BloodRayne 2 ReVamped Review (Switch eShop)
Sometimes it takes a few tries for a developer to properly execute their vision for a game. Just look at the original Metroid and then think about how it drove Super Metroid. It’s not that the original was Wrong, but it was a rudimentary first take on what Yoshio Sakamoto really had in mind from the start. The same sentiment could apply to the BloodRayne series. While the first BloodRayne was a botched attempt at making a first character action game, BloodRayne 2 delivered a much more polished and enjoyable take on the formula. BloodRayne 2 is unfortunately still not a great game, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be commended for the improvements it has implemented.
BloodRayne 2 is set in modern times, so there are no secret Nazi squads to find. Rather, the narrative is a much more personal story of revenge. The plot centers on Kagan, Rayne’s vampire father, and the vast family of bastard children of the hampirs he has fathered over the decades. This twisted “family” has formed an organization called the Cult of Kagan, which aims to create a dark world where vampires can roam the land freely. So, Rayne sets out on a quest not only to kill all of his half-siblings, but also to kill his father and get revenge on him by murdering his human mother. It’s not a very in-depth plot, but this story is nonetheless significantly improved over the confusing and boring mess of its predecessor, as it presents just the right mix of camp and cool.
Much like the story, the gameplay feels a lot more streamlined and better designed this time around. You’re still going to run through linear levels that swing between brief platforming challenges and arena-style brawler segments, but it’s the little details that make it more compelling. On the one hand, enemies fight decently, so you’ll have to make full use of Rayne’s extended movement set to properly deal with the endless waves of thugs and creeps. Beyond that, things like environmental kills and special finishing moves add that extra level of pizzazz that was sorely lacking in the first game, and Rayne’s controls overall feel a lot tighter and more responsive.
That said, the absence of any significant rating or progression system still limits the potential of this combat system. Enemy encounters are difficult and enjoyable at first, but it can be easy for them to become repetitive and stale as they start to fade over time. Rayne gains skills and attacks as her adventure continues, but there’s a pervasive sense of stagnation that lingers as it doesn’t feel like she gets much more powerful over time. So BloodRayne 2 has an enjoyable combat, but there’s a lingering feeling that it could have been a lot more with a few simple additions.
Much like combat, the level design has also been beefed up here and feels more thoughtful. Whether you wander through mansions, factories, or sewers, each location stands out from the next with a few light-level gadgets that mix up platforming and acrobatics. Plus, Rayne’s tighter controls extend to his platforming prowess, so things like flipping between poles and crushing rails are a lot more tactile than the floating, imprecise madness of the first game. still liked to see a bit more variety in the environments – there is a parcel concrete rooms here, but it’s clear the devs put more effort into making the levels look like places instead of video game levels, and that effort has largely resulted in a much more enjoyable experience.
On the presentation side, BloodRayne 2 is still pretty poor, but it clearly runs on a more advanced engine. Elements such as larger environments, a more dynamic camera, and detailed character models feature a notable technological advance, and these elements are only reinforced by the enhancements added for this re-release. It’s still clear that this is a mid-2000s title, but things like realistic shadows cast by firelight or reflections on a marble floor significantly soften the rougher edges. You won’t be at all impressed with what you see here, but the visuals have aged better than the screenshots suggest.
Unfortunately, the performance is not improved too much for this entry. The good news is that we didn’t notice a substantial drop in frame in the action, which makes the experience much smoother overall compared to the first game’s ReVamp. The bad news is that BloodRayne 2 is also prone to crash issues, requiring a restart and loss of progress each time. This is something that could most likely be fixed over time, but the fact that this version has such issues at all is quite disappointing.
We think a special mention needs to be made here on how BloodRayne 2 is much better done as a cohesive experience compared to its predecessor. There is a nice sense of “intentionality” to this adventure that ties all of its parts together in a much more satisfying way. It feels like the developers spent more time examining every aspect of the game and went through a rigorous process of eliminating what didn’t work and adding things that would work. It’s rare that you see a series undergo such a quality makeover from entry to entry like this, and we’re in awe that the original developers of Terminal Reality were able to pull this one out of the fire as well as it did. they did it. If a hypothetical third game (no, Betrayal doesn’t count) from this era were to represent a jump in similar quality, we think this series could have been something with real resistance.
Is BloodRayne 2 a better game than its predecessor? Absoutely. Is this a game you need in your collection? Uh. Tighter controls, better level design, and more enjoyable combat make BloodRayne 2 by far the top entry in the series, but it loses a lot of its luster when stacked against contemporaries like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry. or the original God of War. . There are worse things you could buy for twenty bucks, but it’s the mundane kind of game you play once and never again. If you have a special affinity for the more simplistic and sometimes messy game design of the time, BloodRayne 2 may be worth it, but even then we suggest you wait for a sale.