What Have Vampire Games Done for Us Lately?

Mythical creatures have been around in various media for essentially as long as pop culture, itself. Vampires in particular have eaten up more than their fair share of movies and video games. While that may have faded in the past few years, today’s release of the E3 Trailer for Vampyr, the upcoming vampire action game, has brought us back into this world.

Of course, we won’t know anything of the quality of Vampyr until its release date in November, but the level of polish, alone, that we’ve already seen from Vampyr is more than we’ve been used to. In general, vampires have retreated into the night as of late, or haven’t been very interesting when they are here. Could Vampyr change this course?

As popular as Vampires are, there just hasn’t been a lot of high-profile vampire games as of late. And, when they have shown up, the results are mixed. Of course, many people will immediately point to Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines to refute this, but it’s been more than a decade since that game’s release. While it still holds up, what have vampires done for us lately? Let’s look at some of the more recent examples.

Infamous: Festival of Blood

InfamousVampire

Release Date: Oct. 25, 2011

GR Score: N/A

Metascore: 78

Not even really its own game, Infamous: Festival of Blood was a standalone expansion to Infamous 2. It had a hilarious set-up of a Zeke trying to pick up a woman at a bar by telling her about this spooky story where Cole, the protagonist of the first two Infamous games, almost becomes a vampire.

Its campy set-up is followed through pretty gloriously with a vampy follow-up, where Cole becomes infected and begins to make use of vampire powers, but needs to get back to normal before dawn.

The game was entertaining enough, but it was also short with likely only around three hours of playtime for the main story – certainly not enough to quench our thirst for blood.

Dark

DarkGame

Release Date: July 3, 2013

GR Score: N/A

Metascore: 41

Dark was a stealth action game out of a little-known Dutch developer called Realmforge Studios. You played a recently turned vampire named Eric Bane. He also has amnesia, because writing stories is hard and amnesia gives you a good excuse to use loads of exposition.

And, while the plot wasn’t going to win any awards, Dark’s gameplay wasn’t doing it any favors. Sure, you certainly were a vampire – you could teleport, see in the dark, become invisible, and you definitely drank blood – but none of that matters if it’s a clunky mess.

And, unfortunately, vampire powers or not, this was a cut-and-dry, to-the-letter stealth action title. Go into areas, sneak up behind the people in those areas to take them out, rinse and repeat. It didn’t have the level design of something like Dishonored 2, or the revolutionary combat of something like Arkham to justify its generic framework.

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2

LordsofShadow2

Release Date: Feb. 25, 2014

GR Score: 3/5

Metascore: 63

Castlevania, of course, has a storied history in video games. The most recent title, though, is a much-less-revered chapter.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was the second in the Lords of Shadow arc of the Castlevania series, and, although you play as the same protagonist, you’ve now turned into a vampire. And not just any vampire, the vampire – Dracula himself.

It sounds cool, but Lords of Shadow 2 is marred by some poor boss fights, generic stealth sequences and a poor camera.


With all of this in mind, it’s clear to see that there is an appetite for a good, high-profile Vampire game. With everything happening between now and November, including E3 and PAX, to name a few, we’re bound to see more and more about Vampyr and gauge its potential to bring us out of this vampire slump.