|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Artoon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition / AQ Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 26, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Theory and practice In school, theory is the boring part of the learning process, while practice is more fun, as you test out what you've learned in real life situations. In some instances, especially concerning video games, that situation may be reversed. Such is the case with Vampire Rain: Altered Species. With Splinter Cell-style gameplay and animations, including superhuman vampires as the enemy, the game sounds like it should be a blast - in theory. The previews sounded good; the trailers looked great. But, when tested in real life, Vampire Rain: Altered Species failed the practical. And this time, there's no going back to the drawing board.
Vampire Rain was released last year on the X360, where it failed to connect with gamers. After a little cosmetic-code surgery, and the addition of "Altered Species" as part of the title, the game is being released on the PS3. Do you think the developers are counting on the ignorance of PS3 players not to note that this game is a rehashed version of what has already been proven to be a flop? Hopefully, we won't see Vampire Rain: Vamps Gone Wild released for the PC.
I really wanted to like this game. I love Splinter Cell and still consider it to be the best game I've ever played. Its status as a classic is not in any way challenged by Vampire Rain. Although it relies heavily on stealth - it relies too heavily on stealth. At least in Splinter Cell, you have strategic options. In Vampire Rain, those options are severely limited. The game is incredibly linear, giving you no chance to apply creative strategy to any given situation. Despite the appearance of weapons to defend yourself with, the main gameplay mantra is "Don't be seen or you're dead."
John Lloyd is the star of the show, if that's his real name. (Do you ever wonder why these guys don't have last names like Kshywiecki or Goldberg? Just wondering). He's part of a special military squad created by the American government to tackle the threat known as Nightwalkers. He's aided by a couple of goons and the requisite dame. Fortunately, it's not these characters that give you a headache by getting in your way or failing to take cover, it's the gameplay design. Lloyd is deemed suited for the task at hand as he's the only human to ever survive an encounter with the Nightwalkers. As I already mentioned, the Nightwalkers are superhuman vampires. Their numbers are ever-increasing, as new victims are captured and transformed in vamps daily. Lloyd and his team's mandate is to thin out the herd and take out the leaders of the pack.
Rain, apparently, adversely affects the Nightwalkers senses, and does so forever. These vamps slog through the streets like alcoholics after a visit to an all-you-can-drink buffet. They are absolutely stunned. Some don't even move. They just sit there, staring off into space. That is until you make your presence known. The instant that you make a noise or walk into their line of sight, it's game over. They suddenly come alive and surround you before you can defend yourself. Within two hits, you're done for. There are weapons, but, for the most part, they are useless. The machine gun is only useful as a ranged weapon, since the vamps are quick to swarm you, and the pistol doesn't pack enough punch. The shotgun makes a great one-hit kill, but its appearance in the game is limited.