REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

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REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

When the training level advises the player to ‘harpoon enemy and chuck onto rhino horn,’ you know there’s no room for nuance in a game. Later, a man’s intestines are strangled. In six-inch heels, our vampiric heroine surfs down bannisters while shooting weapons fuelled by human blood. The sound of a racehorse pissing on wet grass is followed by limbless stumps spurting scarlet across the floor. BloodRayne 2 is as understated as a nad kick.

REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

So BloodRayne reappears, in a comeback that no one expected. It was the 1930s, and our titular half-human, half-vampire had stopped evil Germans from forming a vampire army when we last met. She’s been killing her siblings and other members of a fang-based cult for the past six decades, and she’s still going. And now, in what we call modern-day,’ she’s dividing the zombies into bite-sized pieces once more. As Roy Castle famously sang, devotion is all that is required.

We follow Rayne as she raids a mansion party and finds ourselves right in the middle of it, hacking, slicing, and filleting punks, vampires, and Goths like they’re extras in a Hollywood B-movie.

REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

You’d anticipate Stephen Dorf to show up in a long leather coat, smoking a cigarette, wearing sunglasses indoors, and listening to Marilyn Manson. Someone has invited every fetish cliché in the book to a fancy dress party. Thigh-high boots and androgynous villains, leather and lace, Mohicans and gimp masks, thigh-high boots and androgynous baddies They leap and strike, flashing their knickers or garters, spouting semi-kinky speech, and profiting from the pleasure and pain. Do it again, oooh, that hurts.

Raining Blood. And limbs.

Don’t get me wrong: I like a solid pair of knockers just as much as the next guy. However, the campiness, brick-like subtlety, oafish animation, and corny character design make all of these elements about as seductive as a eunuch in a V-neck jumper. “I’ve got to make a blood bank withdrawal,” Rayne declares with all the zeal and wit of a Carry On movie. When she drinks from a victim, she gulps it down and ‘Mmms’ like it’s the most enticing thing she’s ever seen. She may just as easily be circling something with her right thumb and forefinger while jabbing her left index finger in and out of it and making slurping noises.

The fighting system works well, and Rayne appears to be well-equipped with a wide range of skills, weapons, and strikes. It’s as if all she has to do is flick someone’s ear and their skull explodes. She slices and impales with a few clicks of the joystick, sending arms, heads, and torsos flying over the screen, thanks to custom-made blades connected to her arms. The innards slop over the floor when bodies are severed down the middle. Rayne is so powerful that she can kick a man’s skull off with one of her finishing moves. Instead of a pie fight, everyone is flinging stomach lining and internal organs.

REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

The game is far too easy, which adds to its appeal. You couldn’t be arsed to play if the game was complicated or the enemy put up a good fight. Part of the issue is that Rayne may heal herself by feeding on enemies at any time, as well as charge her pistols (because her guns drink blood, remember). As a result, every adversary becomes a medi-pack and a source of ammo. She’s an unstoppable killing machine with special skills including a rage that doubles the damage. The harpoon attack, which ignores physics to allow the player to fling impaled foes onto statues, boar tusks, a raging fire, a barbed knob, or whatever else the euphoric designer decided would look ‘quite good,’ deserves special notice.

This gore and brutality, on the other hand, lacks refinement and style. Whereas in Doom 3 or Resident Evil 4, corpses jerk as chunks of flesh are blown off or heads are obliterated in a shower of blood, BloodRayne’s fighting has all the elegance of a drunken butcher going to work and waving his off-cuts in your face. He slurs, “See that – it’s an arm,” simply to emphasise the point. “Would you like a pound of the kidney to go with it?”

Cheer up Goths!

It’s attractive on the outside, but you wouldn’t want to take it home until you’d had a few. It’s like watching action figurines with limited points of articulation chopping at each other with huge weapons, thanks to the stiff character motion. There are a few problems, such as characters becoming stuck behind small flower pots, but nothing that will make you scream. You’ll be too preoccupied with the ludicrous violence, sloppy innuendo, and unintentionally humorous dialogue (“You rat-sucking Nazi asshole!”) to notice anything else. It’s a goth-rock mash-up. Evanescence wrote the script, plot, and most of the ideas for the show – bullet-time is renamed ‘Dilated Perception,’ for god’s sake – and the whole thing is so ridiculously exaggerated that it’s surprisingly entertaining. There’s even a guitar solo in the orchestral score.

REVIEW : BloodRayne 2: ReVamped (XBOX Series X)

If you were an enraged individual, you could argue that BloodRayne’s persona contributes to the old prejudice that videogames are just for bedroom-bound young nerds. This cliched masculine dream is dominated by buxom, leather-clad wench killings. She’s so tough that she refers to males as ‘bitch,’ just in case you forget who’s boss, you grub scum. But she’s such a masculine dominatrix that she might as well have a hairy back and something down her pants. We’re not furious, and we’d much rather pat her on the head and say, “aah, bless” to her ten-year-old notions.

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