I spend far longer browsing the virtual shelves of Netflix and the Apple Store than I ever did Blockbuster. Frankly, back in the day, I'd rent any old rubbish, particularly if it looked a bit sci-fi-y.
That was precisely what appealed to me about Far Cry: Blood Dragon - the remix of Far Cry 3, which turned it into a low-fi, 80s-ish, straight-to-VHS, sci-fi movie, complete with knowingly trashy story, John Carpenter-esque soundtrack, a voice-over from Michael Biehn, and lashings of neon.
All of that is present and correct in this semi-follow-up, therefore it's a terrible shame that the rest of it is a load of horrible nonsense.
Like the previous Blood Dragon game, Trials is a remix.
In this case, side-on motocross franchise Trials Fusion has been given the 80s VHS makeover, throwing Saturday morning cartoons, Panini-style sticker books, and blipvert ads into the mix.
The backdrop is Vietnam War 4, and - no! - the wily Vietnamese have harnessed the biology of Blood Dragons - fire-breathing kaiju - to infect the world with massive tumours. Or something. It doesn't really matter. It's just a shame that the core voice cast weren't more invested in it all. They sound like a couple of kids who've just wandered in from the local youth club...
...Do they still have youth clubs? I had a youth club near me, which was run by a man called Trevor, who lived opposite our house. You had to be 12 or over to go, and because I was one of the youngest in my year, all my friends were old enough, and I wasn't. Even though I was taller than all of them, and had a big moustache.
One day, I went along with a couple of mates and pretended I was 12 and for some reason one of them told Trevor that I was actually 11 and he told me to leave saying "Thish is moi club isch not your club isch moi club" because he had a funny voice and I burst into tears and Trevor came to our house that evening to explain the rules to my mother and it was fine and I wasn't upset or embarrassed at all anymore.
I didn't care anyway. I mean, as far as I could ascertain, a "youth club" was merely a large hall where delinquents run around, shrieking like hysterical birds.
No, really. I don't care. I barely even remember it to be honest. I mean, it was stupid, and... yeah... I couldn't give a fig. Really!
...So. Anyway. Where was I?
Overall, Trials of the "B-D" isn't a bad mix of ingredients.
It feels like it should work, and there's no doubting the variety on offer. In addition to motorbikes you'll be in control of armoured cars, jetpacks, mine carts, and remote controlled buggies - plus there are boss battles, on-bike shooting levels, and platform stages (more of those later, dear). Alas, it lacks the thematic coherency which made Far Cry: Blood Dragon such a tip-top-tatty-titty-treat.
The cartoon cut-scenes are less 1980s, and more sub-Gorillaz, and though it's evidently set in some alternate, 80s-infused reality, the adverts seem sort of generically satirical, rather than 80s-satirical.
It's not a game-breaker, but it is a shame. If you're going to borrow from 80s VHS movies... why not do it right?
Unfortunately, what really lets the side down are the controls.
Admittedly, they're faithful to what has gone before, Trials-wise - the bikes don't control like any bike anybody has ever driven.
However, so ludicrous are the rollercoaster-like jumps, and so frequent the crashes, that you're often restarting at 10 second intervals.
Mercifully, the checkpoints seem to be placed strategically right before each crash... but that also means the challenge is next to non-existent.
More of a worry are the platform shoot 'em up stages. The controls are just horrible, and as the game grinds on, they become more important, and the bike driving less and less central. It's good to have a mix, but not when the dominant element of that mix is such a profoundly blocked lavatory.
Also, might be worth pointing out to UbiSoft that those "Vietnamese" accents are probably a bit on the racist-y side...
I bet Trevor was a racist. He probably hated foreigners as much as he hated kids. Bastard Trevor.
SUMMARY: Fails of the Blood Dragon.
SCORE: 1000 CCs of BLOOD out of 7000 CCs of BLOOD
REVIEW: HOTLINE MIAMI 2 - WRONG NUMBER (PS4/PS3/VITA/PC/MAC)
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