Blood II: The Chosen (Windows)

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Written by  :  Ashley Pomeroy (233)
Written on  :  Feb 08, 2005

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Quintessentially mediocre

The Good

The original 'Blood' was one of the more interesting late-period Build Engine games; the Lovecraftian setting, dark humour and indeed dark darkness helped it stand out from the many other, lesser titles which were around at the time ('Redneck Rampage', for example). Granted, a lot of this fond remembrance is attributable to pleasant surprise at Blood's competence rather than genuine affection for its brilliance, but it was entertaining enough. The sequel is, however, strikingly mediocre, almost to the extent of being a dictionary definition of that word; never offensively bad, it merely exists, and vanished without a trace at the time, having the terrible misfortune to come out at the same time as 'Half-Life', indeed it was reviewed in the same magazines.

In its favour, the 'Lithtech' engine - fresh from the much more impressive 'Shogo: Mobile Armoured Division' - was as attractive as that of 'Unreal'. Unlike 'Sin', which had a lot of promise but was also overshadowed by 'Half-Life', it didn't require an enormous patch to get it working properly.

The Bad

Ah. The first Blood got by on its atmosphere, the references to H P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos, the dark jokes ("Mimes. I hate mimes.") and so forth. Blood 2 has nothing of this; the setting has nods to George Romero's 'Day of the Dead', and there are face-hugger-esque creatures - but it's mostly a lot of bland sci-fi corridors and concrete downtown areas, totally generic. The storyline begs you to skip past it, and the game adds nothing new or novel to the FPS genre. As mentioned earlier, it was devoured by 'Half-Life', which made it look silly in almost every possible way, from the latter's sense of genuine menace and danger, to its grown-up writing, sympathetic characters, and killer little touches.

The Bottom Line

I really had to drudge my memory to write this review, as I've forgotten almost everything about Blood 2; that's why I remember it, paradoxically, because it's a quintessentially forgettable game, a good example of how something can enter the world and depart without leaving a trace behind. If it had been a pop group, it would have been Brother Beyond, or Club Nouveau, or Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. The Escape Club. Amy Grant. Any of those people. It killed the 'Blood' franchise stone dead.