Review by Relle

"Mindless fun just isn't enough to save Rayne"

Bloodrayne was one of my most anticipated titles because it promised something every male loves: boobs, butts and blood, all in one very violent package. Unfortunately, while the final product provides the three B's in excess, it misses out on several other levels.

Graphics

For a PS2 title, this one looks above-average. Nothing very special to speak of, besides maybe the character models. The lip-syncing is off, but that seems to be a common trait, so I'm not too bothered by it. The FMV looks especially nice, and affords us lots of the three B's mentioned earlier. The game provides lots of jiggling to please your more base hormonal instincts, though more boobs and less blood would've helped.

Sound

Gunshots, slicing noises, and more. Basic sound effects, but the voice work is quite good, considering the rest of the package. I don't know whether it was a problem with my TV or the game, but the music seemed muted. Odds are the constant gunfire and screaming drowns it out, but maybe you'll have better luck. There's a surround sound option, though I wasn't able to take advantage of it.

Gameplay

Now we get to the negatives. This game is pure hack and slash, truer to the term than any game before it. This game takes blood and gore to a whole new level. Before you're done, you'll chop off heads, arms, legs, torsos, etc. And the blood...ick. I get the feeling the developers dared themselves to see how much blood they could get away with before they made themselves sick. Long story short, there's a lot of it.

So here's how it goes: you're Rayne, half-vampire, half-human. You're charged by the Brimstone society to eliminate Nazi officers and stop a plot to resurrect a supernatural and ultra-evil entity. Sound familiar? It should. The first problem comes in the form of the beginning of the game. Once you get introduced to the basics, you're thrust into a small Louisiana town to investigate a disturbance of a monstrous nature. The problem is, the first level is quite dull. It's more of a chore to get through, since it's about an hour of teaching you the basics whilst slicing up demons and zombies.

The later levels change the pace a bit, but they retain the poor level design. You basically have a radar showing where you need to go, and that guides you through the game. Some parts might confuse you as to where to go, but for the most part, it's a cakewalk. The thing is, the environments are really overdone. You're in a swampy level for the better part of an hour, then you're in a very drab Nazi facility for maybe another hour or so. No real change of scenery until you get much further along in the game. I counted a total of about five environments throughout the game: swamp, installation, underground mine, weird monster temple, and a castle somewhere in Germany. Not much for variety, you see.

So, how does it play? Very repetitive, to be sure. This is how it works: you have two methods of attack: wristblades and guns. You switch between the two instantly and effortlessly, though you have a very limited supply of ammo. Fortunately, guns literally litter every stage of the game, so you're rarely without any firepower unless you're the wasteful type.

This game employs the Devil May Cry style of auto-aiming, meaning you'll lock on with your guns to the nearest enemy. Rayne can shoot two different foes at once, ala Dante, though this lock on doesn't work with blades.

Since you're a (half) vampire, you can, of course, drain the blood of your humanoid opponents. Doing so restores your health slightly, and you can use the body as a human shield while you do your business with his neck, which is a nice touch. You can even fire at enemies while sucking, though doing so is awkward as you don't auto-aim, and it's difficult to hit anyone unless they're close to you. This bloodsucking thing sounds interesting, but keep in mind it's your only way of restoring health. Killing grunts in this manner takes a few seconds per body, so if you don't feed often, you risk being slaughtered.

Of course, you're given the trademark 'slow down time to do super-moves' technique. Slash at enemies enough (guns won't do it) and you go into Blood Rage mode, slowing down time and letting you do some impressive acrobatic feats with the wristblades. Needless to say, this is most effective against those pesky bosses.

Now, the problem with this game lies in the combat itself. The first level is a chore, though things pick up once you get your official mission to take out certain Nazi officers and the story begins proper. The problem is, you have all these nifty moves at your disposal with your blades, but you can't control them. Basically, all you do is mash the button enough times till your opponent loses enough limbs, or if you decide to shoot or feed on him. Your guns aren't a huge help in this game, for the most part. All of the small arms couldn't kill a Nazi with the entire clip unloaded. This takes away from the realism, since a normal human being wouldn't survive a single bullet, let alone ten or twenty. Obviously realism is not this game's strong point, but the guns should at least take out grunts faster. Further, slicing up enemies takes a decent amount of work. Even cutting off an arm won't stop a Nazi sometimes, and later enemies can actually regenerate limbs. The bosses take an insane amount of punishment, to the point of absolute tedium in the final boss fight. I suppose some would call that challenging, but for the boss to run down five flights of stairs to get himself a gun while I stand there like some bimbo waiting for a bus just screams laziness on the part of developers.

The final problem is length. Not counting the times I died, I spent around four and a half to five hours from beginning to end.

Replay Value

None whatsoever. Okay, that was harsh, there are different difficulty levels for those who like that sort of thing. However, the game offers nothing for repeat play. No bonuses, extra endings, art galleries or what have you, nothing. Rent, for sure. No reason to buy when it can be beaten in the space of a day or two.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/03, Updated 11/25/03


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