The world itself is a blinding array of neon colours, LED tubing and vibrant, uncomplicated texture. Even organic creatures like the Blood Dragons have been given a suitable makeover. Imagine if the world of Far Cry 3 was sucked into the Tronverse.
"It tries to encapsulate that feeling of when, growing up in the 80s or 90s, you're sitting at home, parents have gone to bed, you're downstairs, single-illumination from the TV and just have retinas burned watching Robocop again and again. Watching Terminator again and again. Having those wonderful boxes from the Genesis, the beautiful typeface from the Mega Drive. Data East, Ocean, Outrun, all that kind of stuff."
Much of what makes Blood Dragon unique is in its wrapping. From a gameplay standpoint what we played was in line with Far Cry 3's established formula. Over the six to eight hours Ubisoft estimates it will take to complete Blood Dragon, players will engage in a series of core story missions, each more absurd than the last, but generally all involving shooting cyborgs until there are none left.
There was a nice mixture of normal and special enemy types in our skirmishes. Standard cyborgs were thrown at us in waves, with the occasional heavy or flamer thrown in to keep us on our toes. Miniguns, bows and flamethrower will be available, but for our demo we stuck to the standard assault rifle, which suited us just fine since it was well-suited for headshots. Nail a cyborg in with a bullet to the face and you'll get a satisfying explosion of blue juice as a reward.
There will also be plenty of side quests; rare animal hunting is back, and wanted quests have been tweaked so they're hostage rescue missions.
"The shooter genre sometimes takes itself way too seriously"
Of course, the most noticeable new addition is the titular Blood Dragons. An entirely new animal that's more techno-dinosaur than dragon. These cyborg-munching behemoths will spot anyone that isn't crouch-walking and tear them to shreds, but can also be used to your benefit.
Players can manipulate the Blood Dragons by throwing hearts torn out of gunned-down cyborg soldiers. Like the stones in Far Cry 3, hearts can be thrown to distract enemies and give you safe package, but also to get the dragons to fight cyborgs. During our demo we assaulted a nearby garrison (Blood Dragons' equivalent of an outpost) by sneaking up to its shield generator, deactivating it, then lobbing a bunch of cyborg hearts into the middle of the enemy fortress.
Seconds later a Blood Dragon stormed through the front door and began wreaking havoc. It toyed with the helpless soldiers, shrugging off bullets to smack them about before charging up its eye laser and blowing up the entire base. After the scuffle it calmly walked away and curled up into a little ball like a cat. Terrifying, but adorable.
After the release of Far Cry 3, whispers of a dinosaur related expansion piqued our interest, but we never expect Ubisoft to take it this far. Needless to say, we're very excited with the direction it's taking.
We'll let Dean Evans have the last word: "The shooter genre sometimes takes itself way too seriously, we really wanted to inject a bit more fun into it. And hopefully (switches to movie announcer voice) start a revolution."