BloodRayne 2 (PlayStation 2) review
"Bloodrayne has a formula that works. Who is going to complain about a busty red head in tight leather chopping up naziís? Most of us will never admit it, but thatís why we played the game in the first place. Itís hard to deny, though, that a very decent game was buried underneath a superficial shell. Letís admit it--Bloodrayne is attractive, even for pixels. Sheís mouthy, sheís tough and she doesnít have a problem using guns. I brought that up for one reason- I want to get past it and focus on t..."
Bloodrayne has a formula that works. Who is going to complain about a busty red head in tight leather chopping up naziís? Most of us will never admit it, but thatís why we played the game in the first place. Itís hard to deny, though, that a very decent game was buried underneath a superficial shell. Letís admit it--Bloodrayne is attractive, even for pixels. Sheís mouthy, sheís tough and she doesnít have a problem using guns. I brought that up for one reason- I want to get past it and focus on the sequel. While Bloodrayne adds a decent element, you would have something worth playing even if she wasnít in it.
First and foremost I want to talk about the combat system, seeing as it takes up 90% of the game. It worked in the last one but Majesco, much like Rockstar, takes what works in a game and fine-tunes it even further. In itís counterpart, you could get away with simply mashing the square or circle buttons, turning every now and then to face the enemies behind you. Donít get me wrong you can do that in this one as well but if your eager to see everything Bloodrayne has to offer you are going to have to use a bit of finesse. Majesco has added so many combos itís going to make your fingers hurt, and most of them are fairly easy to use. Granted, youíre not going to be able to focus when you have dozens of angry dhampirs all after your head, but in single boss fights they come in pretty handy. Another sequence of buttons needed is used for the fatalities. The previous game depended on luck, or the gratuitous violence code, but again Majesco has taken it one step further. If, while your feeding, you hit a series of buttons Rayne will take her already disabled foe and dispatch them in the most gruesome way possible. 14 gruesome ways to be exact, seven from the front and the same amount from the back. This is an easy and entertaining way to build up your carnage points, which in turn allows you to use your vampiric powers but Iíll get to that in a moment. The other changes--or additions--to the combat system are rail battles. These are scarce at best and a bit cheesy in my opinion, but they can be fun. Basically Rayne jumps onto a pipe or railing, slides down and sticks her blades out to dice enemies on her way down. She can also hang from pipes or ladders and pick off enemies with her guns. Itís pretty simple once you actually do it, and goes so fast itís hard to enjoy it.
The experience system is other drastic change Majesco has made. Your harpoon ability is a returning favorite, but instead of yanking an enemy towards you so you can feed off of them, it now throws them in any direction you choose. If you pay attention, nearly any part of the environment can be used as a weapon. You can fling enemies off balconies, skewer them on mounted rhinos or toss them into fireplaces. This may seem like a lot of effort, and at times it can be, but the more often you do this, a tiny double-bladed bar moves across your life and rage meter. When it reaches the end, youíre life and rage are extended slightly.
Another one of the already abundance of features added are the Carpathian Dragon Pistols. These pistols donít use ammunition; instead they are fired using blood. When they run dry, it takes away from Rayneís health to use them, but they can be refilled rather easily. Like Rayne, her guns can also feed and itís better to use your foes blood then your own. These guns have six different modes--which Iíll let you discover for yourself--but they do match nearly every weapon found in Bloodrayne 1. Even better, they gain experience as well. The more you use them the stronger they become. Simple huh?
The powers. You had four last time. Blood rage, Aura Vision, Dilated perception and Close up vision. You have nine this time around, and again I donít want to ruin anything, but theyíre all nifty powers so you may want to find an unlimited rage code so you can play with them all.
The actual game. Did I take long enough to get to this? Sheesh. Sorry, I didnít realize when I started writing this how much was actually added to the sequel. The new content alone should make you want to play it, but if youíre worried about fickle things like graphics, sound and story (ah ha ha ha) then Iíll go over it. The graphics are stellar, Iím not sure if part one was powered by ďThe infernal engineĒ but the second part truly shows the power it has. The blood and fatalities are disturbingly detailed. The cut-scenes are even more impressive this time around. While some movies have a cinematic style, others are simply done with the same pixels in the game, but they are used to traverse environments. The actual creatures themselves actually have some variety this time around. I donít know about you, but 2/3 through the first game I got tired of looking at Naziís. Not this time. Kagan, Ephemera and Ferril all have a very unique design, as well as the lackeys. The sound is clear, and most of the ad-libs during battles are a crack up although Rayneís language has been toned down a lot. The only thing it lacked is decent music, or any at all if I really think about it. The controls and movement is quick and precise, Rayne actually turns and moves around, instead of in the first one where she always faced forward.
If I said Bloodrayne 2 was only a step above itís predecessor, it would be a drastic understatement. This game has evolved into something far better than anything I could have hoped for. Anything and everything that worked in the first part has been shoved into overdrive, and the new qualities gleam with creativity. With all the disappointing sequels being produced anymore, Iím glad to see one of my favorite series isnít following that trend.
Graphics: Far better then the first. The new engine is stellar and you will see it in the first five minutes.
Game play: The massive amount of new content is worth the $50 alone, but the story shouldnít be dismissed, even though I did.
Fun factor: The puzzles add a slight break up to the constant combat, but it still can get a bit redundant after a while.
Replay value: While there isnít much offered reward wise to make you go a second round with this game, the fun factor alone stands the test of time.
Sound: My only real complaint here, again, is the lack of any decent music.
Overall rating: 8.0/10
Community review by True (May 02, 2005)
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