It seems we’re going to have to be immortal if we’re going to witness the release of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 – one of the most anticipated but consistently delayed games of recent years.
The original Bloodlines game initially left a bad taste in the mouths of those that opted to take a bite out of it and its failure led to the collapse of the developer. Its success came later with retrospective appreciation and it soon became the cult classic that we know it as today.
But don’t put the nail in the coffin yet. The RPG, action-adventure influences are arguably seen in its many spiritual successors and the gaming world is rife with vampire lore. The following list offers insight into the best of these with all the charisma, bloodshed and action needed to satisfy the cravings of the hungriest fans of the genre.
1. Vampire’s Fall: Origins
Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One/Xbox Series
You play a member of a selected militia chosen to guard and protect the village of Vamp’Ire from the malevolent forces that encroach from the shadows.
This 2D turn-based RPG gives the player different choices and paths to follow as the destiny of your chosen bloodline unfolds. In this tale of valor and vengeance, you set out to take down whatever forces turned you from peace-loving villager into bloodthirsty vampire.
The customizations available to your character add a personal touch when dealing with the inevitable increasing difficulty and variety of enemies as the game progresses. Being a port of a mobile game, graphics are somewhat basic and combat encounters result in old-school-style battle screens which some may find a bit outdated but others will embrace as a nostalgic indulgence.
2. Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi
Nosferatu falls solidly into the all-out action-horror camp. This first-person shooter resembles many games of the early 2000s, but stands out in its theme and presentation.
Released in 2003, Nosferatu resembles Quake in its playing style but visually the bleak, dreary and oppressively-grim environment gives it an uncomfortable feel. As a guest, turned prey, of a wealthy Romanian Count, you explore a giant gothic castle – a suitably morbid morbid setting in which the creatures and storyline are drawn from all the great Vampire tropes.
The graphics are dated of course, but Nosferatu still manages to dish out plenty of chilling shock-scares that leave a perpetual sense of dread and adrenaline.
3. Bloodrayne: Terminal Cut
Another classic vampiric offering, this time with the added bonus of having been updated and remastered in 2020. An iconic cosplay character, our heroine Rayne is a secret agent employed to stop supernatural threats that strive for a new age of ascendency for the Third Reich.
Set between the two World Wars, this game offers the player an action-packed hack-n-slash adventure filled with facetious quips, OTT sound effects and lashings of blood-soaked violence.
Gameplay hovers somewhere between Tomb Raider and Max Payne with its gory, slow-motion kills and third-person perspective. The remastered version has brought this back to life with drastically improved graphics, weather effects, and support for modern gamepads. There may not be any gaming content changes, but this is well worth checking out.
4. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
It’s hard to believe that nearly 18 years have passed since the first Bloodlines game came out. The game that serves as the inspiration for this whole list is well worthy of a high ranking within it.
Bloodlines combines all the fundamentals of a conventional RPG with the visual intensity and ruthless combat of a third-person action game. Players cultivate their character’s capabilities as they embark on quests and missions that bring them face to face with humans and vampires, friends and foes, alike. Battles involve a vast selection of weapons and powers in this unflinching, modern-day, underworld L.A.
The sequel may be a way off but until that day arrives it is still easy to appreciate the depth and story of this brilliantly scripted, first-person, Vampire underworld RPG.
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series
This dialogue-heavy RPG, set in 1918 London, places you in control of Dr Jonathan Reed, a medical professional and newly turned Vampire. In a flu-ravaged city, the game has you fighting your own morals as much as the enemies around you. You face ethical conundrums that force you way beyond the boundaries of your Hippocratic Oath.
The city is bursting with comprehensive and interesting characters that you must help to either succeed or bleed; fighting your urge to feed on those around you keeps the city stable, while feeding on them increases your power but allows creatures of the night to roam free and cause havoc amongst the inhabitants.
Whilst the combat does get a little repetitive, the story and dialogue are detailed and engaging and graphically the game draws you into its dark, bloodsucking London fantasy.
As the title suggests C.A.C takes three games from the Game Boy Advance including Aria of Sorrow, a franchise standout. It also throws in the SNES edition of Dracula X, a simplified and inferior version of the acclaimed Rondo of Blood, to bulk it out.
Players use skill, magic, accuracy and an array of weapons (including the infamous Castevania whip in most entries) to defeat Dracula and his minions in their side-scrolling dominion. C.A.C is a good basis for anyone who is lost on where to start with this huge series. It offers a good all-round taster of the classic, stylish triumphs that inspired a genre unto its own.
6. Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors exploded onto the gaming scene and became an instant hit earlier in 2022. With essentially no story this top-down rogue-lite sucks away the hours with nothing but non-stop monster mayhem.
Your courageous and indefatigable fighter autofires through hordes of undead, relentlessly swarming you from every angle. Characters upgrade weapons and attacks by collecting XP and boss-drops which inevitably make the next run that little bit longer.
But the game never becomes easy and the unyielding chaos around you always leads to your inescapable demise. Vampire Survivors is pure adrenaline and sucks you into an endless loop of delicious carnage.
Had your fill of Vampires? Take a bite out of the Best Metroidvania and Platform Fighting Games.