Total games played:
Current Streak: 2
Longest Streak: 72
Posted - Jun 10 2007 : 10:46:06 AM
| Here is a Review on Vampire Rain:
Here are some impressions from the recently released Vampire Rain demo which hit the Japanese Marketplace. Sadly it's not available in the US or in the UK at the moment but will surely show up soon. The demo is in English anyways and offers story and side missions as well as multiplayer games over Live. The game offeres a survival horror set up with an onus on stealth and action as well.
As a member of a black ops unit the premise is simple; take down a growing population of vampires called Nightwalkers. These creatures appear as humans but underneath are as deadly as you would expect. With powers that enable them to jump onto buildings in a single bound and to slice up unsuspecting prey; Nightwalkers are a force to be reckoned with.
Vampire Rain is a new IP from Artoon and will be released on Xbox 360 and PS3. A demo was recently uploaded to the Live Marketplace for Japanese gamers and we got to try the demo to have a first look at how the game plays.
Vampire Rain at first glimpse looks like a Splinter Cell/Metal Gear Solid clone; however looking beneath the surface you discover that the game is more akin to Resident Evil style survival horror games. The demo allows for single player missions which are primarily centred on stealth based play but also offers a multiplayer experience over Live where you can go head to head against human foes in a death-match and team based capture the flag game types.
The single player mission which is no doubt lifted from the game’s story allows you to test your sneaking skills. The on screen character moves in a similar manner to Sam Fisher however in the demo at least is lacking gadgets and true offensive capabilities. In fact the first mission tells you not to engage the enemy and rightly so; as I tried shooting a Nightwalker with the default pistol only to be cut to shreds in mere seconds. There seems to be no means of escape once you have been spotted (well at this stage at least). After sneaking through rainy streets across rooftops and such like I wondered if there were alternate routes. I couldn’t find anything specific but the openness of the streets in the level suggested otherwise. I am going to assume the full game will offer gamers these possibilities.
Looking at the sneaking itself there are no indicators on screen to show how well hidden you are, and so as the player you have to decide what cover is suitable. Vampire Rain has a unique system for telling you when you’ve been seen. If you are spotted, an image flashes on the screen (accompanied by a suitable sound effect). If you stay in this state for too long then trouble ensues. The gameplay mechanic seems to be that you move in and out of this state to gauge if you are unseen or not; so for example you enter a doorway slowly, the icon flashes and you have limited time to quickly move back and reassess your entry. There are also audio clues, with Nightwalkers stating whether they are suspicious or not.
To aid the player there is a specific vision mode alongside a standard night vision (activated using the d-pad) which allows you to highlight and then track the Nightwalkers. An on-screen display will also show you their cones of vision a la Metal Gear Solid. What’s good about the vision mode is the fact that the device is battery charged and can’t be used infinitely; therefore you have to make sure to gather as much intel on an area first before power diminishes. You can wait for it to recharge but hey who wants to just sit there in a game and do nothing? It’s all about risk and reward and due to the strength of the Nightwalkers, means that you are left on edge as you sneak around timing your moments.
The other mission in the demo mixes it up a little and offers both a sneaking section (to an ammo cache) and then a free for all Nightwalker showdown. Here the game took on a far more action orientated approach but still kept the stealth element intact. What was good here was being able to perform one hit stealth kills on Nightwalkers as you snuck up behind them. With care and paying attention the tables are turned and although still very deadly once you have been spotted, I felt way more confident moving around the Nightwalkers at this point.
The ammo cache allows you to use a shotgun and this powerful baby is most useful for killing Nightwalkers in close quarters. I found that two body shots would take them down and a well placed headshot in one. With enemies rushing me at one point, the main problem is reloading the shotgun before being cut to pieces.
The demo also provides some alternate missions that aren’t related to the story but take place within locations from it. There’s two on offer with one being action based and the other stealth. Whilst being similar to the story these missions are pretty fun and add that little more to the game. Obviously the full game will feature a whole host of these side missions to mess around with where gamers can try and attain high scores.
The multiplayer seemed interesting and whilst I didn’t play the capture the flag game I did have a good bash at the death-match. It’s standard fair as you run around taking pot shots at opponents and finding weapons pick ups. As a black ops you are able to climb up onto things and up ladders to get vantage points (especially if you’ve found a sniper rifle). The game is based on points for kills and once the time limit is up the winner is the one who has scored the most. In an unusual twist you can suddenly transform into a Nightwalker which then allows you to jump very high and move fast. It also means that you can kill opponents in one or two strikes. I can’t verify this one hundred percent but I suspect the trade off is you get far less points per kill. I’m also going to assume that if a regular human kills you in this form then they get a far greater number of points. It’s quite similar to the Far Cry Instincts Predator game play where it’s super humans versus regulars.
Vampire Rain at first glance looks quite basic and whilst there are some neat effects the overall quality of textures could be better. What is nice and quite impressive is at the start of the first story mission looking at your team mates standing in the rain. The falling water runs off their bodies in the most realistic manner and actually looks really good. Sadly this isn’t something you are going to be spending too much time paying attention to.
Other things I noticed was the character movement which feels a little on the sluggish side and could be tighter in my opinion. The general control method is reasonable but for shooter fans at least it’s great being able to enter first person view for accuracy and yes you can still move around albeit at a slower pace.
Vampire Rain also features sound suitably cheesy voice acting direct from the Resident Evil mould. It’s laughable at times and whether this was a deliberate act or just guys and girls trying too hard we’ll never know. Either way the voice acting isn’t going to win any awards and whilst all the scenes are there to set the story beyond gameplay it’s here to stay as I doubt it’s something that can be changed. Let’s hope that Artoon include Japanese voice-overs with subtitles.
To surmise; I think Vampire Rain has some potential to be a decent stealth/action/survival horror game and yes it does borrow elements from all three. The death screen in particular is almost a carbon copy of that seen in Resident Evil games. With stealth based play to suit the sneakier amongst us and the option to kick some butt for gung ho types then surely the game can’t fail? Sadly and from the demo I found the first mission in particular to be quite dull and almost bordering on boring. This perhaps will turn off a number of gamers not willing to give the demo the full play through it deserves. The levels on offer just seemed to be too empty and lacking in atmosphere. There also seemed to be a lack of ambience to the game and perhaps the team will have addressed this before it is released. The multiplayer seems like it has potential also and could be quite diverse depending on what other game types will be included with the final game.
Vampire Rain looks like being a game that gamers are either going to love or hate. For me I’m not entirely sold but as a stealth fan then I’m most certainly interested in this game. My only concern is will Artoon apply the relevant polish so that this title doesn’t end up on the mediocre stockpile? Vampire Rain is due out in stores on the 29th of June 2007 in Europe and a few days later in the US.
If At First You Don't Succeed Try Harder As Cheating Gets You Knowhwere.
XBOX360 games owned = 117
Arcade Games Owned = 39
Retail Games Complete = 11
Arcade Games Complete = 0
360 = Games Almost Complete = Condemned-At Worlds End-Shrek3rd-R6V-Surfs Up-F.E.A.R Files-
Edited by - Angry x3h on Jun 10 2007 11:39:41 AM