STAFF REVIEW of Blade 2 (Xbox)

Thursday, December 5, 2002.
by maneatingcow

Blade 2 Box art Everyone?s favorite daywalker has jumped from the pages of a Marvel Comic, to the big screen, and now into his own videogame. Blade 2 takes place after the second movie, but sadly, the game is not able to capture the action of the films, nor the comic book. Blade 2 contains an awkward control system, not-so-spectacular graphics, and some of the most annoying voice acting since StarFox 64. If you are a big fan of the movie series or the comic book, you will enjoy this game for a while, but odds are, you will be returning it to the rental store a few days early.

Blade 2 takes an interesting approach at the game play. Developer Mucky Foot understood that the game should have frantic action where you will fight multiple opponents at the same time. In Blade 2, the left joystick controls your movement, while the right joystick controls your hand-to-hand moves. In order to do combos, you must time your movement of the joystick. The speed that you must move the joystick is much too slow for the combos, as enemies constantly can hit you to break your combo chain. The 4 standard buttons are then used to jump/reload/strafe/rage. The directional pad is used to select a weapon, but you can also use the black/white buttons. To fire your weapons, you use the R button. There are only 4 selectable weapons in the game: Mach Pistol, Glaive, Shotgun, and the UV Grenade. Only the pistol is selectable from the start, the rest you will have to earn by collecting glyphs in each level. After you unlock all of the weapons, you can only take a certain amount out into battle, so you will have to choose wisely as to which weapons you want to bring. One of the biggest gripes with the weapons is Blade?s most famous weapon, his sword. You are not given the ability to use the sword whenever you want. Instead, you need to build up your bloodlust meter, then hit the B button. In order to charge up your bloodlust, you must attack a certain amount of enemies. It would be better if you could use your sword whenever you want, and the bloodlust meter would allow you a period of time of invulnerability. The character AI in Blade 2 is horrid. You can easily lead the enemy characters around a large area without any of them hitting you. The enemies usually come to you in packs, and often will just stand there as you attack one of their comrades. The controls do get annoying when you are attempting to do a combo on one enemy, and another will come from off the screen and attack you, breaking your combo off. This would be a fixable problem, except Blade 2 gives you no actual control over the camera. There are many variations in the different levels, with 3 main missions to play, but the downfall of the missions are the objectives. Each mission objective is nearly the same. Each mission has you killing or destroying something. It would have been nice to see a bit of variation in the missions. The game play was a major letdown, as I was expecting more from an action packed franchise.

One of the most essential things in bringing a movie/comic book license to the realm of videogames is to translate your character flawlessly across to the new medium. Blade looks like the bastard love child of the Wesley Snipes and Gary Coleman. The overall model of Blade is bit under-par for this day and age in gaming. During cut scenes or other close-up shots of Blade, you can see the polygons break right through his face. Maybe back in the 64 bit days this was acceptable, but there is no reason for those kinds of mistakes now. One of best graphical features of the Blade model is his trench coat, which he wears in many of the levels. The coat looks very realistic and moves along with Blade?s movements. It is sad that the same detail to realism was not used elsewhere, like in the enemy models. The enemies you face all look extremely similar. Unlike the movie where each enemy was very detailed, each of the enemies are very bland. The world of Blade 2 is a toss up in the graphics department. The areas are nicely detailed, with some good textures all around. Sadly, the other objects which inhabit the game are quite bland, and don?t have many good effects to them at all. This game barely takes advantage of the Xbox?s power.

Blade 2 does have some decent audio in it. The sound effects in Blade 2 are very suitable, and are nice and clear. Sadly, none of the good music from the movie Blade 2 was able to be included in the game, but is replaced by some watered down techno music, which at times reminds you of the movie, but other times leaves you uninspired. The voice acting is one of the worse aspects of Blade 2. None of the actors from the film lend their voices to the game, so have been replaced by people who seem to be trying too hard to sound like the actors. After playing Blade 2 for long enough, you will be sick of the phrase "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." As well as the enemies constantly yelling ?It?s the daywalker!? and ?Get Him!? Even worse is the game pauses to load most of the sound clips. The audio is decent, but it could be greatly improved.

The control scheme is very interesting, and could be great for this sort of game if you implement it well. If you are going to pay someone to do some voice acting, be sure to add a little bit of variation in what they say, as people will usually be playing the games for hours at a time. Custom Soundtracks. I?ve mentioned this excellent feature in nearly every review I have done. It?s one of the best overlooked Xbox features out there!

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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