D Bag Matinee: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Ubisoft, you dog you! After releasing what was arguably last year’s best FPS, Ubisoft has done dropped the bomb on us: a totally radical 80s sci-fi/action shooter. Paying attention yet? Yes, the magical decade that gave us Arnold, JCVD, and Steven Seagal’s ponytail is coming back into our lives. The trailer is out and it’s time to see what this bad boy is all about. I know–let’s bring back the running diary gimmick before we dive into a short, cursory cinematic analysis!


0:04 – Oh my, I do believe we are watching this on a VHS tape. That’s what you call a good start. And now there’s a strange and cheesy commercial! Man, someone really needs one of those anti-tracking VCRs.

0:19 – “It is in the near future. The apocalypse has had an apocalypse.” This is too good to be true. I’m definitely digging on this cartoon; it gives off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vibe. Is that… yes, it is! Michael Beihn, rockin’ star of such 80s treasures as The Terminator and Aliens. Wow, Ubisoft must have really broken the bank for this one. Maybe? Ok, not really.

0:34 – Ok, that was totally a send-up of the Predator handshake, right? I’m not always thinking about Predator, right? It’s not just me, right? Anybody?

Man, this synth music is super rad. The gameplay? Let’s just say that if Halo and Far Cry time-traveled to 1983 and had sex, this game would likely be the result. Suitably awesome hero name? Check (it’s Rex Colt). Spastic synth soundtrack? That’d be a check. Neon? Oh, glorious neon. Put it this way–those prone to seizures should probably sit this one out.

As someone who loves 80s action movies and has logged more than 20 hours in Far Cry 3, I can say that so far this trailer is pushing all the right buttons on a purely visceral level. As for the quality of the trailer itself, allow me to channel my inner-Jon Lovitz here (for anyone under the age of 25, that’s a reference to The Critic–check that shit out).

While one could certainly make the argument that the first twenty seconds are wasted on cheesy fake advertisements, I’d counter by claiming that this preamble evokes the 1980s to prime the audience for what’s to come.  The animated introduction is, quite frankly, perfection, evoking both the classic 80s cartoon style while also filling us in on the admittedly paper-thin and ludicrous storyline (and we wouldn’t have it any other way).

This extremely atmospheric introduction gives way to roughly one full minute of gameplay footage. And what glorious footage it is–neon colors drench the screen. Hell, even the guns have neon lights on them. And perhaps most impressively, the game bears no more than a passing resemblance to Far Cry 3. Large futuristic military compounds and interior environments will likely reinvent the previously nature-bound gameplay to a large degree. Yes, I’m excited. Why? Well, I love Far Cry 3 and I love shitty 80s action movies. Duh. But it’s more than that? Why am I excited this very second? Really, the answer is simple: it’s the healthy amount of gameplay footage included in this trailer.

Far too often, game trailers are released with very little of the actual, you know, game. Showing us all just exactly what we’re in store for was an excellent move and will no doubt calm the fears of many gamers worried that this is just an uneven cash grab. The inclusion of a set release date (May 1st bro!!!) is just the icing on the cake. This is exactly what a video game trailer should be, folks. Establishing atmosphere and presentation while also highlighting gameplay, all in a concise two minute package.

I told myself I wouldn’t hand out any perfect scores when judging trailers, because to label something as perfect is to allow no room for improvement. With that in mind—you know what? Fuck it. That was a perfect trailer. 5 out of 5 stars.

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