Trials of the Blood Dragon continues the storyline found in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, but instead of being a shooter it is at it’s core, this iteration brings forth both the over-the-top side-scrolling antics seen in previous Trials games along with a cheeseball plot and presentation that goes toe-to-toe with a movie like Kung Fury. Frankly, I found spectators enjoyed the game more than I did, and with good reason.

While this combination sounds like a win-win, the problem is that other than a few standout gameplay moments and consistent cutscene awesomeness, there really isn’t a lot of driving. There are parts that end up off your bike, and this is where the game gets bad.

TOTBD-jump2Half the game offers up odd platforming tasks, often to a frustrating level. Not that I didn’t enjoy using the RC car, racing across two warheads as the missiles were just launching or having to shoot while on the bike. Even using a grappling hook while careening through a myriad of caves on a minecart had its own charm. Jetpack and on-foot platforming levels ultimately foul the entire experience.

Now, I don’t pretend to be the best at games – some I have strengths in, and some require practice. RedLynx games were always a little frustrating in finding balance with the sometime arbitrary pull too far forwards or backwards while in mid-air. I don’t always live checkpoint-to-checkpoint, but in this version I did, and thankfully they are plentiful as the floaty and disconnected controls of platforming never feel like well-executed gameplay moments, unlike some driving scenes.

TOTBD-on-footIf you don’t reach the end of a level on time it still allows you to progress in the game, albeit with an F. Frankly speaking, this is a badge of honour for the jetpack level where I would have likely stopped playing entirely were I not writing a review, and possibly never come back. The sub-level requiring you to carry a bomb by jetpack, with some of the worst controls ever, cost me 86 lives to complete. Were it not for the fact that I was playing with an Xbox Elite controller, I guarantee you lesser hardware would been sent sailing across the room.

TOTBD-grappleSpeaking of the Elite controller, if you have the triggers set to short, you cannot get full power from your motorized vehicles. In some cases it almost acts as a cheat as you don’t often spin out, however there are some moments in-game which require more throttle than you can get.

Sadly, the Trials games have always been about playing over and over in trying to get a better score, and while you can do this, you’re better off pulling up an older Trials game once you’ve completed a single run-through.