A lot of reviewers would start this off by saying BloodRayne 2 “sucked” and then make some lame joke about this being a vampire game and there being a lot of “sucking” going on anyway. Well I think that sucks … and this game blows. If you’re not familiar with titular character you need only watch Uwe Boll’s opus “BloodRayne” to gain absolutely no insight whatsoever into this franchise and probably confuse the hell out of yourself in the process. Now that movie sucked!
Putting aside the cinematic abortion that will forever mar the face of this spotless product line, BloodRayne 2 is one of the most boring games I’ve played in a long, long time. Poor voice acting, horrible dialogue, tedious battles made even worse by a frustrating combat system… this puppy runs the gamut. The first game in the series wasn’t stellar by any means, but a game about a Nazi-killing vampiress is hard to screw up. Unless of course you remove the Nazis and move the story to present day, replacing them with cyberpunks that would make the Wachowski’s jealous.
Why in the hell does every movie or game about vampires lately have to be rampant with body piercing S/M freaks with crappy, pulsating techno music in every scene? I saw less ridiculous costumes in the Warriors!
Graphically the game is nothing special. Not horrible to look at, just not as nice as the promotional stills that you can find all over the place. It seems that the majority of the budget went to modeling Rayne’s pants as all of the other enemies look pretty generic. The fire effects were well done, but the water looked horrible. Seeing as how Rayne is vulnerable to water I appreciated not knowing which surfaces were underwater and which vents were blowing water out as opposed to steam (almost as difficult as figuring out how her clothes stayed on during battles).
The level design was uninspired, with the majority of levels taking place in alleyways or industrial buildings. At least the load times were very quick, although that emphasized the lack of space in many of the “larger” levels. I guess it could have been that all of the textures are reused so much that the system can just cache them and speed you on your way.
The controls were adequate until you started fighting. Rayne moves with precision when moving from one area of the level to another, but getting her to do something in between had me pulling my hair out. Acrobatics like pole swinging and wall jumping (think Prince of Persia: Sands of Time for dummies) were not handled well at all. Navigating the platforming areas could be my least favorite part of the game… well until they merge the platforming and combat and really piss you off.
I think the biggest problem was that the animators went ass-wild with Rayne’s movements. Everything has to have so much flourish that it takes more than three or four vulnerable seconds to accomplish the most mundane things. It may seem like nitpicking, but when you’re low on health and can’t make it to your prey because you’re sliding down a pole upside down using just your legs causing you to die repeatedly, that nit gets pretty big. There’s a fairly large list of special vampire-huntin’ moves in Rayne’s repertoire, but you’ll find yourself whoring out the fastest and easiest to pull off for most of the game.
The combat system is where I lost my patience with the game. In order to stay alive you must feed on people. While feeding you can stop and perform a “feeding fatality” which gives you the necessary “rage power” to combat enemies. Not having anyone in the level that’s not a weapon-carrying enemy puts these two important mechanics at odds. I can’t fight unless I have rage, but I can’t get rage if I don’t interrupt my feeding to kill someone spectacularly… none of which I can do without health, which goes back to the uninterrupted feeding.
To top it all off, enemies holding weapons can’t be fed on as they will push you off and deliver a severely damaging blow while you’re down. Disarming them requires you to repeatedly kick them until they drop their weapons, giving their buddies plenty of time to wait until you’ve finished your overly-animated attack sequence and then pummel you when you can’t move. Add to that save points that are quite far apart and you have the perfect recipe for frustration.