Review – BloodRayne: ReVamped
A little bit more than a month ago, I reviewed the re-released version of BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites, a 2D reboot of what used to be a moderately known, but not exactly critically lauded franchise from the early 2000s, BloodRayne. It was one of those games you’d just see in a game store and probably grab for three reasons: the attractive lead character, the edgelord premise (early 2000s, man), and the budget price tag, since Majesco (the publisher) wasn’t exactly known for high concept and full-priced ideas. It existed, spawned games, an Uwe Boll movie, and then it vanished. Retro-infused publisher Ziggurat Interactive is now doing us a favor by bringing the original game back in a remastered form in BloodRayne: ReVamped.
BloodRayne: ReVamped is a remaster of the original “classic” in the most simplistic sense of the word. Don’t take me wrong, this is a valiant effort, and a completely hassle-free experience, but what you get in here is basically a slightly prettier version of the 2002 original. You are getting an improved resolution, a slightly improved draw distance, 60fps, and that’s pretty much it. I have to commend Ziggurat for porting everything to the Unity engine without any issues (looking at you, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy), but if you’re expecting more quality-of-life improvements besides this bare minimum, look elsewhere.
That is both a good and a bad thing, especially after playing the aforementioned GTA trilogy remasters. Nothing that could have been screwed up, like new character models, removed content or the unfortunate inclusion of new glitches, has been touched. It is a legit way to revisit a “cult hit” (well, someone must consider it one). Then again, this game has aged quite poorly in some regards. BloodRayne has never been a household name, nor a critical darling, so everything that was an issue in 2002 is an issue in BloodRayne: ReVamped.
It mostly revolves around the gameplay, with its bizarre mix between old-school Tomb Raider platforming and movement with its first-person shooter styled control scheme. You can revert the controls to a tank-like scheme if you’ve got a death wish though. BloodRayne: ReVamped is all about performing some oddly precise platforming in huge locales, all while dealing with waves of enemies coming from all sides. It’s by no means a challenging game, even on its hardest difficulty, but you will need some time to deal with its janky controls.
The combat is wonky, but oddly functional. You have a basic melee attack you’ll spam to oblivion. Whether or not the attack connects with the enemy is a matter of fate and luck, since the collision detection is so monstrously precise – far more precise than the sensitivity of the camera and your movements. You have access to tons of guns, which lock onto enemies automatically. I actually really like the fact Rayne, our red-headed protagonist, can aim and shoot at two different enemies at once. You also have a grappling hook that allows you to drag enemies towards you, Mortal Kombat-style, and have Rayne drain their blood, while uttering some oddly sexual moans.
Weirdly enough, despite these… unusual sound effects, I’d say that the best aspect about BloodRayne: ReVamped is actually its sound design. Let’s be clear, 2002 wasn’t an exactly an era full of well-voiced video games, so to have a game where at least half of its characters don’t sound like they were voiced by its XXX parody cast is already a win. The soundtrack isn’t anything to write home about, but I do like the main menu theme a lot. It’s a mixture between gothic rock, industrial and nu-metal. Also known as “the most 2002 thing to come out from 2002”.
I don’t exactly know who BloodRayne: ReVamped is for, or who was clamoring for a revival of this particular game in this particular state, but oddly enough, I like that it exists. Don’t get me wrong, this is beyond dated, unreliable as hell, and as shallow as a puddle, but there’s some fun to be had with this game due to its odd, “mid-budget game from the 2000s” janky charm. Do you want to learn (or remember) how mid-budget games looked and felt like back in the era of JNCO, Nokia phones and Limp Bizkit? BloodRayne: ReVamped is a good starting point.
This feels like the polar opposite of the controversial Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy visual makeover. Very little has been changed, with most improvements being a stable framerate and improved resolution. You’re basically playing BloodRayne the way it was released nearly twenty years ago. That might be good for some and bad for others.
It feels like a bizarre mix between a first-person shooter control scheme (even though you control your character in third person) and the old-school Tomb Raider platforming sensibility. It is beyond dated, occasionally janky, but you can get used to it after a while.
Some of the voice acting is actually quite good, considering how old BloodRayne is. Other NPCs, however, sound as cringeworthy as you would expect. The soundtrack is just decent enough to not annoy you.
Fun Factor: 6.0
The best thing that can be said about this remaster is that BloodRayne has now been preserved in the annals of gaming for the foreseeable future. It has never been exactly a good game, but it has its odd, “mid-budget from the 2000s” janky charm.
Final Verdict: 6.0
BloodRayne: ReVamped is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.
Reviewed on PS4.
A copy of BloodRayne: ReVamped was provided by the publisher.