If there’s 3 things WayForward has proved over the past few years its…
1) They have some exceptional artists on staff
2) They know how to make brutally difficult games, and
3) They are more than capable of breathing new life in to dead franchises.
With the release of BloodRayne: Betrayal, the California based development studio was given the opportunity to showcase all three of these traits but unfortunately they’ve fallen flat on their face while attempting to do so.
The BloodRayne series isn’t exactly synonymous with quality. After 2 average games and 3 terrible movies, I’m not sure how this downloadable title even got greenlit. Rather than follow the misguided steps of its predecessors, BloodRayne: Betrayal takes the series in a completely new direction. One which initially grabs attention but has a hard time holding on to it. As the screenshots can attest, the game looks absolutely stunning! The comic book inspired art style will certainly turn a lot of heads, but unfortunately the game itself is more frustrating than fun.
Betrayal shares a lot of similarities with early Castlevania games. You control a vampire slaying protagonists who must slice and shoot her way through 2D environments, killing anyone or anything that moves. And much like the worst Castlevania games, Betrayal’s combat system is ruined by stiff, unresponsive controls which will often lead to your demise.
Don’t let her sexy physique fool you, when it’s time to fight, Rayne moves slow and sluggish. It always feels like she can’t react fast enough, even when you know exactly what you’d like her to do. The barrage of enemies which can appear on screen at once doesn’t help matters and you’ll often find yourself being ganged up on and killed within a matter of seconds.
The lack of difficulty options forces you to either persevere or give up completely; more often than not I would choose the latter. The game does throw you a bone by allowing you to regain health by sucking blood from your enemies but the opportunity rarely presents itself when you need it most. Also factor in the frustrating platforming sections or tedious boss battles and BloodRayne: Betrayal will drive you to the brink of insanity!
Much like another game I reviewed this week, BloodRayne: Betrayal is all style, no substance. It feels like a game that was made for Castlevania fans but is strangely devoid of all the things which makes Konami’s classic franchise so endearing. The rampant difficulty spikes and rigid controls make this one of the most disappointing games to hit XBLA/PSN so far this year. Don’t let the beautiful art style or Rayne’s appealing “assets” fool you in to making a purchase or you’ll definitely end up feeling betrayed.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PlayStation 3 provided by Majesco.