STAFF REVIEW of BloodRayne 2 (Xbox)


Monday, November 1, 2004.
by Sheeyt

BloodRayne 2 Box art When I first heard about a sequel to BloodRayne I was excited. I enjoyed the first game, although it was shallow, short and easy. But, I still had fun. BloodRayne 2 takes everything I enjoyed about the first game and improves them. Back are all of Rayne's vampire abilities, her devastating blades and some fancy new guns. Terminal Reality really upped their efforts with great new graphics. Overall BloodRayne 2, although lacking in some departments is still a drastic improvement over the original. If you enjoyed BloodRayne you should enjoy the sequel. If you never played the first game, that?s no excuse to not try the second.

However, this is your typical single player action shootem' up game, which means it?s also relatively short and has little replay value. Although not completely obsolete BloodRayne 2 does have unlockable features. You can unlock new costumes for Rayne, cinematics, and other extras. The disc also includes a trailer of the upcoming BloodRayne feature film.



The story of BloodRayne 2 picks up many years after the events of BloodRayne. The original took place during the WW2 era, and Rayne was chasing her father, Kagan who was helping the Nazi's on some paranormal experiments. Well BloodRayne 2 takes place in a modern day setting. Having killed Kagan, Rayne is now hell bent on destroying all his offspring and essentially her own siblings. However these very siblings have found a way to block the sun to allow vampires to walk freely whenever they want. The story is good enough to keep your attention, and keep you playing more to advance the storyline.

The game handles well; the controls are simple and easy to pickup. There is a button for using the blades, a button for kick attacks, a button to feed, and a button to shoot. The d-pad controls your vampire powers.

One of the new features of BloodRayne 2 is a new lock-on ability. Instead of just swinging and kicking wildly into a group of bad guys, you can lock onto one enemy and concentrate your attack at them. This also allows you to open up some nice and violent combo attacks, that can't be performed without the lock-on. The game does offer a variety of combos and moves to learn and remember making the combat fun and different.

Rayne still has the ability to feed on the bad guys whenever she wants. Now when she feeds she can perform "execution moves" which when performed are extremely violent, but impressive to watch. Performing "executions" will charge Rayne's carnage meter. The carnage meter allows you to perform your special vampire abilities. These range from a bullet time effect to "aura vision" which helps you navigate your path.

The game is filled with many mini-boss battles. When you defeat these mini-bosses you will unlock new moves for Rayne's arsenal. You will mostly unlock improved special abilities. Abilities like "dilated perception" will become "super speed" slowing the bad guys, down and speeding Rayne up, that eventually becomes "freeze time." The original abilities are still available. Say you want to use "dilated perception" you simply tap the right direction on the d-pad. If you want to you super speed you tap right twice.

Also new in the sequel is Rayne's firepower. Gone are traditional guns. Now Rayne wields special vampire guns. That shoots a blood bullet. The ammo these guns require is blood. Once your blood ammo is gone, your health will begin to drain with every shot following. To recharge your guns, you have to "feed them." You do this the same way you would to replenish your health, except while you?re feeding you press the fire button, which will initiate a pretty cool animation to refill the guns. The guns can also be upgraded with different shot types.

Rayne still has her nifty harpoon. However this also has a bit of an upgrade now as well. Instead of just pulling bad guys to you for feeding you can now fling them from the end of your chain in any direction. You can use this to impale bad guys on surrounding sharp objects. Doing this increases your carnage meter.

Rayne is still quite the acrobat. She can swing on horizontal bars, climb polls, back flip, cartwheel and several other moves.

The game consists mostly of moving into a room, dispatching some bad guys and using many of your acrobatic moves to get to the exit. The game I think tries to feed off the success of The Prince of Persia, unfortunately it falls short. It just doesn?t have the fluid transition when it comes to the acrobatics aspect of the game. Don't get me wrong, its still fun; it just doesn?t flow as well.

Also another grip I have with the game is that most of the puzzles consist of flinging bad guys into certain things with your harpoon. Say there is a garbage truck blocking the path; you'll need to fling a certain amount of bad guys into the back of the garbage truck to destroy it. Unfortunately with this aspect of the game, it tends to get repetitive. Not to mention before each area, it normally shows you just how to do it with a certain cut scene, also very similar to Prince of Persia.

The major flaw of this game is the total lack of polish. Also the difficulty level could be a bit higher; however it does get increasingly harder as you progress.



The visuals in this game are very nice. The Rayne model is very detailed and animated well. The bad guys tend to be repetitive; however some of them do have unique designs. The textures are good. However the environments are kind of boring and uninspired. Don't get me wrong, the graphics on this game are wonderful for a multi-platform game. Terminal Reality really stepped it up a level with the new graphics for the game. They also implemented rag-doll physics for the enemy deaths. If you execute a spectacular finish of someone like throwing them through a window and down a large shaft, it will cut to a slow-motion style special effect similar to Max Payne 2. Terminal Reality also has implemented a Havok type physics engine for environment interaction.

However like I said, the game lacks polish. This comes into account in the animation department. The animation at times can be jerky. The bad guys sometimes tend to just pop up from a laying down position. The collision detection when fighting also can be difficult. At times it seems as if you should be slashing right through someone but you're actually not doing anything at all. Overall I'm extremely impressed with the graphical aspect of this game. Granted problems do exist but the improvements over the first game are very noticeable.



The sound of BloodRayne 2 would have to be my favorite part. I think the voice acting of this game was extremely well done. The special effects on some of the character voices are very cool as well. Rayne is still voiced by the same actress as the original. The other voice actors have done a phenomenal job of bringing the characters and story to life.

The game doesn?t have a lot of music, but when it does, the music I think is appropriate. It?s a mix of rock and techno, and usually only kicks in during the really intense parts. I can't express how much I enjoy the voice acting of this game. Some may say it?s over the top, I think its just right.



Suggestions:
After playing BloodRayne 2 the few things I would suggest in a future installment would be to take more time and polish the game up. Try to make a less linear experience and add some variety to the missions and goals.


Overall: 8.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.4 / 10

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