BloodRayne: Betrayal Review

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The BloodRayne series has been poorly received by critics since its original incarnation. Find out if this game changes that perception in our BloodRayne: Betrayal Review!

Release Date September 5, 2011
Genre Action/Hack N’ Slash
Platforms PS3/Xbox 360
Developer WayForward
Price $14.99 US
ESRB Rating Teen
Players 1 Player

 

Admittedly, I’ve never played one second of the BloodRayne series before Betrayal, it just wasn’t something I was ever interested in but, when I had the chance to get to play Betrayal, I couldn’t pass it up. The series hasn’t been well-received and I wanted to find out for myself if Betrayal could break out and bring something new to the table and it did just that.

BloodRayne: Betrayal Review
There’s always action in BloodRayne: Betrayal.

The story is very simple, the protagonist, Rayne is transported to a castle via coffin rocket to destroy her father. To do this, she must go through a myriad of vampires, monsters, traps, bosses, and more on her way. The first thing I noticed about the game right off the bat is the great art direction incorporated here, I wish more games were in this style. It has an anime/manga feel that is very refreshing compared to all the games we’ve been seeing in the past few years trying to be as realistic as possible. The music brought this together too with a gothic sound over classical music and guitar riffs depending on the level. In addition to the actual art direction though, I thought the levels were greatly varied featuring different environments and elements with both indoor and outdoor scenes and there was a lot of detail put into all the different objects in the environment to create dynamic levels.

The entire move set is available to you completely right from the beginning, no unlocks, and boasts numerous different combos that you can do with Rayne’s swords. I loved this because you could learn and use different ways to finish off your enemy at your own pace. In addition to the combos, there were some interesting abilities such as Dash, Backflips, Wall Slide, and more. There’s also a pistol with ammo and flamethrower that’s unlimited which makes disposing of masses of enemies an easy experience. I found that the great thing about the combat system is that nothing was impossible to do and there were really no impossible button sequences to pull off. It’s a game that tries to be accessible as possible. The combos are very useful at times doing anything from sweeping your enemy’s legs out from under them to throwing them in the air to toss them into an environmental hazard. There are a lot of tools at your disposal and you can use them to your advantage. There are things like falling spikes, lasers, and TNT barrels to destroy groups of enemies at once, or you can always simply infect them with the simple press of the ‘O’ button and blow them up whenever you wish which eliminates all enemies in the vicinity. A nice thing that they added to the game was the potential from time to time to fight in shadows; it creates a new element of difficulty that you don’t normally see in games of this nature although this isn’t used often.

BloodRayne: Betrayal Review
Rayne’s spin attack is deadly.

The gameplay is fast-paced and you actually get score bonuses for completing sequences in the allotted time which create a nice challenge to yourself to get the best score possible, however, I found that the timers were incredibly hard to actually pull off. In fact, the scoring system is downright unforgiving. The scores go from A-F, or at least I assume so since I could never get above an F rating. That doesn’t take away from the fun though as the leaderboards are a very small part of the game and you don’t need a high score to enjoy beating the game. It’s not an easy task to beat this game though. The difficulty level for the game gets quite frustrating later on as the traps and enemies become numerous, the checkpoints become few and far between, and the bosses become bigger and better. Through every struggle you have with Betrayal, it will make the completion that much more satisfying.

I have some criticism for the game that goes beyond the score multiplier. Why is there no multiplayer option in this game? Increase the difficulty a bit, add more enemies on screen and you could have a blast with some split-screen or online co-op play. The length is also somewhat concerning considering the title is $14.99 and the game can be completed by a skilled player in around 6-8 hours depending on if they’re going for collectibles. Sure, there are skulls to collect that can be quite tedious, however, the only incentive for those is for extra health and ammo which you might not care so much about if you’ve already completed a playthrough. There are also spots in the game where trial and error is mind-numbingly frustrating which was a big annoyance. The biggest thing to me, however, had to be the placement of Chapter 14 and 15, I thought they should have been reversed as Chapter 15 was a far easier level to complete than 14 and there was no end boss. It felt like the ending just started out of nowhere.

BloodRayne: Betrayal Review
There are multiple weapons available for Rayne to use.

Overall though, the game was a great experience and a complete rebirth for a dwindling BloodRayne series. I would recommend this title, especially for old-school Castlevania fans as this title takes a lot of elements from the series and creates many of its own. It’s a linear game and frustrating at times but, if you have the patience and you love this genre it has a lot of variety, has beautiful visuals, and is quite the enjoyable game overall.

*A copy of this game was provided by Majesco for review purposes*

*I originally wrote this review in 2011 for the now-defunct The Paranoid Gamer. This review is also available on PopGeeks.net.*

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