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BloodRayne ReVamped PS4 Review – Dated Style And Visuals Countered By Ambitious Gameplay

BloodRayne ReVamped PS4 Review – BloodRayne initially launched nineteen years ago on PlayStation 2, followed two years later by its sequel, BloodRayne 2. Over two full console generations separate the original release to this re-release. Ziggurat Interactive, who bought the rights to BloodRayne, has re-released them for PS4 and Xboxz One, but it makes very few enhancements to the original product.

As such, BloodRayne ReVamped makes its way to modern consoles with lightly uprezzed visuals intended for a new or nostalgic audience. Does it hold up for the modern age in its original form? Just remember that graphics aren’t everything.

BloodRayne ReVamped PS4 Review

Ambitions Circa 2002

With that in mind, this review must consider how the game translates to a modern audience. Without even reading this review, you undoubtedly imagine that the game looks dated. And you’d be right. However, in that outlook, several unique things get left out in what this game attempts to do.

For starters, slashing at walls leaves permanent scratches on them, even if you move outside of the rendering area. Another thing is hair movement. While Rayne’s hair behaves more like dreads than single strands of hair, the hair still moves substantially based on what you do, whether you do somersaults, basic attacks, or just run around.

Of course the game still includes jiggle physics, but that wasn’t “old hat,” for the lack of a better phrase, in the early PS2 days. They had ambitions in the original BloodRayne, and they still show up 19 years later. Regardless, many games now don’t feature some of these design choices, which grants subtle merit to the fundamentals used in this game.

Presentation Style

Aesthetically, BloodRayne definitely looks like an almost 20-year-old game. At the same time, certain textures look much more sophisticated than others. Water looks like liquid mercury, which didn’t age well, and the general terrain looks more like blended colors instead of grass or concrete.

At the same time, Rayne’s leather outfit maintains a vivid texture that looks a lot like leather. The same goes for many walls and structures throughout the game, like stone or wood. It’s likely that these are pre-rendered images placed on the surface, but the way BloodRayne uses them ages well enough to still work.

Rayne’s dialogue comes across in the kind of cheesy way that’s fun, kind of like Duke Nukem but without the overbearing machismo. She throws out one-liners that often make me giggle. In contrast, dialogue between characters feels unscripted in the way that ransom notes include letters from different clippings: They technically work together and convey what they intend, but it all feels disoriented. All in all, Rayne sounds pretty good, but the other characters just feel serviceable.

Servicing Gameplay

BloodRayne also features auto-lock for gunplay. As you run around, Rayne adjusts her body to face the target she automatically aims at so you know when to shoot. The game also gives significant range to this detection, making gameplay still feel responsive.

I assume the use of auto-aim allowed the developers to circumvent development limitations with controls so that combining melee and gunplay performed well enough. This does leave Rayne’s natural movements looking stiff, but she responds precisely to controller inputs.

The early give-and-take of 3D development presents itself here, but it also showcases how developers found ways around limitations. This is a fun showcase, and gameplay still presents itself as stiff and dated, but nothing gets in the way of doing what you need to do.

The game also grants you a kind of automatic platforming specific to running on tightropes or power lines. Instead of needing to properly aim, you just jump near the line and Rayne slides into place and runs with the power line until you jump. Again, this feels like a counteraction to limitations, but it helps keep you moving forward without cumbersome navigation.

One cool aspect to gameplay that I forgot about is the kind of control Bloodrayne gives you while feeding on enemies. Rayne jumps on her targets while they remain standing and drains their blood and at the same time gives you full control of your camera. This allows you to spin her targets around and aim guns at other enemies around you. This just feels so cool and adds to the ambition the team put behind the original game.

Switching Controls Two Decades Later

In picking up this review, something happened to me that has never happened before. I played the original BloodRayne back on the OG Xbox (shame, shame), and I remember struggling to learn how to use the non-traditional controls. I mean, learning to navigate with movement on the right joystick and camera movement on the left took a great deal of concentration.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the control schemes have a nuance to changing them. Existing saves require you to change control settings after you load the save. If you change control settings from the main menu, existing saves will not utilize the change in controls.

Long story short, I spent a month 19 years ago playing a game that I thought only had one control scheme, even though it listed other setups. Either way, BloodRayne offers two completely different control schemes with one that doesn’t appear in other games.

Old But Not Completely Outdated

Bloodrayne ReVamped has many redeeming qualities, but they all sit behind dated visuals and several compromises due to original development limitations. Don’t consider ReVamped as anything other than an easier way to play the original game, and you’ll find yourself in a fun romp through nostalgia. While the re-release efforts showcase absolute minimal uprezzing, the core of BloodRayne still offers a good time.

Bloodrayne Revamped is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Bloodrayne ReVamped is essentially an easier way to play the original 2002 game, staying true to the original vision of the title. The flaws stand out now more than ever, ranging from visuals to stiff mechanics. At the same time, many of the ideas from two decades ago age well enough to make the gameplay work even by today's standards.