Could you have ever imagined that there would be a sequel to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon? Let alone for it to invade the popular Trials franchise? Well, Rex “Power” Colt is back and more animated than ever – though, not in the way most fans would expect.
Trials of The Blood Dragon takes place a decade or so after the events of the original Blood Dragon and actually follows the journey of Rex’s children, Slayter and Roxanne. However, Michael Biehn’s gravelly voice is still ever-present as the game’s narrator despite his character’s apparent disappearance. The two children seek to save the Blood Dragons from the oppressive powers that be after they discover that they are half-human, half-blood dragon. The story is absolute nonsensical b-movie trash. But, that is what makes it so fantastic. In fact, the game itself has this amazing aesthetic of being a poorly bootlegged recording from a decrepit Betamax. Intermittently, commercials that bled through the recording will show up, often emphasizing some of the satirical product deals that the movie received, but mostly just being a funny way to present the overall game. The presentation of Trials of The Blood Dragon is easily the best part of the entire game, and makes everything else, good or bad, worth experiencing alone.
Though, as that may imply, the rest of the game is kind of hit or miss. Level design, for example, is mostly a hit. The four main locales include Vietnam (of course), Tokyo, Miami, and Mars. Oh, and you go to Hell at one point. Despite the obvious generic locations, each level within is very beautifully crafted. The neon motif of Blood Dragon is very clear in its sequel, with bright colors splashed everywhere the eye can see. Some levels are actually worth playing multiple times just so you can see everything there is to see.
Unfortunately, some of the gameplay really detracts from the beauty and fun of each level. While the general biking stages feel very nice, if not a little too easy, it’s everything else that kind of brings this game down. For one, you can get off your bike. The on-foot controls are extremely floaty, however, resulting in many accidental deaths that eat into your counter and score. To make matters worse, you are often given a gun. While the game uses dual-joystick shooting controls, which feel totally fine, coupled with the poor on-foot controls makes gunplay a very unfortunate experience.
Beyond on-foot, there are a few other vehicles you can drive around the 2-dimensional levels. APCs, for example, are a ton of fun. They crush everything in their path and often make you feel very powerful, a rare feeling in a racing game. On the other hand, there are jet packs. A cool idea, to be sure, but the execution is just off. The camera pulls out very far in these sections, and it can easily get confusing as to what direction you are facing, making precision movement a chore at best. Coupled with the fact that the only way you can move is the direction your character’s head is pointing, and you will be thankful that there are only two jet pack levels in the whole game.
As more of a personal gripe, there is never a comparable moment to that of Far Cry 3; Blood Dragon’s dragon-rider segment. For a game that does not take itself too seriously, it was kind of sad to see it not go that extra mile for the ridiculous factor. Though, it still has a few memorable set pieces.
Despite its hit or miss gameplay, Trials is actually fairly easy to complete regardless of any potential frustration. Though, completing levels with high ratings or collecting all of the collectibles will certainly keep you busy. There is, of course, an extreme mode unlocked after you collect a few special keys, though that even has a fairly easy learning curve to it if you are just looking to finish it without a perfect score. However, if you are curious, just getting through the story only takes about 4 – 5 hours.
At £12.99/$14.99, it is kind of up to you if the somewhat short play time is worth it. As far as the presentation goes, the game is an absolute treat. You will most likely find yourself laughing throughout despite some of the mediocre mechanics at play here. If you want my honest opinion, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a much better game. If you had to pick between the two, I would go with that one. But, Trials is definitely a serviceable sequel if you want to find out the conclusion to the epic tale of Rex “Power” Colt.
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