Trials of the Blood Dragon is Ubisoft’s response to the demand of the fans for a sequel to Far Cry: Blood Dragon. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be a well executed idea despite continuing the story and the universe of Blood Dragon.
Trials of the Blood Dragon ended up one of the surprise announcement at Ubisoft’s E3 2016 conference. It was announced to be available for purchase straight at the press conference and carries a rather modest price tag at $15.
The game takes place a few years after the ending of Far Cry: Blood Dragon. Rex “Power” Colt, the lead character of the previous game, has retired from the Blood Dragon killing business and now lives with his Wife, Dr. Elizabeth Darling along with his two kids. As the story unfolds, Rex faces an unfortunate death after fighting in Vietnam War 4 and his wife Dr. Elizabeth mysteriously disappears, leaving the responsibility of defending America on the shoulder of his two kids: Slayter and Roxanne.
The 80s-90s nostalgic and pop-culture references make a return for Trials of the Blood Dragon. The game is full of neon-styled visuals and has a nostalgic look and feel to it for those who were born in the 80s. This is further cemented by the game’s cutscenes, which are animated in the style of old-school cartoons. The story is intentionally cheesy and makes references to the movies/shows of 80s era.
Fans of the Trials series will feel right at home in this short story expansion. This new game takes the gameplay that Trials is known, for its vehicular sections and has stages with crazy stunts that require precise timing in order to complete them. The core of the gameplay appears to remain the same for the most part, but the environment and stage locations are now based on the world of Blood Dragon, and are set in an alternative history Vietnam ravaged by the on-going war.
The classic physics of Trials make a return here. If you loved the crazy style of the Trials series with its motorbike physics and controls that aren’t as much realistic as they are fun, then you will enjoy the variety of levels on offer here. If you are one of those folks who get frustrated easily, then you will probably have some issues with the steep difficulty curve.
Red Lynx has added a new gameplay mechanic for Trials of the Blood Dragon, by giving the players the ability to fire a grappling hook. This adds an interesting dynamic to some of the latter stages where the player will have to decide when to fire the grappling hook and how to utilize it to reach the end of the level. The addition of the grappling hook also means an increase in the difficulty curve as it is essentially a case of luck with trial and error instead of player skills.
Aside from having vehicular sections, the game also tries to diversify the story by adding on-foot platforming and jetpack sections. Both of these, unfortunately offer sub-par controls. For the on-foot section, the controls feel floaty, imprecise and the shooting leaves a lot to be desired. It feels like the developers just tacked on these levels for the sake of it, and never bothered to actually implement proper controls here.
There is no way to shoot an enemy because lack of proper aim controls, along with a lack of a cover system. Just like the platforming, the jetpack sequences feel like they were put in a game where they don’t belong. The jetpack is infuriating to handle and doesn’t offer the tight controls and physics of the motorbike sequences.
In term of value, the game doesn’t offer the player much incentive to replay each level, which is a strange omission considering how the Trials series has built a reputation over the years for offering competitive modes that add replay value to the game. It is a feature that feels severely lacking here and if we couple that with the short playtime, the game feels like a disappointment next to the past Trials games.
Trials of the Blood Dragon is available now for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. This review covers the PS4 version of the game.
Trials of the Blood Dragon Review (PS4)
Trials of the Blood Dragon is a great idea on paper but its execution here leaves a lot to be desired. As a successor to Blood Dragon, it ultimately has a lot of expectations from the fans but while it delivers on the aesthetics and style of Blood Dragon, it falls short in gameplay.