For those of you that didn’t know, BloodRayne dates back to the PS2 era, where it was shown off in glorious 3D. Off course this was as good as 3D could get at the time, and I will admit that Rayne was a pretty good looking character then. Still for the creators at WayForward to revamp the series into a 2D side scrolling hack ‘n slash like BloodRayne: Betrayal, it would almost seem like a step back. Is this going to be the BloodRayne that reboots the franchise into something more extravagant or send it tumbling down?
As you start the game, not much is known about the story other than you’re fighting for good and not evil. You’re working with a special military group known as the Brimstone Society that really doesn’t seem to trust you. Yet when you’re out hunting vampires, it’s only natural to send a vampire to hunt a vampire. In that case here comes Rayne, a sexy Dhampir in a rocket powered coffin to save the day. Rayne isn’t your ordinary vampire though; she’s a half breed with all the strengths of a vampire, while also cursed by her gift from having to feed on the blood of her victims. Luckily she’s on your side and the only thing she will be feeding on is her enemies. You will be fighting off waves of other vampires in the beginning while you make your way to find some kind of hidden castle. Along the way you will meet all sorts of other creatures of the night that all want to kill you. This includes ghastly ghosts, suits of armor, and many more surprises lurking in the shadows. You’ll even run into a mysterious friend who attempts to aid you in your mission. There is much to be explained as you fight your way through 15 chapters of blood drenched mayhem.
The game takes you through Rayne’s abilities and powers step by step as you progress. Basically when you first start out you have access to all of Rayne’s powers, it’s just figuring out how to use them correctly in certain situations. She does have quite a few different abilities such as her speed dash, sucking blood to steal life, even a way to infect the ones she bites to make them explode once triggered. At a range you can use her revolver to power through the toughest of opponents. Her combat blades do the trick nicely though when you need to get up close and personal with some air juggling, maybe even go in for the finisher heel stomp with her sharp high heeled boots. The combat for this hack ’n slash will take some getting used to for sure if you plan to survive in it and as the game progresses, so does the difficulty. I seriously wasn’t expecting the difficulty to be amplified as much as it was towards the later levels. It almost felt like the game was taking a ton of cheap shots at you in order to slow your progress. Even though the game is presented to be kind of linear, it does offer some exploration for you, in terms of finding special blood shrines and blood skulls. The blood skulls are going to be what matters most to look out for because they offer you a chance to upgrade your health bar or your revolver ammo for every 5 you collect. You might even have to solve a few environmental puzzles along the way to earn those blood skulls. Trust me when I say these buffs will make all the difference later on, especially against some of the tougher enemies and bosses. Yes, this game has bosses and you’ll find yourself in some pretty epic battles with them. These battles could almost be described as fighting some of the bosses from the Megaman games. That’s kind of what most of the gameplay reminded me of, just without the Megaman off course.
We don’t actually hear any voice acting in a game like this even though it would be nice, but unfortunately the only voice acting your going to hear is grunting. Still the music in this game is phenomenal and really sets the mood for the theme. It has this kind of a dark heavy metal sound to it along with some beautifully played piano music that seems to give you a sense of purpose when you hear it. Even though you mostly hear the same music all the way through the game, it’s not something you can get tired of very easily. One song that totally blew me away though, was at the credits, and that’s something you’re just going to have to discover for yourself. It was almost like an added bonus after getting through the game to make it feel somewhat rewarding.
BloodRayne: Betrayal looks pretty darn good in HD with its 2D art style. The art mostly sticks to its darker shades but theirs nothing wrong with a little color to lighten up the place. That is if the color is blood red if you know what I’m saying. You’re definitely going to be seeing a lot of that color I can guarantee it. Other than that, the environments do differentiate quite a bit from a dark forest, an underground cave system, or even a creepy looking ballroom. Some really interesting effects that the environment plays on you in certain instances, is a type of over shadowing effect that kind of reminds you of the samurai effect where people start fighting behind a rice paper wall and all you see is the shadow. In this case it would be Rayne fighting in the under-glow of the moonlight, which just looks fantastic to say the least. There sure is plenty of variety in the environment and things you will get to see as you venture into the unknown.
As you play through each chapter, you will be ranked on your performance by how much blood orbs you collected. This usually differentiates by how long you held a combo, didn’t get hit, or by how many secret orb stashes you found throughout the level. This can be quite challenging on its own, let alone beating the game. This type of thing really adds to the replay value if you want to master and hone your skills playing as Rayne. An added bonus to accomplishing this would be trophies, if you guys are into those kinds of things.
Overall I think this downloadable title is worth the buy, especially if you like the hack ‘n slash genre. It looks gorgeous in HD and spans for a good length of playtime that adds to your buck. BloodRayne: Betrayal has officially proved to me that it has what it takes to be an even greater game in 2D than it ever has in 3D.