neon-glowing cyber-heart

far cry 3 dragon iconic thoughts copy

Well, this was unexpected. Over the course of just a few days, I burned through nearly everything Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon had to offer, and I loved every minute of it. Well, just about. Trying to kill a cyber-shark with a grenade was tedious and based around luck, and some of the “save the scientist” side missions required too much perfect planning to pull off effectively, but otherwise–this was a whole lot of fun. And yes, I find that very strange, considering I’ve never wanted anything to do with the mainstay Far Cry franchise, even the newest one that Blood Dragon takes its engine and mechanics from.

The crazy, totally 1980s-influenced story goes a little like this: Rex Powercolt, a Mark IV Cyber Commando, is on a mission to save the world from the corrupt and evildoings of Colonel Ike Sloan and his Omega Squad. This all takes place in a post-Vietnam War II world, brimming with neon and enhanced super soldiers, as well as a dragon or two. To stop Sloan, Powercolt must go on an epic quest of killing, sneaking, commandeering, and straight-up loving, becoming the badass super soldier he was constructed to be. It’s a bombastic story, but one backed by history, and if you have an appreciation for the genre and era, as I do, having been a boy that watched every single American Ninja film that came out, it’s wonderfully delightful without being stupidly cheesy.

I downloaded Blood Dragon because it was not Far Cry 3, and by that I mean, sure, it looked visually different from the green-and-blue tropical jungle setting where tigers roam and waterfalls fall, but it also wasn’t focused on shooting real people/animals with real guns in a realistic manner, something I have an aversion to. I’d rather shoot super soldiers with a laser beam powered by the amount of health bars I have. It’s not an expansion or piece of DLC; it’s an appetizing, alternate take on sound mechanics, for those that grew up in an era when action heroes spoke gruffly and took on the seemingly impossible. Oh, and all that is backed by a throbbing, synth-heavy soundtrack, that spasms and perfectly sets the mood and kicks into action whenever Powercolt himself, well, kicks into action.

Like a delicious mix of Fallout 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Blood Dragon lets you both run into scenarios guns blazing or be a sneaky, stealthy ninja, taking down enemy soldier quietly from the shadows. Naturally, I prefer the latter until shit hits the fan, and then it’s easy enough to mow enemies down and still be standing at the end of it thanks to an overwhelmingly generous healing system. Easy, but not as much fun. Stealth options include silent kills from behind, attacks from above, bow and arrows, and so on, and you can even chain a stealth kill to another using a throwing star. Tricky to pull off, but when it does, you really feel like a commando that knows the game. When you tag an enemy, you can track their movements, even through walls, which I loved and gave me a bizarre sense of comfort and security, just at least knowing where everyone was in the building.

Truthfully, I was surprised how short and to the point the main story missions in Blood Dragon were. I think there was six or seven of them total, and they aren’t anything more than go here, shoot stuff, protect this guy, shoot stuff, shoot stuff, ride this thing, and shoot more stuff. The real fun, at least for me, is in exploring the island and the side stuff, collecting VHS tapes and TV sets, all of which do factor into unlocking new gear and upgrades. You can buy maps that tell you where each collectible is, and you just have to work out how to get there. Commandeering the garrisons is the real meat of the side activity work, and I would often spend upwards of half an hour trying to take one as quietly as possible; the key is to first destroy the alarm system, so no reinforcements can be called in. They also work as quick travel spots when they become yours, which makes moving around the map much swifter.

Hmm. Let’s see. There are still a couple of Trophies left to unlock, but I think I could really only get two more of them. Can’t remember which enemies I have “headshotted” and which I haven’t, so I will just stick to killing a few more dragons, earning some coin, and buying the rest of the weapon upgrades before finally putting Blood Dragon to bed for good. I may not be looking forward to the next installment in the Far Cry franchise, but I am looking forward to whatever weird, offbeat spin-off comes from it.

The Half-hour Hitbox: January 2014

jan 2014 hitbox spelunky top pic

I know, I know. Technically, the month isn’t over, but I really don’t see myself dabbling in anything new over the next two or three days, and so here’s the newest edition of The Half-hour Hitbox. You’re welcome, and all that. Right. See, the dayjob has been pretty crazy these last few weeks, and I come home from work with only enough energy to do a couple of Spelunky runs and then pop upstairs for the heated blanket and some quick-but-quality Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon Y time. I think I’m nearing the finish line for that latter title, though Victory Road is proving to be a swift kick in the rear, as my collective team of pocket monsters is still not high enough to make it through in one go. I’m not worried. I finally caught a Garbador, so really, all is fine. I’ll get back to EXP grinding after I’m done stuffing its face full of colorful Poké Puffs.

But enough of that. Here’s a sampling of a few other games I played in January 2014, but haven’t gotten to talk about them yet here on Grinding Down. If we’re lucky, I still might further down the road.


fountain terryc

Last month, I tried Terry Cavanagh’s Oiche Mhaith, and found it upsetting and disturbing. Fountain, made for Ludum Dare 28, is not so in-your-face depressing, but it is shrouded in inevitable sadness. You start out as an old woman near a fountain, which, when you touch it, restores you to a younger version of yourself. Now you can explore the map faster and push away the fog of war. Everything is also more vibrant, the music a bit bouncier, but after awhile you have to return to the fountain for more youth juice as age sets back in. With each return trip to the fountain, your youth fades faster, and you must be young and spry to find all the hidden items. I was not able to get many and found it frustrating that your first trip out into the wild is generally the farthest you can go before the fountain binds you to it until time stands still for our leading old woman. I guess something is being said here.

Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok


Hmm. Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok is as old-school as the oldest school can get, and by that I mean that Bianca, the name I gave to our leading, blonde-haired warrior, froze to death in the forest in the game’s opening fifteen minutes. And no, I had neglected to save at any point. Yup, this is the sort of point-and-click adventure where you can die left and right, so that’s always hanging over your head, along with trying to puzzle out where to go next and how to get there. I’ll try again, as I love its look and the dry voice acting, but it’s not the easiest game to get into and stay in.

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers


It should come as no surprise that my return to some casual time with the RTS genre is with the sequel to the only RTS game I’ve enjoyed over the last several years. Yup, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, now totally available to play online, in your browser, for zero dollars. I’m down with that, and yes, it’s still a complete package, even if it isn’t technically complete, as some bells and whistles are only available for those that pay to play the game on their iThing or sign up for an online save slot. I’ll stick with the bare bones, thank you very much, because it’s still a fun, bouncy campaign built around constructing towers and fighting off pre-determined waves of enemies. The real trick is to learn when–and how–to spend your money, as a simple upgrade to a specific tower can be the key to victory.

Rogue Legacy

hitbox rogue-legacy

Last year, everyone was talking about Rogue Legacy. And playing it, too. Well, now so am I, but let it be widely known I’m not any good at it. Complete rubbish, actually. I think the longest I’ve stayed alive is two minutes, maybe three, but I’m slowly accruing gold, enough to unlock new parts of the castle and upgrade all the various helpful merchants. It’s a great game when you have a few minutes to kill and absolutely don’t mind getting nowhere fast. I have not yet found a specific build that works well, and the timing for jumping with your sword blade pointed down to activate those platforms is quite tricky.


hitbox spelunky freeware

Speaking of getting nowhere fast, yes…I’m heavily into Spelunky. Giant Bomb‘s Patrick has been playing it every day now for about three weeks, and at first, I watched the videos just because I always watch everything that goes up on the site, regardless if I’m immediately interested in the game in the limelight. It looked like fun though. I played a bit of the freeware version before finally biting the bullet and grabbing the PSN version for a sick three bucks in their 14 in ’14 sale. And now I play it every day, hopefully getting better with each run. I made it to the first level in the Temple section, which I’m pretty proud of. It’s a tough game, but very rewarding in its own way, and I like the Daily Challenges aspect very much. Also: bats are the worst.

Jet Set Radio


Originally, I wrote Jet Set Radio as Jet Moto. My bad. Remember that game? Anyways, in this one, which is a high-definition port for the PlayStation 3, it is all about gaining control of Tokyo-to through graffiti and sick skating skills. The music is rad, upbeat, and heavy on pulsing drum beats and record scratches, and all I’ve done so far is skate through the tutorial, but I’d like to get back into this as it’s such a weird mix of mechanics and a fantastic use of cel-shaded graphics, the kind that tugs at my artistic heart.


envirogolf capture

This is a bad golf sim that attempts to make you feel bad about playing golf. The jokes are kind of funny the first time you see them, but the experience is lacking overall. By the time I got to the third hole, the jokes were repeating themselves. Also, could really use some copyediting.


facade 24241-shot1

A small indie thing made for the MiniLD 48 jam. You basically walk to the right, read some words, go through a cave, open a door by collecting light-bugs, learn that you can’t go on the rocket that is going to get everyone off this desolate hunk of junk…and do it all over again. The second time gives you a more final reason why you can’t leave the desolate planet with everyone, but then that’s it. Game over. Some extremely iffy writing, but very pretty to look at.

Scaling the Sky


Scaling the Sky could also be called Swimming the Sky, as you’ll be doing a lot of that, and it’s fantastic. I mean that from an enjoyment standpoint and a remote from reality kind. It’s a platformer at heart, but you’re going up, up, up, using clouds for a boost and rainbows to transport you to the next scene. The first few sections are pretty simple, with a clear path to follow, but the later ones ask you to puzzle out the best way to reach the rainbow, and you have to sometimes use the push of a chain of clouds to gain great height. That might sound kinda complicated, but it works wonderfully, and I found myself bouncing in and out of clouds, gaining momentum and playing with it. Eventually, all this climbing comes full circle in a moment that makes you smile.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon


I will most assuredly being writing about this at greater lengths, as it took me by complete surprise, but let me just say that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a hypnotic ride, one that seems to fuse some of my favorite elements of Fallout 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I’m mad at the world because nobody told me that earlier.

The Half-hour Hitbox is a new monthly feature for Grinding Down, covering a handful of videogames that I’ve only gotten to play for less than an hour so far. My hopes in doing this is to remind myself that I played a wee bit of these games at one time or another, and I should hop back into them, if I liked that first bite.