A Rather Decent Sequel

About a week ago, I finished up Bloodrayne.  It wasn’t a particularly great game – it had a bad case of Ugly First Level Syndrome, for a start, and character animation was pretty atrocious, and the story went all the heck over the place.

Oh, and it spawned a pretty awful movie, too.

On the other hand, it was mostly about beating up Nazis, which is always a good time, and the main character was fun to watch run around.

So, overall, it was a C+ with a note of “A little more effort next time!” written in red ink and circled next to the letter grade.

Having now played through the sequel, well, they put in rather a little more effort on the sequel.  Hit detection is still kind of wacky, and some of the animations still tend to drop frames, but it’s obvious that the developers had much higher ambitions this time around.  The story, while definitely B-grade vampire fiction, is rather more cohesive, they boosted Rayne’s move set to include all kinds of acrobatics, put some very Prince-of-Persia-esque platforming bits in to make use of the new moves, boosted the number of environments you fight in and drastically increased the number and quality of boss fights.

Also you can put in a cheat code to unlock different outfits and run around for the entire game dressed like this:

Frankly, considering the kind of search terms I see in my referrers list every day, that should be enough for most of my readers to go play it right now.

One thing I particularly liked about the boss fights in the sequel is that, while it’s not always obvious what you need to do, most of the bosses have a hard time killing you quickly.  Almost every boss fight comes with a horde of accompanying minions, and since you can get Rayne’s health back by feeding on minions, you can try out different tactics until you hit on the Right Way To Kill The Boss.

There were a couple of particularly frustrating fights, and while the developers DID add a bunch of puzzles to the game in an attempt at depth, they’re almost as one-dimensional as Heavenly Sword’s Hat Boxes, but these are reasonably small complaints.

A slightly larger complaint is that it doesn’t support modern resolutions and, while there is an amazing fan patch that, among other things, adds in support for higher resolutions and full-screen anti-aliasing, it’s a bit of a hurdle to get it working.  It took me a good three hours of tweaking things to make it run in 1920×1200 with all the cutscenes operational.  You may have better luck, of course, but it really did bring home that PC gaming is a bit of a two edged sword.  🙂

Also, the PC version pretty much requires a gamepad, which I don’t mind at all, but the default sensitivity values for the gamepad, at least on my Logitech Dual Action pad, were far too sensitive.  After I turned them down a bit, it became much more playable.

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