A lot comes to mind when I think about vampires. Barren crypts webbed in charcoal tones, ashen collars glazed in dark blood, and basically any other cliché that’s been squeezed dry through movies and books over the last however many centuries. When I think of vampires in video games, on the other hand, I’m often wracking my brain, perplexed over the sheer creativity that some developers conjure to produce their works.
Although we’re all suckers for a good old fashioned vampire cliché, it is sort of refreshing to take a step back and witness something a little more unusual decrypt every once in a while. And to be fair, there are plenty of quality video games on the market that deliver such unlikely concoctions. Of course, it’s all blood and veins at the end of the day — but you know what I mean. Vampires run deep in the veins of the gaming community, and we’re all for it. But if we had to pick the best of the best, well, I suppose it would have to be these five.
5. Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines
Seeing as Vampire: The Masquerade 2 has finally had the greenlight and is scheduled to release next year, it gives us more of a reason to step back and pay respects to its 2004 sibling. Although, without the 1991 tabletop role-playing game, we’d have neither to talk about — let alone recommend. And so, for that, we’re eternally grateful.
Set in the World of Darkness, an unnamed fledgling vampire is inducted into one of several clans, all of which follow strict guidelines regarding the mortal world. Depending on player choice, the fledgling is either perceived as a simple creature of habit, or a much more powerful and sophisticated entity. Over a story-driven experience riddled with twists and turns, your goal is to morph the aspiring vampire lord into something much, much greater. How that is done, however, is entirely up to you.
4. Infamous: Festival of Blood
Admittedly, you wouldn’t usually associate Infamous with vampires, sort of like how you wouldn’t think of zombies when on the subject of Red Dead Redemption. And yet, weirdly enough, both seemed to happen. But having John Marston hunt the undead was one thing. Cole MacGrath turning into a neck-biting rebel, on the other hand, was a little more, say — bizarre.
The standalone DLC Festival of Blood returns to New Marais, where superhero/supervillain Cole MacGrath (depending on how you played Infamous 2) once again fronts the grizzly expedition. After being captured and used to help resurrect renowned vampire Bloody Mary, the hero is given just one night to try and defeat her. Failing to do so, however, results in the Head Vampire intruding Cole’s thoughts and having a hold over his subconsciousness for the rest of his life. It’s a cat and mouse cliché — but with vampires, festivities and, of course, plenty of comic book references.
3. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
I know, I know. What on earth is this doing on here? Of course, anyone will tell you that Conker’s Bad Fur Day is anything but vampire-friendly. And while you would be right, considering it is, in fact, mostly made up of honeycombs and hyper cavemen and what have you — a portion of it is, strangely enough, dedicated to such a world. And to be fair, it’s also the best chapter in the whole game.
After waging war against an elite army of stuffed bears, Conker finds himself thrown into another otherworldly scenario. Only it’s more Translyvania than Teddy Bear’s Picnic, so to speak. With a Gothic mansion pouring at the seams with undead relatives and vampire-hating villagers, Conker is forced to become a bat and syphon out the blood of all those that dare to trespass. With a bloodthirsty uncle holding him captive, he must become a child of the night if he is to ever see another dawn. It’s disturbing and downright creepy, and yet oh so memorable at the same time. It’s actually hard to explain, to be honest. Worth checking out, though.
2. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Castlevania is arguably one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, with a legacy that has covered all forms of media, including a recently launched Netflix series. And with a video game timeline that has sunken teeth into pretty much every platform known to mankind, it’s sort of understandable why we’re happy to suck up to it. I mean, it’s Castlevania. What more could you want? Its prominence basically speaks for itself, you know?
Tearing away from that rich side-scroller formula that made the series famous, Lords of Shadow puts the focus on a blood-curdling 3D dimension, using its dismal playground as a way to unfold the origin story of the cursed Dracula. With hack and slash gameplay that flows from the same vein as Darksiders and Devil May Cry, Lords of Shadow turns into a perfect combination of vigorous gameplay and compelling storytelling. All in all, it’s one of the best on the market; a tale for all vampire lovers.
Bundle as many vampire cliches into a bucket as possible, give them a good old fashioned swirl, and what you’ll be left with is a cocktail containing the basic outline for Vampyr. Gothic architecture, check. Cryptic protagonist, check. Perplexed city population living in constant fear, check. It’s all there, and it lives up to the vampire mythology incredibly well.
Trained as a doctor, as well as a newly-turned vampyr in plague-riddled 1918 London, Dr Jonathan Reid is asked to locate a cure for the city and return it to its former glory. However, with the thirst for blood coursing through his veins, he must balance his role as protector as well as monster, rationing blood over medicine. Your job, unfortunately, is to choose whether London falls to the deadly flu and, as a result, succumb to instinct, or play the good doctor and refrain from bleeding the city streets bone dry. Every kill matters in this monopoly of blood and morality.
So, what’s your take? Are there any vampire games we should have included on this list? Do you agree with our five? Let us know over on our socials here.