On April 1st there was an announcement made by Ubisoft for a Far Cry 3 spin-off. A gigantic homage, a throwback to the 80s. An action-packed game set in the past/future, the year 2007, full of neon-covered laser technology, with cyborgs walking the face of the earth. Turns out it wasn’t an April Fool. And thank god it wasn’t. If when you were a kid you used to watch all the 80s action flicks you will feel right at home, along with a sense of nostalgia. But this is a game, and there is actually a lot of substance here, more than you could think.
You are sergeant Rex Power Colt, half man, half machine but all… cybercommando. A new technological machine built from the ashes of your former self. In one of the most badass intro I have ever seen in a videogame you’ll find yourself sneaking… ahem… blasting through the door of a secret compound, only to discover that your old commander has gone rogue and you are the only thing between him and his plan of destroying the world and then ruling what is left of it.
After the prologue the world opens and the strong core gameplay of Far Cry 3 comes back to serve you in your mission to kick some ass and shoot frickin lasers at bad cyborgs. On this new futuristic island you can take bases to get access to fast travel locations, shops, and secondary missions, consisting in hunting a rare animal or rescuing an hostage. Completing these missions and collecting various items such as VHS and TVs will unlock weapons upgrades.
From a quadruple barrel shotgun with flaming rounds to an assault rifle shooting lasers, not to mention the RoboCop gun replica, the insanity and the awesomeness are always with you. Everything here is a major reference to a thing of the past. The old 16-bit era cutscenes, the over-the-top dialogue, the cocky one-liners, the constant breaking of the fourth wall, the old school villain, everything works together to deliver a coherent universe. An universe that existed once, an universe we are celebrating.
The game works exactly as its bigger brother Far Cry 3; with a big difference. The introduction of Blood Dragons. Huge dinosaurs that shoot lasers from their eyes! You can lure them towards your enemies when you are liberating a garrison but you’ll have to stay quiet and try to not attract their attention. They are quite indiscriminate when it comes to eating tiny humans. Everything in this world is cyber-something, robot-something, everything is covered in neons and everything shoots lasers and one-liners. It’s 80s-vana.
The main missions take place in different compounds, strategical to the evil plan of the Omega Force. There is little support for stealth gameplay; again, when you have a quadruple barrel shotgun it’s just more fun to blast through rather than sneak around. If you want to enjoy the real extent of what your character can yell at people the latest way is the better way. The leveling system consists of 30 levels, with abilities unlocking automatically when you rank up. This nature of the system is a necessity given the shorter extent of the campaign respect to longer titles. This way you can’t mess up skill trees, risking to be stuck not having enough time to repair a possible bad choice. During my playthrough I spent more than 8 hours between all the main and side missions, gathering all the collectibles. For a 14.99$ game and this level of presentation and attention to details the content is well worth your money. You don’t have to own a copy of Far Cry 3 to play it, and we are in front of a “Red Dead Redemption – Undead Nightmare” level of quality here.
Ultimately this game reminds you that videogames are fun and sometimes they can put a smile on your face for the smallest detail or the largest plot twist. This is what this game is all about; you start smiling at the beginning and you find yourself laughing like the Joker in the final sequences. I was so satisfied with the precise homage, references and the entire nostalgia trip pulled off by this well crafted spin-off. I can’t, and I don’t want to, spoil too much for you so I’ll just say to experience for yourself the madness and the badassery of this title. You won’t regret it. And remember “when your character catches on fire, scream along with him. It’ll be like Karaoke”.
+ Hilarious presentation celebrating/mocking the 80s
+ Perfectly suited soundtrack
+ A solid and familiar gameplay that makes you feel like a real 80s action hero
– If you don’t do all the side missions you won’t unlock all the upgrades during the main campaign