The original BloodRayne slipped under the radar, despite having gallons of great gore filled action. So, the only likely solution was to make a sequel that was bigger and better, which is where BloodRayne 2 comes into play. Majesco unleashed the big guns in their marketing department as Rayne has been seen in Playboy, on MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball, tons of TV commercials and magazine ads and even in a music video. The sheer power of this marketing must be commended, especially considering Majesco is no EA sized juggernaut. The sexy vixen is back and bloodier than ever, Rayne has returned in all her gory glory.
Taking place in present day as opposed to a World War II era is one of the many changes this sequel boasts. The Nazis are no more, replaced by street thugs and Kagan’s clan (whom is his offspring). Our favorite half-vampire lady is back and hunting her father, Kagan, as well as his legions of minions in her quest for revenge. The premise behind the game is heavily based on revenge and the Brimstone Society who has helped Rayne in the past plays a bigger role.
One of the biggest overhauls in the game is the gameplay section, no longer does Rayne control slow and clunky, like she used to. The gameplay here moves along at a fast and fluent pace, keeping things interesting for much longer. Rayne herself boasts many new and improved animations, making her movements look much more lifelike. Everything has gotten an overhaul here, especially all the ways that she deals out death. Gone are old WWII guns, in favor of haunted guns that use blood as bullets, which offers a new and unique strategic twist to the game, as if you fire while your reserves are low, the guns will use your blood as ammo. The Mortal Kombat influenced Scorpion-esque harpoon is back and better than ever. The harpoon’s function has changed from simply bringing enemies to you as food to a full fledged weapon. You basically impale your foes and toss them in whichever direction you please, which brings me to another new feature, environmental interaction. Some parts of the game require you to toss enemies into certain things in order to destroy them and progress. The amount of interactive things in the environment is pleasantly high. You’ll find yourself happily flinging enemies onto spikes, off cliffs, into compacters or various other items of destruction, which offer even more gameplay variation.
Since you are dhampir (half-vampire), milk and veggies aren’t going to do it for you, as blood is what you need to replenish your health. Now, sucking blood from enemies was simple in the first one, as you’d just walk up to them, push a button and feed away, not so in this one. The enemies in this game are much more voracious in their lust for your destruction and carry melee weapons, which can be used to block your feeding attempts, and knock you to the ground, resulting in you being hit, quite loudly as well. The A.I. has been beefed up, so you’d expect Rayne’s power to be as well, which is very true, as she has gained a lot since her last adventure. One of the best new additions to Rayne’s combat oriented arsenal are the fatalities, which are accomplished while feeding with a few simple button presses. When you want to do a fatality, just press whichever button(s) you desire and Rayne will cease feeding and execute her opponent in many painfully bloody ways, some of which put Mortal Kombat to shame. Rayne can still slice with her arm blades and kick, both of which work well together, and all of it looks very fluent, showing off all the time spent animating her lifelike moves. One of my most pleasant discoveries about this game was the level design, it no longer sucked, like the previous game’s did, which makes the game a lot more fun to play. Wall jumping, rail grinding, pole swinging and hanging also allow Rayne to move along more varied environments than her previous adventure allowed. Rayne’s powers have also returned and more of them have been added, not only are you able to slow down time, use aura vision and blood rage, but certain powers are upgraded as you progress allowing for more variation and more power at your disposal, but they won’t be spoiled here.
Not having to deal with Nazis anymore also allows Rayne to traverse many different environments and locations, all of which have a nice, distinctive feel to them. Since the majority of the game is basically just killing wave after wave of enemies, it can feel a bit tedious at times, but that’s better than the alternative, which is changing gameplay to try and add variation, which mostly ends up ruining the game. I’d much rather have a game where all you did was hack and slash than one where the developers implemented some half-assed gameplay change in order to try and vary gameplay a bit. Such recent examples include Psi-Ops and Hulk, both of which were very fun, except for the lame, poorly implemented and executed stealth missions or Max Payne for the infamously boring and frustrating dream sequences. Thankfully, BloodRayne 2 stays true to the type of game it is, which doesn’t detract from the fun factor. The boss fights in this game are a mix of strategy and relentless slashing, and while some of them seem somewhat generic; the boss in the sewer level is just plain weird and awesome.
Simply put, BloodRayne 2 looks great, it’s as simple as that. I went back and played the first one and I never recalled it looking so ugly in comparison to the sequel. The light effects are great, as are the cloth effects shown in clothes or flags, and tons of varied mapping has been used, all of which make the environments, the enemies and especially Rayne herself look better than ever. The enemies, while not as varied as I would’ve liked, all look great, whether in one piece or more than one. Blood gets everywhere in this game, and destructible environments are a nice bonus as well, all adding to the already impressive detail boasted by BloodRayne 2. To truly see all the tiny details which have received attention, cut someone in half and admire all the details that make up a person’s bisected body. The bosses themselves also look spectacular, and not to mention, incredibly unique. Some of the outfits these bosses wear are not only unique and weird, but really cool as well, and if you remember the aforementioned sewer level boss, you’ll have to wonder who the hell came up with that awesome, yet somewhat disturbing creation.
The sassy voice actor who gives Rayne her badass attitude has returned, which is a great thing, since she’s perfect for the role. The rest of the characters have great voice actors as well, especially the bosses as their actors purvey an evil and menacing tone. Slicing of flesh is a sound that never really gets old, neither does the gooey sound of someone getting smashed into a bloody pulp. All of the sound effects aid in the feeling of a bloody mess everywhere. However, one problem I did have is the sound effect when you’re knocked to the ground and hit with a melee weapon, that effect was really loud, much louder than anything else. The music itself isn't bad, although the rock/techno soundtrack isn't anything memorable. Overall, the voicework is easily the best part of the audio and the part that stands out most to me.
You’d expect a third person action game to have quality, responsive controls and that’s just what you get here. The controls are easy to pick up and play, and aside from some pretty minor, yet expected (as it is a third person game moving at a fast pace) camera troubles, everything works pretty well here.
Left thumbstick – Move
Right thumbstick - Look
Dpad - Special powers
Left trigger – Lock on/block
Right trigger – Shoot
A button – Jump
B button – Kick
X button – Blade attack
Y button – Feed/harpoon
Black button – Change firing mode
White button – Cycle targets
Like most other one player action games, this adventure will last you from ten to fifteen hours, and there isn’t a whole lot to draw you back, unless you really liked the gameplay, and since I liked BloodRayne 2’s gameplay quite a bit, I’m going back for more. You can unlock some things, such as new costumes upon completion, but the main game is unchanged as one would expect. If you found the game, like I did, you’re going to go back for more, because doing fatalities will never get old. Sure, there’s no multiplayer, but the game does its best to make due with what it has.
BloodRayne 2 is a sequel that surpasses the original is every way, it looks, sounds, controls, moves and most importantly, plays better. The game is a blast to play and has a ton of unique and wildly designed enemies for you to dispose of. The game’s story is better and you’re more motivated to play, as things move faster and there is more for you to do in the game overall. Rayne herself is a great character and much better in this game and with all the popularity she’s been gaining recently, it’s a good thing that her game doesn’t suck (well Rayne does, literally). This is a great action game and I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a bloody good time.Scores:
Reply: 8.1 Overall: 8.6