BloodRayne 2 Updated Impressions

Majesco shows off the latest incarnation in its vampiric action game series.

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Majesco stopped by this morning to give us an updated look at BloodRayne 2. The game is a sequel to last year's third-person action title BloodRayne, which was developed by Terminal Reality and starred the deadly, buxom Rayne, a human-vampire hybrid who was out to rid the world of evil. While the original game was set during the 1930s and pitted her against Nazis, this year's game moves the action up to the present day. The story, ripped right out of a Jerry Springer episode, focuses on family trouble. It seems Rayne's vampire father has had it with the humans that are taking up space on the planet. To free up some space, he's decided to bring about a "vampire apocalypse" that will effectively free the vampires of the world from their shackles and allow them to gain dominion.

Drew Haworth explains how BloodRayne 2 will improve on the original. Click "stream" for a larger view.

Thanks to a device called "the shroud," which is designed to block out the sun and allow vampires to have their run of things, Rayne's father's plan may just come to fruition. Rayne's pop has enlisted all of her siblings (yes, he apparently slept around some) as generals in the new army he's building to accomplish his diabolical scheme. However, Rayne's not having any of it. And so, much like the family squabbles on Jerry Springer that wind up with entire families knocking each other around with folding chairs, you'll take control of Rayne as she sets out to both kill her siblings and stop her dad. In this case, though, Rayne will use a full set of vampiric abilities and a unique set of weapons to get the job done instead of relying on your average folding chair, which sometimes makes for better gameplay.

The work-in-progress PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game showed off the progress Terminal Reality has been making in the development process. The demos featured several areas in the game that helped highlight Rayne's significantly enhanced move set. Rayne's core moves return, but you'll find that she'll be able to perform all manner of deadly new moves. The combat system has been expanded in a number of ways. You'll be able to engage in free-form or locked-on combat depending on your tastes. Locked-on combat will let you perform evasive moves while your attacks will focus on a specific target. Free-form combat won't limit you to a single target but will have Rayne perform broader attacks that are designed to hit enemies around her.

When melee combat isn't enough to kill your foes, you'll be able to use Rayne's trusty guns, which are very different from those found in the original game. While the guns are initially pretty pedestrian single-shot weapons, you can upgrade them to fire a variety of different rounds that range from shotgun-style spread shots to explosives and rockets. The twist to the guns is their ammo, which is blood. Much like Rayne can feed off of her foes to refill her health bar, it will be possible to fill your guns by sticking your foes with them--much like sticking a spout into an oil can. The guns will have their own reservoir, but once it's drained, the guns will drain Rayne's health.

Besides Rayne's guns, you can also make use of her handy whip and various acrobatic moves. Plus, you'll have the full range of her vampiric vision modes and special abilities, which will let you slow down time and perform devastating attacks. Furthermore, the addition of fatality-style finishers, which can be used while feeding or attacking foes, gives Rayne a touch of style.

Rayne will shed buckets of blood this coming October.
Rayne will shed buckets of blood this coming October.

The graphics in both versions are looking quite sharp, with the PlayStation 2 sporting an impressive level of detail and lighting that is actually comparable to its sharper Xbox cousin. Character animation has been beefed up, and all the characters in the game move considerably better than their somewhat stuffy predecessors from the original title, including Rayne, who has gained the most love in terms of polish. The various effects used for her vision modes have been amped up to give them a more dramatic look. The frame rate is still a work in progress in some places, but it's mostly pretty solid.

The audio was probably the roughest element in the version we played. Some effects were in, but others, such as speech, are still being tweaked. However, the gunfire, explosions, and death cries were already in, so everything was all good.

While it's still coming together, BloodRayne 2 appears to be headed in a promising direction for a sequel. The gameplay has been tightened up and expanded, while the visuals have been beefed up, thus positioning the game to surpass its predecessor. If you're looking for some third-person action (with a healthy dose of cleavage and fangs), BloodRayne 2 may be the game for you. The game is currently slated to ship this October for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and a PC version will follow shortly thereafter.

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