Review by mc1287

"Sorely overlooked fun!"

This game may just seem like another one in the crowd, and to be honest, it is. However, it does everything it does very, very well.

Graphics & mastery
I ran this game on an Athlon 1700(1.46ghz)/512MB RAM/GeForce3 Ti200 64 MB at 1152x864 with everything on high. The game ran smoothly 95% of the time, even with the huge scale of carnage and action on screen, and looked fantastic. I've also ran it on an Athlon 2200(1.8ghz)/1024 RAM/Radeon 9500Pro at 1600x1200 and it never slowed down. The environments are nice to look at, if slightly plain and sparse(for instance, the first chapter has almost completely flat textures and unremarkable surroundings). My major complaint about the graphics was the huge use of fogging; it's almost as bad as Turok on the N64. You can't see over 300 yards in front of you. Whilst this is not a big problem in the indoor sections of the game, in the outdoor levels, it can cause you to completely lose track of direction, and makes you resort to the ''aura'' sense every two minutes(more on that later). Perhaps this is due to the need to keep the game running fast and smooth, which it does all the time.

Plot
A fairly typical story, but not necessarily a bad one at that. BloodRayne is a half-vampire, in search of her evil father in order to kill him, when she is recruited by a secret organisation called the ''Brimstone Society'' to help counter the Nazi Gegen Geist Gruppe (the GGG, the ''Anti Ghost League''), a group dedicated to finding ancient artefacts of great supernatural power. The story seems fairly tongue-in-cheek at times from Rayne's comments, which is nice, as it stops the game taking itself too seriously and makes the story flow faster.

Appeal
Well, a lot of people are going to buy this game just because you play as a hot female vampire thingy. I personally find this a nice touch, but it's just the icing on the cake of an already great game.

Sounds and VAs
The voice acting in this game is actually very good. Laura Bailey who plays Rayne is especially good, and most of the VAs seem authentic and play their roles well. However, the voice actors in the FMV cutscenes seem to be different, and I have to say that they are not fairly rubbish. They starin their lines, and take the roles too seriouly. Thankfully, there aren't too many FMV cutscenes.
In game audio is also good. I had the privilege of playing the game in Dolby 5.1 with Creative EAX, and it sounded stunning. However, even without surround sound, and with a decent pair of headphones, this game sounds great. The effects are ''meaty'' and help to create some very tense feeling at certain points in the game.

Gameplay
The bit that really matters, saved for last. Rayne has a huge number of abilities in this game and they are all used to great effect. Unlike, say, in Splinter Cell, where you had a ''wall jump'' ability that you never used, you will find yourself having to use every ability in this game at some point. Rayne has basic melee attacks on MB1 whilst MB2 fires any guns she may be carrying. The system in this game makes Rayne drop and collect guns automatically to optimise her inventory. This works very well, but it would have been nice to be able to collect ammo for the good guns and save them for later. Rayne also has a harpoon attack, which reels enemies in, and if they are human, feeds on them, replenishing her health. This rally adds to the game, as there is no stupid searching for health pakcs.
Rayne also has special vision modes. ''Aura'' sense allows you to see in the dark, highlighting foes and objectives, meaning you won't get lost. ''Enhanced perception'' is basically bullet time. Whilst it would have been nice to see a Max Payne 2 style system, where you can slow down the opther action further through kills and speed yourself up, this works well enough. It is infinite, which could mean that players abuse it. She also has a sniper view later in the game. Through melee attacks you can build up a ''bloodlust'' meter and then, when full, go into ''blood rage'', an immensely powerful attack mode, good for bosses.
The save system in this game is also, in my opinion, very good. Instead of quick saves, which often lead to lazy design, the game is split into small levels and saved at the beginning of each one. These sections are large enough to post a challenge but not so large that you end up being unable to pass each one.
The game does not have much replayability, though, but seems to me as though it would benefit from modding. If you are reading this, Terminal Reality/Majesco, some tools would be nice! There is already a skinning scene, but some game conversion would be great.

Overall, there is also nothing really outstanding about BloodRayne, apart from the novel ''feeding'' element. It does what it does well, and is fun, but it's just another run of the mill hack and shoot 'em up. However, it is long enough (10-20 hours) and very fun whilst it lasts. And at the bargain prices you can get it at now, there is no excuse not to buy this great game.

Also check out, if you like this, Nocturne(PC) and Max Payne 2.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/18/04


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