Bloodrayne Overview

•April 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

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.

 

Rayne (OTY)

•April 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Bloodrayne 1 (2002)

 

 

Bloodrayne 2 (2004)

Bloodrayne Betrayal (2011)

(Bonus raven form)

Rayne (Bloodrayne)

•March 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

Rayne is a dhampir. She has been around for hundreds of years. Although she was created by Kagan to serve in his elite vampire army Rayne has spurned her figurative “father” and she spends her time hunting down underlings who serve Kagan in attempts to destroy Kagan himself. She goes by the call sign “Agent Bloodrayne”.

Rayne has changed appearances quite a few times over the years, but her signature dual blades have remained the same. She has used unique bloodline guns and is highly proficient with most firearms. Rayne also has a few supernatural abilities which have evolved over time that she uses to help her track down and kill her vampire brethren. Some of these abilities can slow down time, or speed up time. They can also help Rayne locate enemies via heat signature through barriers. More recently Rayne has gained the ability to turn into a winged bird. This ability was given to her by a friend.

She has stopped Kagan from turning the world into a living hell more than once, and helped kill off a significant portion of the Nazi’s and halted some of their hell raising experiments. Like other vampires Rayne is still weak when faced with sunlight or water and will suffer damage if exposed to either. She can recover health by sucking blood from other creatures.

Over time her appearance or weapons might change but her mission doesn’t. Rayne will not rest until Kagan is truly destroyed.

Bloodrayne Betrayal MiniR

•February 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Bloodrayne Betrayal is an animated 2d hack and slash. It is a big departure from the first two games in the series (feels much more like castlevania now) but it is still fun. Rayne returns to cut her way through hordes of monsters and descend into the underworld. It has been simplified a lot compared to the older games which can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for. Some of the platforming parts are extremely tricky and it might be hit or miss with returning fans, but if you can find it cheaply it is still an entertaining entry in the Bloodrayne series.

Bloodrayne Betrayal Overview

•February 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Bloodrayne Betrayal is the third game in the Bloodrayne series. There are significant changes to a lot of the overall design of the game style.

The first and most obvious change is the graphics. Betrayal has switched from the older third person gameplay style camera to a 2.5D style setting. Betrayal looks much more like a Castlevania game now than it looks like a tomb raider/legacy of kain game. Rayne herself has undergone an overhaul and now looks a lot more cartoonish. She has a cell shaded anime look to her instead of the older more classic look. Rayne still has a costume that is reminiscent of her older style armor from the first two games but the new armor covers a bit more of her.


Rayne now has three major weapons to pick from, the default blades which most fans will recognize from the older games in the series, the pistol (which is only a single pistol now instead of the dual pistols from BR2), and the sun gun which is an entirely new weapon that has been introduced in Betrayal. The weapons themselves are pretty straightforward and don’t really have any special moves to them. The sword has some combos depending on which direction you hold before you attack but there are no longer any finishing moves like there were in BR1 or BR2. The pistol has a limited amount of bullets (which are pretty powerful) and the bullets can also pierce through multiple enemies. The sun gun/beam is a new weapon that has a very wide beam but is kind of slow. It does less damage overall but it has infinite ammunition and it can be fired in almost any direction which makes it pretty versatile. You can also use the sunbeam to propel yourself in left or right if you are floating on an object.

You can increase the number of bullets Rayne can store by collecting hidden artifacts that are scattered around the levels. You can also increase the maximum amount of health Rayne has. When you collect a certain amount of vampire artifacts the game will pause and you will be given a choice of whether you want more bullets or more health. You can pick whichever one you want, but once you have unlocked the maximum number of upgrades it will no longer offer that choice. I think it was something like every fours skulls found gives you an upgrade. Some of them can be pretty tricky to get to though (think of the heart tanks in Megaman X). Also similar to Megaman X is the new wall hopping ability and the air dash. There’s a normal dash as well and you can execute a pretty impressive backflip if you get the timing down right. Sometimes you will be forced to complete certain moves in order to continue on in the level which can be a pain if you are having trouble with a particular move that you are required to pull off.

You can kill some of the enemies by knocking them into environmental traps. Sometimes you will have to in order to progress farther in the level (which can be really annoying if you can’t get the combo down right). Some of the doors will only be opened once you have fed a certain number of enemies into the gears. You can also hop on enemies that will damage them and you can hop around in order to access new areas that would normally not be available.

For the first time in the Bloodrayne series you can shape shift. The new form is incredibly useful but they have placed barriers at certain points to prevent you from using it and making it too easy. There is one particular section that is incredibly hard without it. Anyone who has beaten it will remember the super long hopping section in the middle of the game that is super frustrating because it all boils down to timing.

You unlock some abilities and the sunbeam later in the game, so it might be really difficult (might even be impossible) to get some of the hidden upgrades before you have completely finished the game. You can replay any of the levels with the upgrades once you have unlocked them.

The story is very decently paced. It has about 20 levels overall which start off small but then get longer and harder. Rayne has her usual sarcastic charm and wit but there aren’t any voice actors, just comic book style text comments. The story is pretty straightforward. Rather similar to an early Castlevania in that regard. Except instead of going up you go down (lol). I got the game quite cheaply in a humble bundle and got 5-6 hours worth of playtime out of it and for the most part enjoyed it. There is also a decent amount of replay value if you are a trophy hunter or go hunting for all the bonus collectibles.

Betrayal has some very interesting music, with a much more Gothic feel compared to either of the first two games. The music totally fits the scene, and complements the game pretty well although it often sounds pretty similar. The graphics in Betrayal aren’t terribly impressive, and there is almost nothing you can configure in the settings so I guess the game just stretches to match the rendered resolution. It doesn’t look bad at all considering it’s fixed at a particular resolution.

There is a bonus art gallery and a fun alternate soundtrack that can be unlocked.

It is a pretty big change from the previous two games but honestly I think it is nice that the formula has been changed because the older games can get extremely repetitive.

Arno Dorian (AC:Unity)

•February 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Arno is the main character in Assassin’s Creed Unity.  He is a little uncertain of his true path…and his methods are often frowned upon but he will definitely get the job done. His relationship with Elise only makes things more complicated. They work very well together though.

 

Arno kid bonus (AC:Rogue render)

The Templar Armor (AC:Rogue)

•January 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

One of the final unlockable armors that can be acquired in Assassins Creed Rogue (and perhaps one of the most annoying ones).

Here is what it looks like in its final resting place.

Here’s what it looks like in action: