REVIEW: Vampire Slayer

On paper at least, Vampire Slayer FPS (80 MSP) seems to have it all figured out, taking two contrasting styles of gameplay and setting them loose against each other in an arena setting. Instead of capitalizing on that promise, however, it’s an also-ran in the wave of first-person shooters on the service, with the distinction of taking the whole movement back a few steps with shoddy design choices.

Vampire Hunter FPS - Screen

The game is playable offline with AI bots or online with up to five others, and comes with two maps, a hospital / institution level with tiny hallways and rooms, or an outdoor courtyard with lots of open spaces. As the title implies, it’s Vampires, armed with only melee attacks, versus Slayers, equipped with shotguns, machine guns, crossbows, and crucifixes. Doing the math at face value it would seem unfair, though the vamps gain a few significant perks, such as resurrection and healing (feeding off the corpses of your enemies, natch). And while their melee-only moves force you to get up close, you can leapfrog around the arenas at will, transitioning into attacks and quickly covering much more ground than your slower would-be hunters.

It’s choosing the Slayer side that comes with an extreme disadvantage, and not just in losing the ability to leap or resurrect oneself. You see, vampires will go down with a few shots, but in order to get credit for and really kill the sparkly-in-the-daylight bastards, you’ll need to stake them. The thought is nice, and a wooden stake is supplied for your convenience (another of your secondary weapons), but the actual staking is a real pain, based on positioning (not what you want to do in a fast-paced FPS) and luck. Miss (I’ve cleverly taken to calling it a mis-stake…), or fail to swap in time (vampires don’t stay down long), and they’ll stand back up, catching you off-guard and reversing the roles.

And I wasn’t the only one to notice this, apparently. As you’re allowed to switch teams, online matches frequently filled up with Vampires, constantly leaving the other side with less players, or with those players electing to quit once the trick had been found out. Even with the Slayers’ superior firepower and ‘safety in numbers’ group-think that eventually took hold, the result was the same each time; the Vampires cleaned house. So much for proper balancing.

Vampire Hunter FPS - Screen2

Not that being pummeled repeatedly in matches had any adverse effects on my character. Despite the ability to level up, there’s no incentive to do so, no unlocks to speak of or stat-tracking beyond the immediate match you’re in, which makes playing an already sloppy and tedious game redundant. Throw in bare-bones settings and options (Team Deathmatch is the only mode in town), and it all serves only to highlight the dull maps / layouts and unsurprising gameplay.

Vampire Slayer FPS tries but is barely serviceable as a shooter. It does deserve credit for eschewing color palette swaps and attempting to bring some variety to usually-staid team deathmatch-types. The idea can be appreciated from afar, but not when it’s lopsidedly-skewed to favor the undead side once the action starts. As such, the competitiveness and fun in multiplayer sort of implodes from there. The game isn’t a total waste of your 80 MSP, but it isn’t a smart buy either.

22 thoughts on “REVIEW: Vampire Slayer”

  1. If you dont hate zombie games try 8bitZsurvivals. i got tried it 10 minutes ago and bought it. its pretty much COD zombies but it seems like a really a good time sink for a dollar. enemies are unexpected eventually and controls are good once i turned sensitivity down a little. Vampire Hunter is terrible but the cross thing did give me nightmares lol. ashaballahballahwallahwallagh. hahaha.

    1. Gave that one a try last night. Pretty good impersonation of COD, and I like the art style. Looking forward to digging into that one a little more. Anything is a step up after Vampire Hunter.

    2. Only played the one map in the trial, got up to wave 14. The weapon variety was nice, as were the mini-boss waves. It did start to get repetitive, so I’ll have to see how the other maps fare. Still a nice surprise.

  2. I shouldn’t say he passed 20 crap games, but when I got a review from him, I noticed he had just handed out about 10. I should also add, the quality of games on the service has been going up a lot over the last few years.

    As for being blind to your own faults, I hear both of you. This developer claimed in his response that the windows online community helped find bugs. But it’s quite obvious the community he is attracting are greifers. there, I said it: THE INDIE CHANNEL IS LITTERED WITH GRIEFERS. So many games are obviously successful because they lend themselves to aiding greifers, it’s sad. Nobody admits to this, but it’s true.

    1. I’ll second that on the quality of the games. Sticking with the theme of first-person shooters, this time last year, I could name maybe one or two FPS games I’d recommend. Now I’ve got a handful to point to if someone asks, and that list is going to grow in 2013. The service is perfect for developers to get their feet wet and get a game on a home console, and occasionally it leads to more. The fact that the games are improving is a great sign for everyone involved.

      Griefers are going to be present regardless. You don’t have to look far or for long to confirm that, and there’s always going to be exploits, intentional or not. All I can do is judge a game and the developer on its merits, and let the community sort it out.

    2. I’ve heard it whispered in certain circles as being a travesty, but have yet to confirm it on my own. Seems I won’t have to. There’s going to be hiccups along the way, but I’m glad to be reviewing the better versions now than what came before.

  3. I brought this up in review and told him not to publish and he did it anyways and snarked at me for not passing him immediately. He passed about 20 crap games, only falling short of straight up offering to pay for passes. If you ask me, this developer is a total douchebag and deserves to see his games rating drop as it has been.

    1. Peer Review is busted, of course, with everybody willing to do whatever for a pass. Developers aren’t as receptive to criticism as they should be, and it leads to piles and piles of throwaway stuff, as we all know. There’s no real way to govern it in the current state, unfortunately.

      I am surprised to see the game has an almost four-star ranking, with 179 ratings. I found quite a few matches when I was on, too, which is baffling given the issues it has. I got a lot of flak for my Shark Attack Deathmatch review, but that’s a much more deserving game than this one, in my opinion. Strange times.

  4. I’m both gratified and disappointed to hear that I wasn’t missing something when I played the demo. I did well as a vampire, and got completely obliterated as a slayer. I assumed I was doing something wrong, but from what you’ve said it seems the game is just tremendously imbalanced.

    It’s a shame. I like the idea and I enjoy it when a competitive multiplayer FPS (indie or otherwise) has teams that play very differently from one another.

    1. The amount of fun it would be is debatable, but as it sits, the ‘staking’ is mostly to blame. It gets a little easier if you duck down before attempting it, or if the vampire is sitting higher up on the terrain, though it’s a crap shoot. Not to mention the vampire’s resurrection timer (three to four seconds, roughly), and range. If you cut them down from a distance, they’ll resurrect long before you reach them, and their ‘maniacal laughter track’ when they do so is quite the ironic dig at people who choose to be a Slayer and watch their kills scurry away time and time again. Cool concept, but not enough thought went into it.

    2. Yes, it’s all well and good to say “this would be an awesome idea for a game!” but a concept alone doesn’t create fun – the gameplay needs painstaking attention. In an adversarial game, the teams need to be equal in their capabilities or it will simply not be any fun. It should be Game Development Lesson #1: Always ask “is this fun?”

    3. Yeah, you know the score as well as anybody else. I’ve been saying it since I started reviewing these things. Priority one: Fun. I’m not sure how it gets overlooked so much. Developers get attached to their games, I can understand that, but you have to separate yourself from that creation and look at it objectively. Getting outside opinions is a must.

    4. Indeed. It’s like a novellist’s need for an editor. Anne Rice is notorious for her hubris in getting rid of her editor because she believed she didn’t need him/her. The consensus is that her books then became sloppy, rambling travesties of their previous glory.

      It’s the same with game developers. They’re too close to their creation. They need someone to tell them what doesn’t work about it, and they need to LISTEN. Otherwise, like Anne Rice, they will end up just creating something reviled for its rubbishness and known only for being desperately in need of editing.

      Don’t be proud, devs. If someone offers a criticism/suggestion, it’s not because they don’t get it; it’s because YOU don’t get it. Never forget that you can’t view your own work clearly.

    5. ‘Don’t be proud, devs. If someone offers a criticism/suggestion, it’s not because they don’t get it; it’s because YOU don’t get it. Never forget that you can’t view your own work clearly.’ There’s a lot of truth in that.

      It's never easy, and nothing worthwhile is. I'm guilty of it myself (I'm working on it), but those are the sacrifices that must be made if you want to create a successful product. Agreed. 🙂

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