It’s 2019. More than a decade has passed since the events of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and our erstwhile hero, MARK IV CYBERCOMMANDO! REX! POWER! COLT! has inexplicably absconded his world saving duties, leaving it up to his kids Roxanne and Slayter to blow up the commies and win Vietnam War 4 instead.
On a bike.
Between the kitschy-splashy Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, the CRT TV scanlines, and more ’80s pop culture references than you could shake a legwarmer at, Trials of the Blood Dragon gets off to a hot start. I even got to choose a cat as my, uh, “inner beast”. A cat! It turned into a tiger later, but that’s still technically a cat, so it’s okay.
The problem with the game is… almost everything else. I mean, the bike stuff isn’t that bad. It’s the same retro-arcade masochism of previous Trials game – now not just on motorbikes, but also BMXes, minecarts, and even a sort of space truck thing, plus a grappling hook for looping through gaps – no fault there, but for reasons nobody outside of a cynical marketing meeting could ever adequately explain (or apologise for), it’s mashed up with some of the most egregious twin-stick, run-‘n’-gun platforming ever in any game, ever. I realise this game is spoofing the ’80s, but it shouldn’t play like a game actually made in the ’80s, because “LOL IRONIC SATIRE” doesn’t work like that. I’m not even ready to talk about the parts with the jetpack and the bomb. I might never be.
The plot is crammed so full of self-referential in-jokes and awkward allusions to Power Rangers and Rambo and… breakfast cereals (?) that it’s basically incoherent, and then it ends abruptly with an obvious setup for a sequel
that could only be better because it couldn’t be worse. I won’t jinx it.
The most impressive thing that happened in Trials of the Blood Dragon was this, and it’s not even that impressive.
The game is only about two hours long, though, so that’s some mercy. Maybe.