REVIEW – BloodRayne: Betrayal

An awkward story and fussy controls create an unbalanced and unfair adventure.

 

BloodRayne

has quite a history spawning a couple console titles and some of the worst movies you can ever see.  But when I heard that Wayforward was handling a new sequel and taking the series in an entirely new direction, a glimmer of hope lit up BloodRayne’s dark shadow.  Unfortunately, many technical aspects hold back the potential of what could have been a great game.

 

Unlike the original console titles, Betrayal is a 2D sidescroller; image Devil May Cry’s combat mixed with the atmosphere and perspective of Castlevania.  Unfortunat

ely, combat is jerky and calling the platforming segments imprecise is an understatement.

 

Rayne’s

combat abilities were taken in a new direction.  Instead of simply slicing through hordes of enemies, Rayne can also suck the blood of her opponent’s to regain lost health or can imbue them with poison, acting as a ticking time bomb to explode other baddies.  Fighting the legions of enemies that will stand in your way can be violent and fast, but is ultimately marred with clunky and unresponsive controls.

 

Each attack

ing animation is stiff, eliminating any chance of fluidly linking together a graceful combo.  Animations cannot be interrupted, forcing players to thoughtfully look before you leap.  But when you are getting overwhelmed by a legion of enemies, you more often than not will not have this luxury.  Even when you are being attacked,

enemies will continue to pummel you while you are down causing cheap deaths and frustrating moments.

 

Controls are inconsistent too.  For example, there will be times when you automatically curb stomp a crawling enemy (who cannot cause you any damage) instead of attacking the pack of gun-wielding enemies right in front of you.  Grabbing enemies can also be inconsistent because Rayne will just grab whoever she wants instead of specifically grabbing that stunned enemy.  The game will also require the player to knock enemies into environmental spinning blades to clear a new path.  But the Up+Attack to launch the enemy in the air, then the pushing forward motion via the For

ward+Attack only works when the game chooses to do so.

 

The frustrating controls also extend well into the platforming aspect of Betrayal.  Rayne herself seems nimble, as she can attack and jump around with speed but there is no accuracy in her movements.  Jumping is nearly impossible thanks to the animation frame skips and lack of control.  And if you want to reach that higher platform, instead of easily giving the player a double jump, you can have to perform a running start sideways flip; if you ever played Donkey Kong ’94 on the original Gameboy (which is now on 3DS Virtual Console) you will understand this necessary jump technique.  In one of the earlier stages, you must platform vertically to reach the next part of the stage.  What should be a mindless and typical task quickly turns into a ne

arly impossible test of patience.  Oh yeah, and when you die, you have to restart at a checkpoint that is very far away.  Checkpoints are so far apart, they are practically nonexistent, especially when fighting certain bosses.

 

Wayforward is known for making games with high rankings in the visual department.  While Betrayal looks good, animations are lacking because they work against the player, backgrounds repeat and sometimes mesh with enemies, and you will constantly fight the same enemies (even though their grotesque nature fits the game well). And like a comic book, characters speak in speech bubbles as opposed to being narrated with voice acting and overall, the game just loses much of its tone because of this.

 

Betrayal is a difficult game but not through game design, but rather, because the controls are more dangerous than the in-game monsters.  If the controls were tweaked to work with the player as opposed to working against the player, then many frustrations would have been eliminated. The scoring system also beats down the player at the end of each stage; I would be surprised if dedicated players can obtain higher than an F ranking.  And finding the hidden items in each stage is a very difficult undertaking.  Even Achievements are difficult to come by and there really isn’t much of a plotline; something about Rayne trying to kill her Father, blah blah blah.  The story doesn’t really make sense and the enemies are just there to give you something t

o do.

 

If you have patience and dedication to overcome Betrayal’s handicapping control scheme, you might be able to pull some enjoyment out of this game.  Everyone else should be happy just playing a few minutes of the demo version.

 

Not As Good As: Contra 4 (DS)

Also Try: A Boy and His Blob (Wii)

Wait For It: the next Uwe Boll movie (sorry, bad joke)

Follow MyGamer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zackgaz

 

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