Ever since Bram Stoker wrote Dracula over a century ago, we’ve all been grimly fascinated by the idea of vampires. Perhaps it’s because they’re so charming. They dress well, they live in castles, and they tend to mix among the politer elements of society. If it wasn’t for the fact that they crave nothing more than to bite into your neck and drain you of all your precious lifeblood, they’d probably be a real joy to bring to a party. As it is, they’re among the finest horror creations of all time.
Vampires have undergone something of a renaissance as entertainment stars during the 21st century, helped in no small part by the blockbuster success of the ‘Twilight’ movies, and the books they were based upon. People love the ‘Twilight’ books so much they’re even willing to forgive the fact that ’50 Shades of Grey’ started life as ‘Twilight’ fan fiction. When it comes to television, movies, and books, vampires have been well-represented and turned huge profits for the people who give them a fictional berth. They haven’t always made for such great material in video game format, although there have been some truly fantastic exceptions to that rule.
Keep the lights turned up high, grab yourself some garlic, and consider wearing a scarf to protect your neck – because we’re going to check out the five best vampire video games of all time!
We don’t know when it became cool to misspell words, but for everything 2018’s ‘Vampyr’ lacks in spelling, it makes up for in compelling gameplay. ‘Vampyr’ deserves a lot of credit for not going down the lines of established works of fiction from elsewhere. This graphically-stunning game is a totally original creation. Players find themselves in a version of London in the distant past, ravaged by an outbreak of Spanish Flu and, well, vampires. Our favorite thing about it, though, is that as players we can be as good or as evil as we please.
The central character is a doctor called Jonathan Reid, who has the medical skills to stop the outbreak. The only thing standing in his way is the slight distraction of his newfound status as a vampire. Will he save London, or will he just use it as is new stalking ground? That’s up to you – and there are profound consequences either way. Atmospheric, brooding, and emotionally effective, ‘Vampyr’ contains almost everything you’d ever want in a game about vampires. Our only issue is that we could have done with a little more content.
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Depending on your attitude to soap storylines and teenage high-jinx, your opinion of ‘Buffy’ will either be that it’s watered-down vampire schtick for kids, or it’s the most entertaining fantasy series of the last thirty years. Based on the popularity of the series, which endures to this day, the majority of people fall into the latter camp. There’s even talk of bringing the series back as a reboot.
The game based on the series, which was released in 2002, is no slouch either. Most of the cast are on hand to provide effective voice-over work, and the graphics are outstanding by 2002 standards. There are enough combat scenes to keep people who just want to smash vampires to death happy, and enough problems to solve for those who prefer their games to be a little more cerebral. On top of that, Buffy gets some great one-liners. It’s hard to imagine how an official game based on the TV show could have been done any better.
- Bloodrayne 2
There have been a few Bloodrayne games, some of which are better than others. We’re going to to go out on a limb and say that 2004’s ‘Bloodrayne 2’ was the best of them. The existence of this game is the reason that Bloodrayne got turned into a movie. There’s even a mobile game based on Bloodrayne, which tells you a lot about its crossover appeal. There are also other online slots with a vampire theme, including the ‘Immortal Romance’ mobile game and ‘Vlad’s Castle,’ but Bloodrayne is the only one based on a video game. Very few video games get turned into mobile games, and the fact Bloodrayne has been should underline the fact that this was a huge deal in 2004.
If you’ve never played ‘Bloodrayne,’ try to imagine Blade, but female and even angrier. This is a frenetic’ hack and slash’ game, which allows you to sever the limbs of your assailants and watch them messily fly across the screen. If they’re getting a little too close for comfort, you can leap on them and completely drain their blood. It’s definitely an ‘adults only’ game (Bloodrayne even appeared in Playboy!), but it’s a lot of fun to play.
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Sometimes, all you have to do is look at the title of a game to know it’s going to be great. We’re not even totally sure we know what a ‘soul reaver’ is, but it sounds violent and spectacular – and as players, we want to get involved. As with ‘Bloodrayne 2,’ this is a sequel to an earlier game called ‘Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain,’ and the sequel is a definite improvement on the original. You can’t always say that about video games.
We move away from planet Earth for this game, and into a nightmarish realm called Nosgoth, where humans and vampires live side by side in far-from-perfect harmony. It’s a completely immersive environment with a rich story to tell, and enough content to keep you hooked for days. Your objective is to hunt down Kain, and you have one of the most fearsomely effective swords in video game history to do it with. If you get bored with the sword, you could always just impale your enemies on spikes and leave them leaking. Glorious!
- Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines
This game from 2004 isn’t going to win any awards for its wordy title. It might just sweep the board when it comes to any other category you can think of when it comes to the vampire genre, though. As implied by the lengthy title, this was the sequel to a previous game which wasn’t quite as good. Going further back, ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’ started life as a table-top game during the 1990s. It made the switch across to the video game format seamlessly.
This game elevates itself above the hack-and-slash which is so typical of the genre, choosing instead to focus on strategy, and sticking close to the role-playing initiative of the tabletop game. Play alternates between the first person and the third person, allowing for a sense of variety as you seek fresh human meat to suck dry and further your own existence. Set in modern Los Angeles, it’s a hip and fashionable vampire game, and is (in our eyes at least) as good as vampire video games have ever been. Even fifteen years after its release it’s still highly playable if you can find a system to run it on – so why not look it up for yourself and see why we’re so keen on it?