The first attempt was a big budget retail game that tried to poke fun at the standards and conventions of the current videogame line-up. It definitely had its fair share of problems, but the idea was clever. This time around, the developers (who openly joke at their own expense) did not have a budget nearly as big as their last game, so instead they decided to take Matt Hazard's adventures back to two dimensions. So, instead of satirizing Gears of War or Halo, they chose something that feels a little more retro, like the old-school classic Contra.
It seems the new trend is to create 3-D characters on a 2-D plane and Blood Bath & Beyond is using that style in a very interesting way. One of the on-going jokes from Eat Lead was to use multiple art styles from other games to accurately parody them like 8-bit Nazis for a Wolfenstein-like level. Blood Bath & Beyond uses the same trick, but for a new batch of games like Mirror's Edge's rooftop dystopia and Team Fortress 2's Dust Bowl map. The attention to detail for each of the respective games' levels is actually fairly impressive. TF2 has been recreated with functional transporters, Engineer turrets, and even an enemy Pyro. It is obvious the development teams spent a lot of time analyzing the atmosphere and feel of other games and captured their look perfectly.
One of the calling cards of Matt Hazard last year was the lead character was voiced by comedian Will Arnett. Arnett's gravelly gravitas gave Matt Hazard the typical space marine voice. Unfortunately, Arnett doesn't make a return for Blood Bath & Beyond, but if I didn't say anything, you wouldn't have noticed. The sound alike voice-actor does a great impression and still makes Matt a believable character. There isn't a lot of voice acting in Blood Bath & Beyond, (another point where the game openly pokes fun), but that makes it fit it more with the Contra-like inspiration. Heavy guitar riffs and catchy hard-rock themes go a long way to help Matt Hazard feel like he is in is own alternate history version of an 80's classic, complete with evil socialist dictator that speaks in broken English.