BloodRayne impressions

We warm up to a new build of BloodRayne.

We got to see an updated build of BloodRayne, this one running on the PS2. In terms of stability, the game was running quite well, and it seems that there was more happening in terms of enemy AI and level scripting compared with the last time we saw the game running on an Xbox. For those new to it, BloodRayne is a third-person action game that stars a superslick female half-vampire with all sorts of neat powers and weapons. Her name is BloodRayne, and she does all the things that players assume a vampire would: suck blood and go into a frenzy, slow down time, and even snag enemies with a Scorpion-like harpoon.

One of the stages we got to see was the same one that was showcased in our previous demo: the German military installation. Enemy placements were less random, though, and their AI routines were significantly more fleshed-out than they were before. Some pretty significant changes were made to the way that BloodRayne herself moves about. First, her jump, which previously was somewhat wild and random, has been tweaked quite a bit. It's more vertical now than it was before, but it still behaves a little strangely; the character model seems to hover near the ground while in the air, and the accompanying animation resembles a kind of screw attack. The wall jump has also been similarly tweaked, and the camera action accompanying that is much more sane. As a result, the move is much more viable for actual movement.

In terms of attacks, BloodRayne is still vicious. Players can pick up any gun that their enemies drop, but their primary mode of attack--and the only way they'll be able to increase their blood rage meter--is by attacking with the blades on their arms. All attacks are mapped to the shoulder buttons, so switching between the two is quite easy. And because the game is controlled basically like a console FPS, all their attacks are easily accessible. Drinking blood is accomplished with the square button, and players can perform this on enemies who are both living and dead. A cool touch added to this build was the ability for players to position their conscious victims while sucking their blood. Basically, this lets players put their bodies between them and fire their machine gun when they're up on them feeding. It's a cool touch, and it's quite useful. From what we can tell, nothing much has changed with the harpoon. Its basic application is to draw enemies to players to facilitate feeding, and in this regard, it seems to work admirably.

The second environment we saw took place in a swampy area of Louisiana. It was a predominantly outdoor environment, and water permeated it, ranging from ankle- to waist-deep. We eventually encountered a ramshackle mansion somewhere in the wilderness. Inside were all sorts of destructible pieces of furniture, as well as some zombie/mutant-type creatures. We didn't get to spend a huge amount of time in this area, to be frank, but it was neat to see that there will indeed be outdoor environments and that players will be able to fight something other than Nazis throughout the span of the game. There are rumors that demons will come into the equation at some point, but we have yet to see it.

In any event, BloodRayne seems to be the fast-paced, kinetic experience it has always been. The demo we played was extremely playable and superfast, so we're anxious to see more of it. We'll keep you updated.

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