Vampire Rain Review
Stating that this game is "like Splinter Cell, only with vampires" might give you the mistaken impression that this game is worth playing. After all, Splinter Cell is cool, vampires are cool, but this game ... definitely not cool. In fact, it is spectacularly uncool.
Your first clue that something is horribly wrong here appears before you even start playing the game. The menu system looks like it was hastily added at the last minute because everyone forgot about it until it was almost too late. Simple text lists appearing in monochromatic box outlines will make you feel more like you're playing an Apple II game than an Xbox 360 title. On the plus side, since the game fails to get you pumped up to play your expectations don't have as far to fall once you start playing.
Now let's do an exercise. I want you to imagine an alternate universe in which the US is facing a vampire assault from within. Where did they come from and why are they here? How would the US government react to the crisis? What type of Special Forces would be deployed to counter the threat? How would they fight the vampires? You don't have to take long to think about these questions; just take a minute or two and see what you come up with. ... ... ... OK, ready? I'm willing to bet that whatever you came up with would make a far more interesting, exciting, and cohesive story than what the game's developers did. I won't go into all of the ridiculous details, but this should give you a sense of how incredibly pathetic the game's story is. Vampires known as Nightwalkers are taking over cities and killing people at an alarming rate. In fact, government projections indicate that the vampires will outnumber humans in the US in precisely 908 days (yes, exactly 908 days). Making matters worse is the fact that people that escape the vampire infested cities take spouses elsewhere and then move back to the cities because ... wait for it ... the vampires put out a special scent that the escapees miss smelling. I am not, repeat not, making this up. "Honey, I know that vampires are killing everyone in sight, but we really need to move back because it smells so gosh darn good there. Don't worry, you'll love it! My first wife couldn't get enough of the place until she was ripped to shreds by a Nightwalker." After you learn of the scent from one of the game's characters, she concludes by mentioning that she doesn't smell anything. Well I smell something pungent, and it's coming from this game. OK, OK, back to the story. The US government responds to the threat by sending in small groups of elite operatives who shop at the same clothing and gadget stores as Sam Fisher. For some reason these operations all take place at night. Apparently no one has figured out that it would be better to take on vampires in the daylight. Making matters worse for our hapless heroes, the vampires are amazingly powerful and their weapons are basically useless. So the operatives' mission is to sneak around town from one rendezvous point to another without even being seen by a vampire, let alone trying to kill one. Sounds more like a UN peacekeeping mission than a concerted effort to save your country from annihilation to me.
I know what you're thinking and I agree, there have been some pretty good videogames with, shall we say, questionable storylines in the past. However Vampire Rain manages to backup its story with some terrible gameplay. The game may have had a chance to build some suitably creepy atmosphere with its near-deserted city setting and constant nights of heavy rain, but the mood is constantly broken by one inane cutscene after another. Even the game's radio chatter is conveyed through cutscenes that take you away from the action. The cutscenes are made even more annoying by the poorly written, cliché ridden dialog and amateurish voice work and often don't make any sense.