Bloodrayne Overview

 

Bloodrayne 1 is a 3rd person game which is very much focused on hack and slash gameplay. The story is pretty straight forward and not very complicated. The premise is pretty cool though. The main character is a dhampir named Rayne who is a demon hunter. She works for Brimstone Society and is always on the lookout for her father.  The game starts off in one particular era but during the events of the game Rayne progresses through time and also visits different locations. It was pretty neat to see different time periods and multiple settings. There are many smaller levels that all fit under the subcategory of one particular setting.

Throughout the course of the game Rayne has a wide variety of guns to select from and use. She can dual wield most weapons (ala max payne) but the guns are not terribly accurate. The guns tend to lack ammunition as well. There are special weapons that are two handed and take up an entire slot of their own, but they are very powerful and do major damage. Since Rayne also has a permanent set of dual blades there will always be a weapon handy. Sometimes it can be very challenging if you try and take the melee approach to the situation but it’s doable. You will never truly be stuck in the game. I didn’t have much trouble with ammunition because I mostly used the blades and then used the target to regenerate health.

As Rayne is part vampire she can drain blood from enemies and then heal herself. She can suck blood from pretty much any enemy aside from the bosses. Once you have damaged an enemy Rayne can usually latch onto them and then suck them dry. It seems a little odd that Rayne can suck blood from monsters who have tainted or impure blood, but it seems she can do so with no penalty or damage.

In addition to the guns and blades Rayne also has a bunch of special powers which help makes things considerably easier.  She can see things in infrared and also has supernatural powers that allow her to speed up or slow down time as well as increased damage for limited amounts of time. Some of these powers drain the special power meter while others barely use it at all. Attacking enemies will recharge the special meter. Rayne upgrades her powers by collecting demon parts which she can ingest/interchange with her own parts which enhance her abilities. As the game progresses Rayne unlocks new powers and attacks but they are mostly combo based and they drain the special meter really fast. They do a lot of damage as well so it’s a fair tradeoff I guess.

I found it was often pretty confusing trying to figure out what to do or where you were supposed to go. It didn’t help that when you die you have to restart the entire level from scratch which is annoying. There are no checkpoints and you will sometimes die for absolutely no reason at all, like if you step in the wrong spot or you jump into the wrong area or you thought you could enter somewhere and you end up falling to your death.  In some of the later levels you are also allowed to backtrack which makes it that much more confusing because you are running around looking for something, but you aren’t entirely sure where it is and there’s no map.

Some of the sections (particularly in the final levels) can be ridiculously hard and unbalanced. As there is no level up system or anything xp based you don’t have to fight enemies and you can frequently just run past them if you want to.  It often makes things a lot faster and easier if you do. Other times you will be forced to fight and have to clear the level of enemies so you can’t just run past and ignore enemies. This happens a lot with areas of the levels where you have to hunt someone down. I notice the final levels being ridiculously unbalanced and hard returns to haunt you again in Bloodrayne 2 as well.

Amusingly Rayne can open most doors just by jumping onto them. Those must be some pretty powerful heels she’s wearing. Similar to other vampires, Rayne isn’t a fan of sunlight or water. She will take continued damage if she is exposed to either of the two. Rayne herself actually reminds me quite a lot of the main character from the Underworld series.

Rayne seems to hate humans and monsters alike and will happily chop up either. I guess she probably hates vampires more considering her feelings for Kagan.  The whole game does kind of have an Underworld feel to it.

Sadly the game really has very few secret areas, and pretty much no unlockables or bonus items that can be collected. There’s no new game plus or anything like that either. There are real time cutscenes instead of the CG/ingame ones that the later games in the series have. They can be a little cheesy but on the other hand they can also be pretty cool.

The hack & slash element to Bloodrayne gets repetitive really fast. If you don’t like it right of the bat then you most likely won’t like the rest of it as it doesn’t change much. There are different enemies and guns but the mechanics are still the same.

Bloodrayne is still a pretty fun game but I can definitely see how people might get bored with it fairly quickly. At times it felt extremely repetitive and could be a bit boring. Aside from the story there isn’t anything to collect. I guess some of the enjoyment is nostalgia based. Some of the bosses can be hard to beat because the game doesn’t give you any hints at all on how to defeat them and many of the bosses will take quite a few tries before you figure them out. (Particularly that stupid werewolf in the tower). The final boss was also incredibly overpowered. He was hard to beat quickly, and he got progressively stronger as time went by.

The game doesn’t handle widescreen natively as it’s a pretty old game, but it still looks pretty decent considering how old it is. Perhaps with some 3rd party mods it’s still possible to enable widescreen but it will probably make things distorted or stretched. It only supports 4:3 resolutions natively. The PC port has some rather snazzy advanced nvidia effects (perhaps the grandfather to the current Nvidia Gameworks) like advanced water reflections and enhanced fog/smoke effects look nice compared to the console counterparts. That being said, there is almost no controller support at all on the PC so if you choose to play it you will have to use the KB/M unless you want to go through setting up joy2key or something along those lines which will have its share of issues.

If you like vampire action games like Legacy of Kain, Vampire Masquerade/Bloodlines, Blade, or Underworld then this is definitely worth looking into. If you are set on having proper controller support you might want to look for some of the console counterparts. None of them have been remastered so they are probably quite cheap now. It’s also quite possible with the advancements in PCSX2 and Dolphin that the console versions might even look and handle considerably better than the pc port now (5x internal resolution upscale and all that). It definitely won’t run as well, but for some people it might be worth the tradeoff.

 

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~ by kain243 on April 10, 2016.

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