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reviews >> playstation 2
Blade II

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Mucky Foot
Year Released: 2002
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Mature

Visuals 6.5
The small list of special effects don't trump the average level design and inadequate character models of the game.
Audio 6
From the voiceovers to the music, it's all repetitive.
Gameplay 5
Attempts to claim innovation with the 360 degree hand-to-hand combat system, but it falters. Lack of weapon targeting and tank-like straffing hurts.
Replay Value 4.5
>After 5 stages or so, you pretty much get the gist of Blade II, and you really don't want to move on.
Reviewer's Impression 4.5
Just when gamers fears of sloppily made movie-based games seem to be allived, Blade II slaps you in the face with it's mediocrity.
Overall 5
Blade II, or shall we say the Blade franchise in general, could potentially have been a pretty good game (or made into one). So the fact that this game is obviously a cash-in on the license only makes this game that much worse. Gamers are expecting better things out of licensed based games these days, and this one should ave delivered on that. Unfortunatley, it doesn't. This is a game to pass on.

These days, it seems like almost any license from film or other media can be turned into a game. Well, at least where the action, adventure and sci-fi genre is concerned. Blade II definitely falls into this category. The license definitley has the potential and basis of a pretty good game. Just look at Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Of course, what sounds great doesn't neccessairly emerge as something great. Like many licenses of the past and present, Blade II seems to be nothing more than a cash-in on the film (most notably, the film) and the comic book license. But it a sense, can we really be suprised?

The story of Blade II seems to confuse me. At first I though this storyline ran pretty parallel to the film, especially since that this game shares the same name as the movie's title, and that there hasn't been a "Blade I". But there wasn't much I found in the game that seemed similar to the film. On top of that, the storyline presented is fairly disposable anyway, with no real sense of depth given to the main characters, or a total feeling of motivation to get something done.

To complement the dead storyline, the gameplay is about as basic as basic could get. You basically fight your way stage by stage with maybe a small puzzle element thrown in every third stage. It's all a matter of punch, kick and shoot. Oh, if that were only so easy. The hand-to-hand combat control is made to be sound as innovative (at least according to the back of the box). You have 360 degrees of control via the right analog stick to take care of your hand to hand needs. Theoretically, this sounds like a good idea. Except there's an awful rythm that needs to be followed to dispatch enemies, that is, don't flick the controls quickly. In a game where you will be swarmed by enemies, it's trite to ask the gamer to take a "slow and steady" approach to hand to hand combat. If this doesn't sound bad enough, the weapon controls suck. With no way to target your enemies, essentially you have to face the enemy when firing a gun. The pistol to some degree will do some targeting, but when using the glaive (as spinning blade-like boomerang), it's a matter of "hope-to-God-I-hit-them" kind of thing. As for the rest of the controls, the actual character movement isn't too bad, except for straffing, which then Blade moves like a WWII tank.

The visuals and sound are hit and miss. The character models are pretty poor in this game, as Blade looks like this squatty version of how he appeared on film. Almost action figure like. The enemy models lack detail and are pretty damn repetitive. I guess the assumption is that all vamipres tend to look alike. The environments are decent, but primatively modeled. There are occasional special effects, such as reflections, but this really doesn't outweigh the bad. As for sound, it's below mediocre. The character voices are bad impersionations of the film actors, and what little Blade says is bland, generic and repetitive. The enemy opponents have a pretty limited vocabulary as well, with witty dialouge such as "It's the daywalker!" and "Get him!". Spicy! The music is bland and repetitive, and seems to be used over and over again through each stage. I swear, it seemed like the music never changed through the stages.

Final Thought

Pure and simple, Blade II is a cash-in on the movie license. Except that this game really has little to do with the movie's storyline, and that the gameplay design has been done so many times it's lost all meaning. If you need to get your vamipre slaying on, check out Buffy The Vampire Slayer on the Xbox or even BloodRayne. Blade II is forgettable and pretty disposable to boot.