|Blood and Gore, Intense Violence,
Sexual Themes, Strong Language
| The Good
Improved graphics and gameplay
Lots of brutal action
Music and mood works nice
| The Bad
Graphics and mechanics still need polishing
Repetition of "puzzle" elements
Blood-based guns an iffy decision
The first Bloodrayne, featuring
the sexy, hyper-violent dhampir (half vampire, half human)
Rayne, was, by and large, a guilty pleasure. The game itself
showed signs of promise but was muddled by a mediocre effort
that gave some standard action tempered by a graphics engine
that could use some more depth. To address these complaints,
Terminal Reality has returned with a sequel that adds much
needed depth to the combat and a noticeably improved graphics
The story behind this sequel is set in modern days, some
years after the first. Rayne is on a revenge kick, trying
to wipe out the bloodline of her father. During her mission,
she runs across a gathering of her siblings who are in the
process of a grand plan to create a "vampire apocalypse" by
manufacturing The Shroud, a veil of blood that allows the
vampires to go out into the world during daylight.
The core gameplay engine is relatively unchanged from the
first game. Rayne comes armed with two arm-mounted blades
that players can use with the melee attack button. She can
also kick, lock onto enemies, jump and even sidestep when
locked onto an enemy. Since she is part vampire, players can
jump onto enemies to drain blood to regain health. Rayne also
has a harpoon which is primarily used to grab and throw enemies
into various environmental objects. You'll soon find that
the harpoon toss is needed on a lot of "puzzles" to progress
in the game.
This time around, Rayne actually can perform a limited group
of combos with her kicks and slashes and earns new attacks
and abilities as the game progresses. She also comes equipped
with a special set of guns that can only be refilled by jamming
them into enemies, much like her own need to feed on blood.
Her abilities range from being able to see auras (always good
for figuring out where targets and goals are) to slowing down
time to a Blood Rage for improved hyper-violent combat when
needed. Rayne also has more acrobatic abilities, like being
able to grind down a rail, jump from poles or even fire her
guns while hanging from poles. It won't take too long for
players to figure out there is a much larger focus on platforming
this time around, but not at the expense of being too platforming
Visually, Bloodrayne 2 is a definite step up from
the previous incarnation. Just about everything in the game
looks a good bit better than before, including character models,
effects and locations. Rayne's model shows a lot of improvement,
especially when it comes to poly count, details and textures.
Her animations are better, feeling more fluid and natural.
Enemy designs show some interesting concepts, though most
of the minions fell like your standard Goth fare. Locations
are huge and have a lot of environmental details that ground
the player in the gameworld. Visual effects, while not top-of-the-line,
do look a lot better and work nicely for the improved engine.
Audiowise, Bloodrayne 2 falls right in line with the
original. Music bounces from eerie gothic to heavy metal depending
on what's going on and the sound effects feel pretty solid.
Rayne's sarcastic wit and one-liners do offer a good laugh
during combat and the voice acting during cutscenes is passable.
The problem is that the script feels pretty stale, so no amount
of good voicework can make some of the lines feel less ridiculous.
While Bloodrayne 2 is an improvement, there is still
a number of things that could use some extra work for the
obvious sequel that's probably already being planned. The
core engine could use some extra time polishing off animations
and textures. From time to time, textures pop in and out,
and there are some noticeable clipping and collision detection
issues. Also, the gameplay needs to be balanced to focus more
on the combat. Between feeding on minions for health and ammo,
you may spend a lot of time jumping from one enemy to the
next, which really takes away from the full blown action that
the title promises. Also, the harpoon "puzzles"
are cool once in a while but get old after the fifth or sixth
time you do it.
While Bloodrayne 2 is a noticeable improvement and
far more suggestible as a purchase than the first title, it
still ends up being a guilty pleasure. The violence is over-the-top
and you really have to be into the mood than the game gives
you to enjoy the action. There are many things that could
use some polish, but this sequel is definitely a step in the