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.
Half 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.
If 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.
Speaking 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.