First, let me say that I have never played a game in the BloodRayne series, and only caught about five to ten minutes of one of the movies when it came on the Sci-fy channel. It seemed like an intriguing series however, so I jumped at the chance to take a crack at this game.
As expected, we play as the title character, Rayne. With something of a cartoonish sultry outfit, complete with busty chest and high heeled boots, Rayne looks ready to vanquish the undead or take a spin around a pole in any number of gentlemen’s clubs around the country. The artwork is also more cartoonish than one might expect for a next-gen game, but has the nostalgic feel of something from the SNES/Sega Genesis days, only with more sharpness to the characters and backgrounds. At the same time, some scenes blend together too well, so a pitfall or enemy can sneak up on you and you end up falling to your death or getting knocked down before you know what happened.
I found the combat controls rather unsophisticated, and the fighting sequences found me mashing the attack button repeatedly. One aspect of combat I did enjoy was the ability to “feed” on enemies to replenish some of your health or “infect” them, then press a button and make them explode. That was a lot of fun. Not so fun, getting knocked down. I got knocked down a few times to say the least, and every time I felt like I was watching the count scene from Rocky II, getting up seemed to go in slow motion and take way too long.
Our story starts with a military force and their effort to stop the evil vampire king Kagan, aka: Rayne’s father. Of course, this force realizes their troops are inept against the vast vampires in their ascot ties and blue jackets, so enter Rayne in her “rocket coffin”. Rayne emerges from the world’s fastest resting place and the button mashing begins soon after.
Overall, the game and gameplay are not that difficult in and of itself. During the course of some research, I had seen some complaints that the developers had substituted huge waves of enemies in place of actual gaming difficulty and challenge. I can see where that argument comes from in some instances I experienced, but I also encountered situations that were quite challenging and didn’t feature any enemies outside of a giant saw blade that was chasing me over numerous jumps from unstable platforms to narrow, moving platforms. I’ve never done any cross dressing so I cannot speak from experience, but I can’t imagine that those are easy jumps to make while wearing high heels.
I also think that high expectations may have led to some of those complaints. Obviously fans of any series will want the best for that series, and can sometimes create unrealistic goals for developers to attain. I’m no mind reader, so I don’t know if that is what happened in this case, but as I stated earlier, I have not played either of the prior games in the BloodRayne series, so I walked in with an open mind and a clean slate to work with.
I put in several hours with BloodRayne: Betrayal over two days and made it through seven of the 15 chapters before having to meet my deadline here. Over the course of that time, I died many times at the hands of numerous enemies, pitfalls, saw blades and bosses. I am pretty sure this game has killed me more than any other game I’ve played in recent memory, and that has to count for something. The game does have it’s flaws that keep it from being really good, but still has some good elements to keep it from being terrible.
BloodRayne: Betrayal gets a two out of five: DECENT.
* A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.