I get it, vampires are the popular trend in pop culture right now. While these undead bloodsuckers may rule the realms of literature and film right now, they certainly aren't the reigning champions of the video game world, due in no small part to Vampire Rain: Altered Species. Supposedly a stealth-action game, Vampire Rain was originally released back in 2007 on the Xbox 360. It sucked then, and it sucks now on the PlayStation 3.
Vampire Rain tells the story of John Lloyd, a Solid Snake wannabe who is tasked with killing off some vampires because they are becoming overpopulated, or something stupid. The reason you take command of Lloyd and not one of his flat, stereotypical squad mates is because he has actually survived a Nightwalker (the preferred name of said vampires) attack. If only he could survive a second one, then the game might not be as bad.
The enemies in the game are terribly stupid, yet still overpowered. As you prance throughout the empty streets, you will encounter a stray civilian once in awhile, often staring into space or sometimes, simply at a brick wall. If you happen to cross their path, a pair of eyes will flash on the screen, notifying that you have been spotted. Simply moving out of the way will cause the disguised Nightwalker to go back to staring at nothing, instantly forgetting that he saw Sam Fisher just stroll by.
Artoon, the game's developer, has a great excuse for the terrible AI in the game however - the rain! Apparently, the rain dulls the senses of the Nightwalkers, so it's ok for them to be dumber than a stick. If you do get too close to one of the vampires however, they will shed their human disguise, and always kill you in the same manner: their first attack will knock you on the ground, and their second one will kill you. Too bad the rain didn't weaken them just a little bit more!
The only way to kill one of these bloodsuckers is to unload a full clip of your machine gun at max range. Otherwise, they will kill you 99% of the time. In other stealth games, you can often perform one shot kills, or at least hide from an enemy if you are spotted. Not so in Vampire Rain. This is more then likely Artoon's way of telling the player that this is a stealth game, and you are not supposed to try and attack the Nightwalkers. Fair enough, but being killed by an enemy that looks like he was programmed by a kid in high school gets old extremely quickly, especially since you can't fight back.
In addition to unkillable enemies, Vampire Rain introduces another innovation to stealth-action games - linear level designs! Games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid are popular because you can choose different paths to take in order to reach your objective. This is not the case in Vampire Rain, however. In every level, there is just one path to take, taking away one of the most entertaining aspects of stealth games. Not only are the levels linear, but they are just poorly designed in general. The streets are awkwardly empty, and reminiscent of games that couldn't handle too many things happening at once (read: Nintendo 64).
Speaking of Nintendo 64, let's talk about the game's graphics. The environments clearly didn't receive much attention, with buildings looking like oversized cardboard boxes. Lloyd doesn't look so bad himself, but the Nightwalkers aren't rendered quite as nicely. Worse than the graphics, however, is the audio, which sounds like it was designed to repel you. The soundtrack consists of cheesy tunes that sound like they belong in a low budget horror film. These tracks will kick in at random intervals during your game, and then just end, leaving you to explore in complete silence. Some of the Nightwalker's screams are just cheap, tinny 16-bit sound effects, and the voice acting is just plain bad.
If you manage to get through the single player campaign, there is an online multiplayer, but no one will be playing it. Oh, and did I mention that the game requires you to endure a 30 minute install onto the PS3 hard drive? What it does, I'm not entirely sure, as the load times are still quite lengthy, but maybe it's just the game's way of telling you to go do something else...anything else. Vampire Rain: Altered Species is truly a terrible game, offering horrendous gameplay, atrocious AI, and an overall unpleasant experience. If you are that desperate to play with vampires, I suggest you go break out some old Halloween costumes - I guarantee you'll have more fun.