BloodRayne: Betrayal is a 2D sidescrolling action game which was released on both Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network. Developed by WayForward Technologies, it is the first game in the BloodRayne series to be released since BloodRayne 2 came out back in 2004. Is this game worth the accompanying 1,200 Microsoft Point price tag or does this vampire game suck more than just blood?
The first thing you’ll notice about BloodRayne: Betrayal is the awesome art style. The graphics are quite vivid and have a sort of anime-esque feeling to them. Rayne, the game’s main character, is a vampire hunter who happens to also be half-vampire herself (sort of like D in the anime Vampire Hunter D). Rayne looks just as sexy as she always has and of course is clad in a low-cut dress.
There really isn’t much of a story to speak of here. After a few short lines in the prologue about the “Brimstone Society” intercepting some news of a vampire gathering, Rayne bursts from her coffin to start kicking ass! Unless you’ve played previous games in the BloodRayne series, you probably won’t care what is going on anyway.
Combat is fast-paced, incredibly gory, and very fun but it suffers from the game’s one major flaw: the controls. The first problem is that there is no way to block which seems kind of crazy. Being unable to defend yourself really throws a wrench into some of the boss fights. To further exacerbate this problem, you are still vulnerable to damage if you get knocked down by an attack so your health bar drains extremely quickly when you do end up getting hit.
Luckily Rayne has the ability to drink the blood of her enemies to replenish health at any given time. Depending on which foe Rayne sucks dry, she can restore anywhere from a little to a lot of health. Rayne can also bite her enemies which “infects” them. The player can then simply press a button and explode an infected foe like dynamite. This ability comes in handy in later chapters.
Another issue with combat is that the focus in each level seems to be on how many points you have accrued rather than getting through the stage. For example, there are several areas in each level where forward progression is stopped while groups of enemies come at you and you have to beat them all as fast as possible to get a special “time bonus.” These areas tend to devolve into frantic button-mashing as you attempt to get through it as quickly as possible. To me, rushing through something takes away the fun of it.
The shoddy controls also detract from the game when platforming elements begin to get introduced. The ability to double jump is shockingly missing (much like the ability to block) which makes a lot of jumps far more difficult than they should be. Rayne’s highest jump is a back flip that can only be performed immediately after changing directions while running. Yeah, try performing that on those small ledges! Also, since it is a back flip, it is often hard to judge exactly where you are going to land.
BloodRayne: Betrayal is a decent game that shows signs of brilliance at times. Unfortunately, the numerous issues with the controls are just too great and end up making the game frustratingly difficult. It’s okay when a game is challenging but if that challenge only arises due to bad control, it is a lot less satisfying to overcome.
Final Score: 3 / 5
(This review was based off a review copy of the game).