Bloodyrayne Betrayal Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 3
Representing a new (and thankfully Uwe Boll free) direction for the Bloodrayne series, Betrayal takes the series to realm of the side scrolling hack-and-slash, bringing to mind the likes of Ghouls & Ghosts. It's an apt comparison - Bloodrayne Betrayal is in every respect an old school game, heck - it even features an elevator level where you have to be on the correct side in order to avoid being crushed by spikes, a technique first seen in games in 1896 (think MegaMan X on the SNES).
Also old school is the attitude to difficulty and health. Health is restored by passing checkpoints, or snacking on dazed enemies (which can be inconveniently interrupted by other enemies). When it gets frustrating, there's a temptation to turn the difficulty down - but Bloodyrayne doesn't have a difficulty selector. It's tricky or nothing. Playing Bloodrayne for the first time, the thought process went : Pretty. Enemy. Dead. Jump. Dead. Enemy. Dead. Dead. Drain blood. Checkpoint. Dead. Where did that controller land? Dead. Did I mention that you die a lot?
It's the usual side-scroller story, make your way right and kill everything in site. There's some neat touches, such as the environmental hazards being equally hazardous for you and the enemies, giving the opportunity for some cute kills. There's always plenty to kill, too - but the enemies are repetitive and sometimes cheap (it's not unusual to find yourself in the middle of a brawl when an enemy on the opposite side of the screen pulls out a gun and casually shoots you), and in fact even the bosses make a repeat appearance.
There's no denying the game is presented well, with slickly animated almost anime style comic book graphics, while at the top of the screen there’s a score counter, giving a kind of running commentary on the mayhem onscreen. It’s a nice touch.
Less nice is the love it or loathe it utterly generic widdly guitar and synth soundtrack.
We'd recommend using the d-pad rather than analogue to steer Rayne as they feel more precise. - it’s a bit less easy to slide off platforms. There's other control oddities - there's no double jump here, which contributes to the frustrating platform sections, which often involve very narrow ledges. Added to that, pulling off the game's backflip move is little finicky. Rayne is a little unwieldy, too - tending to skid more that you'd like, and some moves carry a forward momentum which can land you in trouble. This is part of the problem - Bloodyrayne Betrayal is a game that demands precision from the player, but actively hinders it with sloppy controls.
Bloodrayne Betrayal will appeal to a particular kind of gaming masochist. The type of player who revels in the unabashedly old school feel, and doesn't mind dying dozens of times per level, working through with trial and error - and at the end of it being awarded a failing grade. If Bloodyraye Betrayal is your thing, then there's plenty to keep you coming back, from online leaderboards and fiendishly difficult challenges for trophies, to collectible skulls and treasure hidden around the levels. Plus, completing the game unlocks some character sketches. At 15 levels, it represents decent value for money, despite quite a high price for a DLC title and requires a significant time investment to complete, even more to perfect. For the rest of us, the imprecise controls, frequent deaths and lack of a difficulty selector make this an experience just too frustrating to be enjoyable.