At E3, Ubisoft surprised us with a new game that would be immediately ready to purchase and play once the conference was all over. After a crazy introduction from Ubisoft and RedLynx in an incredibly loud, futuristic 80s get up, Trials of the Blood Dragon was unleashed upon us. I personally vowed to purchase this as soon as it was available as I enjoyed Trials Fusion and was always intending to get Blood Dragon as everyone raved about it (however this never happened due to a lack of pennies and time to play another Far Cry game I might not finish). Still, I bought it from PS store as soon as I could and have been playing it for you fine folks.
Taking place a while after the events of Far Cry Blood Dragon, Rex ‘Power’ Colt has managed to have a family with Dr Elizabeth Darling. Darling disappears in a mysterious fashion and Rex dies fighting in the 4th Vietnam War. His two teenage kids, Slater and Roxanne, take over the family business and are taking on the bad guys in a fairly gun-ho fashion and the Blood Dragons return to the world.
If you don’t like Trials Fusion, then you probably will not like this game… mainly because the bike sections are pretty prevalent throughout. But among the crazy courses that increase in difficulty as you progress, there are also sections of side scrolling shooter action as you run through building interiors. In some cases, the courses are a mixture of riding and running just to keep you on your toes and save you from doing the same thing over and over again.
Graphically, it is Blood Dragon through and through. All of the retro references mixed together with cut scenes in an older style animation (think Daria and South Park) and modern Trials Fusion courses make for some trippy sequences. The game moves through various geographical locations from Vietnam’s rolling hills and buildings to a futuristic city to keep things moving and stop it getting repetitive. And that is ethos of the game really. Start playing and don’t stop. There is little in the way of the tutorial as you would expect from a Trials game but at the same time, this isn’t the typical dirtbike platformer we are used to and it isn’t the perfection driven style similarly to Trials Fusion which encourages you to learn the techniques to get through the extreme difficulty levels with your expert capabilities. This is a fast paced title and wants you to keep moving without worrying too much over your score (unless you’re really competitive) and just enjoy the game for what it is.
Controls wise, it’s a little bit of a mess. The simple Trials Fusion controls function well for the bike sections but when you switch to the shooter areas, you are faced with the challenge of mastering jump and fire which is a little tricky when you are first getting accustomed to it but once you are used to it, it isn’t too bad. Either way, the game wants you to get used to the controls nice and quickly as it gets increasingly more difficult but in gentle increments rather than slapping you in the face with expert levels. Later stages also swap out the gun for a grappling hook and you are looking for the precision that Trials games force you to have in order to make it through. All of this is building up to a ludicrous boss fight that hopefully everyone will love!
Outside of the main game there isn’t a whole lot to do really, which is to be expected in some ways. You have some costumes, a sticker book that reminds you a little of Ricky Gervais’ Flanimals and a Pokemon style creature that evolves as you level up. You also have the competitive element within the leaderboards where you can compete with your friends to get the best times, least faults and most points. Other than that, there isn’t a lot outside of the soundtrack which will take you out of the game as you would with customising your look and the like that are an option in Fusion. The focus is on the main game and spending your time getting really good at everything so you can get through the hardest levels without a single fault and some time left on the clock.
All in all, this game is completely mental. Ubisoft love to have the weird and wonderful among their great titles and Trials of the Blood Dragon certainly slots in somewhere down the middle to bottom end of the absolutely amazing scale. It is a big mash up of glorious retro style pop culture and futuristic super villains which you certainly get caught up in when you progress through the all of the insane shenanigans you are required to take on. This game is just so crazy, it leaves you feeling a little uncertain of what it is aiming for, but give it a go and you’ll probably enjoy playing it on the odd occasion. A lot of people loved Blood Dragon and will be disappointed that this isn’t the follow on they were hoping for, but for Trials fans, it has brought back an enjoyable title and taken it a step further into chaos. It isn’t every day that Ubisoft throw two series in a bowl with some strong acid and mixes it up, but it is a bit of fun and not meant to be taken too seriously.