Sunday, November 9, 2014

BloodRayne 2

Terminal Reality improved upon many things in BloodRayne 2. Not enough to make me like it, though. In fact, at times it was worse than the first game and I almost left it unfinished.

The biggest offender was Rayne's chainhook that sees much more use in the second game. Every now and again you need to sling enemies into different things in order to progress. These simple puzzles get continously more challenging, and reach their pinnacle at some underground club, where you need to throw four enemies into different speakers to overload them.

There is no room for error, as the enemies will drop from them quite fast. Basically, one failed attempt, and you need to redo all of them. I had extremely hard time getting past that part. I spent over an hour stuck there until I watched a video of someone doing it. The only thing he did differently, was having bloodrage on. It apparently increases the force the chain throws enemies, and I was able do complete the puzzle on my first try afterwards.

BloodRayne 2 has a whole lot more moves and combos than the first game. Unfortunately, it again felt to me as if the most effective way of killing enemies was simply draining them, especially with the execute moves you can perform from there. However, with the slow motion depleting the bloodlust bar this time and there being many enemies that cannot be jumped on, things were not quite as simple.

In general, I found the game pretty hard. The difficulty prevented me from getting much enjoyment out of the game, and around 70% through the game I had had enough and started using cheats to finish the game in a reasonable time. I wonder if playing with a controller would have helped with the difficulty. While generally keyboard and mouse worked fine, the three keys requiring moves (chainhooking and dodging) were bit tricky to use.

The cheats are used to unlock extra outfits as well. Normally she has only two; she starts with an evening dress but changes back to her standard outfit after the beginning and wears it till the end. I think they could have done it like in Alice: Madness Returns and make Rayne change her clothes for each chapter.

While the engine is apparently mostly the same as in BloodRayne, its widescreen support seemed worse, as enemies and some objects on the edges of the screen were not being drawn after I changed the resolution to 16:9 the Unofficial FSAA Patch (known, unfixable thing). The patch -- or mod -- comes with all kinds of options you can tweak to make the game look prettier. And as I used it right from the start, I do not know how the game would have looked without the tweaking. A huge amount of effort has been put into the mod for sure. Maybe more than BloodRayne 2 deserves, in my opinion.

The voice-acting was maybe slightly better than in BloodRayne. The story definitely was, although not amazing yet either. Music sadly was similar to the first game's, and the main gameplay... not improved enough. The combat simply did not feel good, and that is where it comes down to.

I am glad I am done with this series finally. I think I will avoid doing similar impulse purchases in the future, regardless how cheap the game is. (I did buy System Shock 2 from GOG's summer sales as well, and it was not as good as I had heard either. But more about it later.)

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