Vampire Rain: Altered Species

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Vampire Rain: Altered Species Game Poster Image
Vampire stealth game with gratuitous gore.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Vampires are bad guys; you and your special ops guys are heroes.

Violence

Extremely graphic when vampires get you: blood gushes as they rip you apart.

Sex
Language

Mild cussing of the 'damn' variety

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is full of gratuitous blood and gore. Vampires attack humans, and when they get you, they rip you to pieces and copious amounts of blood flow.

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What's it about?

Vampire Rain, the first installment of this series, probably should never have been released because it had poor controls and a useless story. VAMPIRE RAIN: ALTERED SPECIES, the second in the series, is slightly better in its effort to make you part of a stealthy band of black ops personnel who try to defeat Nightwalkers (vampires), this time during one crazy night in Los Angeles. But overall, this game isn't very good. The story moves slowly. There's dramatic music when there shouldn't be and instead of being scary or frightening, it's just got a lot of gratuitous blood and gore. It tries to be Metal Gear Solid with vampires, but it fails on many levels.

The game controls have indeed been upgraded for this new iteration so movement is easier, and there's a generally helpful tutorial for those who haven't played a stealth game before. Still, when you near a wire, which will help you to move from building to building, your player won't jump on to the wire unless he's precisely underneath. Having to take time to position yourself properly under a wire seems inappropriate programming in a game that's about stealth. Also bad is that there's often no place to hide once the vampires have seen you; that means quick, certain death.

Is it any good?

After you take more than 20 minutes to download the game onto your PS3, you'll notice that the voices don't precisely synch up with the characters' lips. And the jaws move weirdly as if there are no lips at all. The dialog has its moments of wit, but is more cliche than not. The graphics are often bad, especially the renderings of the characters. They're look as if they belong on a late PlayStation 2 level (which is probably why the developer was able to price the game at $40, not the usual $60 for a full-fledged PS3 offering).

While the vampires have ugly fangs and contorted, bloody faces, they appear mechanical. Even as they rip you to shreds when you're not being stealthy, even as blood flows like that from an open fire hydrant on a summer day, you don't feel particularly creeped out. You just wonder why the game was released without the addition of those compelling elements of fear and suspense. The gamemakers have had two tries to give gamers a product full of fear. Since Ignition hasn't taken the time to truly craft a gripping game, it's time to put a stake through the heart of this series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stealth nature of the game and why it's better to creep in the shadows than to shoot the various vampires. You can talk also about the nature of these stealth puzzles and the course you take to avoid violence. Does over-the-top video game violence desensitize you to real life violence? How about the music in the game – did you notice that there was dramatic music when there shouldn't have been?

Game details

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