Blades, blood, brutality, breasts, and a little back-story.

User Rating: 7.5 | BloodRayne 2 PS2
Rayne is a half-vampire vixen working for a secret organization out to rid the world of vampires. She has her own personal reasons for doing what she does and in Bloodrayne 2 she sees the chance to kill her vampire siblings and her Father, fulfilling her need for vengeance. There's also the added benefit of saving humanity along the way.

The action takes place from a 3rd person perspective, and is mostly a melee combat game. Rayne is equipped with two large blades strapped to her forearms which allows her to dismember the waves upon waves of foes that cross her path. In addition to blade attacks you can also use her stiletto heels to perform kick attacks. A harpoon is also at your disposal, with which you can impale your enemies and then use the attached chain to throw them around the scenery. The final method of melee attack serves more than just cause damage. You can grab your foes and drain them of their blood, and ergo their life. This also happens to be how you recharge your own health bar.

These ways to dispatch your enemies can be combined and strung together in a large variety of combos; and there are a lot of combos to master. Too many for me really. I don't know if I would ever remember the button combinations required for every single type of move you can complete. The number of attacks you have is literally overkill.

But at least they're fun to watch, as the game is filled with blood spurting moments. The attacks you gain will let you decapitate, crush, and maimed your adversaries in a number of gruesome ways. This could be pile driving their head into the ground so hard it explodes, or holding a guy up in the air with one of your blades through his abdomen, giving him a spin, and slicing through his limbs like a giant food processor. Even your basic attack moves can cut off a leg so the victim is left hopping away on one foot screaming. With your harpoon you can also fling people on to fires so they burn, throw them into control consoles so they get electrocuted, toss them into sharp object to impale them, or send them off of tall structures so they fall to their death.

The more gruesome your kills the better, and not just from a fun perspective; it serves a functional purpose in the game. You're provided with a carnage meter. A brutal kill will make this meter increase. The more horrid the kill the faster it rises. When it raises enough you'll be given a larger health and a larger rage meter. You'll have the opportunity to upgrade, I think, about 4 times.

Rage is what fuels your special powers. These powers include the ability to slow down time, deal out stronger attacks and combos for a limited time, and even send out a ghost version of Rayne to collect health for you, from nearby enemies. Throughout the game you'll begin to earn advanced versions of your powers. As you use these powers your rage meter decrease. You can fill your rage meter back up through combat and bloodshed. It's a system that works well for the title. The only power that doesn't use any rage is your Aura Vision. This power makes it easy to see in the dark, allows you to see enemies from far away (even through walls and objects), and will let you see secret entrances. Needless to say, when I wasn't using one of my other powers (as you can only use one at a time) I had this one on almost the entire time.

Vampire powers, bladed weapons, and finally guns. Really there's only one set of dual "Dragon Pistols", but the types of firing modes increase as you progress through the game. You start with a standard semi-automatic firing mode, and eventually progress to what works like a mini-rocket. But there's no traditional ammunition to collect; the guns are powered by blood. So you'll have to make the choice when you jump on a bad guy, if you want to suck their blood to recharge your health, or use their blood to reload your guns. If you don't reload, and your guns empty out it will start to draw what it needs from your life-bar. Rarely was this an issue for me, since I hardly ever used the guns until the last couple of levels. I always just found it easier to stick with standard attacks.

The henchmen that serve as deltas along the way don't change very much for the first 75% of the game. You'll see the same models used over and over again, serving as nothing more than an open buffet to recharge after a boss or mini-boss fight. There's a decent number of those larger encounters throughout the game, and they try to mix the bigger confrontations up a little. There's a giant demon thing that throws people with live bombs attached to them, and you have to send them flying back her way. And there's more human looking bosses which you don't really have to fight, but are there to get in your way while you're destroying things around them. There's also the commonly used charging mini-boss that you dodge so it runs into a wall, and then while stunned you can attack it.

In between the many bosses and mini-bosses, there's also death puzzles, which brings us back to the generic baddies. This often consists of you having to harpoon the bodies of the on-coming enemies and throw them into machinery to break it, or another similar style means of sabotage. This is all mixed in with a little bit of rail grinding and platforming peppered over-top of the violence.

Because the controls were fine, the camera worked, and the kills were fun, the repetition was the game's most obvious weak point. to me. No amount of scantly clad women (of which there were plenty) could compensate for the eventual feeling of "been there, done that". The game took me just over 9 hours to get through, but about 2 hours in the middle could have been cut out, without losing much of the game's feel or purpose. The cheesy writing didn't help either. It felt like there were times where the writers said "We haven't sworn yet in this scene. I'm sure we can use the F word somewhere; work it in."

I didn't find Bloodrayne 2 particularly engaging, but despite it's flaws it still works for some mindless gory fun, and overall was an improvement over the first one.