Although the demand for big-breasted female heroines has died down, the demand for blood and guts still remains at an all-time high. Thus it leaves the door open for Majesco to continue to unleash its Vampiristic slasher onto the rest of the world. But as you’ll soon discover, it’s not just about excessive violence and gore, the game is actually more about intense combat, addictive action and… well, I guess it it’s about a little bit of violence, but don’t get us wrong, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, definitely one of the year’s biggest surprises.
In the first game you assumed the role of Rayne as she set came to grips with being the daughter of a vampire father and a human mother. It seems like a normal setup but you’ll soon discover that her father isn't just any garden variety vampire, he's the King of Vampires. Not just any
King of Vampires, but a King of Vampires who has an affinity for Nazis. Like most adolescent teenagers, Rayne hates her father but instead of crying about it while moping to Good Charlotte songs she decides that it would be easier to rip him to shreds. It's been 70 years since the events in the first game transpired. Her father presmuably passed away in a bizarre accident and Rayne felt cheated by the fact that he didn't die by her fans. To make herself feel better, Rayne has been hunting the remaining members of her family. The setup is a decent one that’s told through a series of competently rendered cutscenes. As the game unfolds you’ll gain more insight to Rayne’s world as she continues to do battle against her brothers and sisters.
Big breasted ass-kicker meets Tony Hawk.
Rayne’s main objective is to kick as much vampire tail as possible so she’s got some pretty lethal weapons in her arsenal. In the beginning you’ll have the punch, kick, feed and hook at your disposal. As expected, utilizing different combinations of the punch and kick buttons will lead to different types of devastating blows. Most of the fun comes from the feeding and hook that Rayne possesses. As before, Rayne is able to feed off of the blood of others in order to regain her health. It’s a nice gameplay element that really makes sense considering the surroundings and the thematic. By using the hook, Rayne can utilize nearby objects as weapons of devastation. It’s fun to toss enemies into fireplaces or impale them onto the horns of the rhinos that adorn the walls. If that’s not gory enough you can perform some rather gruesome fatalities as well. You’ll start out with a few but there’s a good chance that those are all you’ll need. You can slice a guy clean in half or knock him to the ground and chop his head off. As you progress you’ll need more, but a fatality is a fatality, they may look more elaborate but they carry the same weight.
Your other means of attack comes from a set of pistols that utilize blood as their bullets. You can get more ammo by feeding on a foe and then hitting the shoot button to let the bullets feed as opposed to Rayne. When the bullets run out you can still use the gun but they’ll feed from Rayne and cause her to lose health. At first I was getting visions of Devil May Cry
in my head but the gunplay doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain. It can be fun to use in close range but the weak impact and iffy targeting mechanism make them the second option to the melee attacks. She can also use them when grinding down rails but the targeting system is so inept that it’s nearly impossible to hit targets as you pass them. Thankfully you can still do a melee attack and slice your foes as you rush down the stairs. Since Rayne is half vampire she has a few supernatural tricks up her sleeve; she can slow down time in order to enhance her perception, speed herself up to outwit her opponents and enhance her vision so that she can see hidden doorways and lairs. Most of the problems I ran into with BR2 have to deal with the mission structure. There are too many times where the game doesn’t offer up enough guidance on exactly what it is you should be doing. I’ve had way too many instances where I thought I was heading towards the objective but I was actually running around in circles because I didn't know what to look for. In an early sequence you realize that you need to escape from the bar into a back alley but a giant fan stands in your way. If you’re rational you might start looking for a switch to turn the unit off but that won’t help you in this situation. The only way to bypass the fan is to throw a number of foes into it, damaging it enough until it falls apart. Perhaps if a voiceover came on and said “Hmm. I wonder how many Vamps it would take to dismantle a fan” the light bulb may have gone off in my head.
But let’s not mince words; the game is still a heck of a lot of fun to play. After you discover your next objective you’ll have fun tearing and shredding your way through legions of vampire fodder. That’s because the combat system is really effective and comes through where it counts. Initially some of the controls felt touchy and the erratic camera didn’t help matters much; but the designers were wise enough to instill a lock-on system for its combat. By holding down the button players can lock onto a target and do combat with them in a simple and easy fashion. To keep the action fresh, the game constantly hands you new moves and techniques that you can unleash upon your foes. This kept me hooked throughout the duration of the game because it kept making me want to press forth in search of that next special move. Most of them were worth it and don’t disappoint, especially in the blood and gore category.
From a graphics standpoint the game looks on par with what we’ve seen from similar games in the genre. Rayne looks excellent and has received a number of visual upgrades that bring her into the next generation. In terms of looks, I’d say that her model is about on par with the girl from Primal
. The rest of the world has received a pretty major face lift in comparison to the first game. All of the textures have been cleaned up and the outdoor areas look much better this time around. There are plenty of little details that will catch your eye as well, including the way that the furniture and surrounding objects shatter as Rayne hits them. All of the animation is superb and the way that Rayne’s hair flows around and she slashes up her foes is a thing of beauty. This is especially impressive given the fact that the animation still holds up well when the game utilizes its slo-mo filter to highlight some of the action. The only real deficiency is the poor rag doll physics exhibited by your enemies. Generally when you toss an enemy off a building you’d expect them to flair their arms wildly before they splatter on the pavement. In BR2 they kind of just fall and die in anti-climactic fashion.
I’m not sure what the sound of blades ripping through flesh sounds like, but I’d like to think that Majesco has come up with a rather faithful recreation of the effect. Most of the sounds have a real satisfying feel to them that sound really convincing to the listener’s ears. As you make your way through legions of foes Rayne will speak up and chime in with some wisecracks. Surprisingly they’re not all that bad although they sound a bit forced. For the most part the dialogue is smooth and the delivery is excellent, especially in this genre of games. Finally, the music sets an appropriate tone that fits with the game’s darker and brooding mood.
I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t had this much fun with a third person slasher since I reviewed Ubi Soft’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
late last year. When I’ve been overburdened with games like HALO 2
and GTA: San Andreas
, it’s nice to step back and be able to have fun with a game again. It’s not groundbreaking, but the intense action and decent mission structure will allow you to shut your brain off and have a great time.