And now for something completely non-political: a review of Bloodrayne 2, as compared to it’s predecessor.
For those not in the know, Bloodrayne is a video game. It stars Rayne, a half-human, half-vampire and all-around badass. She looks like this:
She carries three-foot blades on her arms, wields vast arsenals of weaponry, and kills vampires, nazis, and zombies, all while wearing a corset and not much else. She can dodge bullets and thinks nothing of carrying a rifle in each hand. She can regenerate her health by drinking the blood of her enemies, in addition to other powers. In short, she is a stereotypical gamer-geek’s wet dream.
The orginal Bloodrayne was one of my guilty pleasures. I very rarely play violent video games; even the tamer first-person shooters usually make me uncomfortable after awhile. Bloodrayne is one of the few exceptions. Nazis and zombies are two groups I feel no compunction about dismembering, and in the original her enemies are exclusively nazis, zombies, nazi zombies, and odder creatures. I found a certain cathartic pleasure in carving a bloody swath through the bowels of the third reich.
So I was quite excited when I heard Bloodrayne 2 was out. shadowandlight was kind enough to let me borrow the game and his XBox so I could give it a whirl. Here are my impressions, for anyone who’s interested. They are accompanied by a completely arbitrary rating system that I will be making up as I go along.
- -10 Dead bodies disapear. This is one of my chief annoyances with modern video games, and one of the things I liked most about the original Bloodryane. There’s something very satisfying about being able to traipse back through the trail of destruction that one has left, and vanishing corpses just steals that satisfaction. Blood and broken furniture remains, but no bodies, and no dropped guns or hats or limbs. I also haven’t noticed slash marks on the walls in the sequel.
- +5 Gorgeous graphics. The visuals have received a major upgrade, as would be expected of a sequel, especially on the XBox. Rayne was a joy to watch in the original, but now she’s even better-defined 😀
- +3 New outfits. Rayne has enhanced her wardrobe in the 60 or so years since the first game. She takes the Matrix creed to heart: If you’re going to kick ass, you might as well look hot doing it.
- -10 Blood guns suck. In the original, Rayne armed herself by taking guns from her unfortunate foes. She could carry up to six guns of various sizes, along with a special weapon like a rocket launcher, and grenades. There was a visceral thrill to running along, guns blazing in each hand,tossing an empty gun aside and picking up a new one from a falling soldier all without missing a beat. Now she is inexplicably unable to pick up guns from her environment, and instead has uses crappy “blood guns” which use blood for ammo and just don’t pack the audiovisual oomph of assault rifles and carbines.
- +10 vastly improved hand-to-hand improved combat system. This was my biggest complaint about the original. Instead of a single combo, repeated over and over, Rayne now has a vast repertoire of offensive and defensive moves, many of them quite spectacular.
- +5 New powers. I haven’t unlocked any of them yet, but it looks like she’s able to learn some nifty new vampire tricks.
- -2 No Nazis. True, there are plenty of other scumbags in the world, but I’m going to miss killing Nazis.
- +3 Acrobatics. Rayne’s an acrobat now! Her trapeze and pole-clmbing (yes, really) are welcome eye-candy. Oh, and they’re handy for reaching out-of-the-way locations, too.
- +2 100% more gore. The Rayne of the original was a crude amateur at killing compared to this one. She’s now an artiste of the blade, and her medium is flesh. Actually, it gets to be a bit much for me at times. But for working off a little pent-up aggression, it’s great. Apparently, vampires are basically walking pressurized blood-bags, judging by the fountains of blood that erupt whenever Rayne impales them.
Conclusion: it is good. I’m going to enjoy playing more of it. If you go for deliberately cheezy, over-the-top sexy vampire gorefests, this is your game. Or if the election has left you with a bellyful of rage and no outlet, I recommend it. Just imagine that the vampires are a bunch of Karl Rove clones.
OK, so I lied about this post not being political. Sue me 😛