Indie Game of The Week: Bloodlust: Vampire Shadowhunter

Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about.  Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.

There’s something about vampires that many people seem to find enchanting. Perhaps its their immortality. Maybe it’s their raw, primal power coupled with their barely restrained need for blood. Might be it’s their oft-cultured, metropolitan nature. Whatever the reason, they’ve secured a spot in popular culture which is almost more significant than any other undead creature. Of course, that popularity’s gone hand in hand with a significant distortion of vampire culture.

I’m happy to report that Bloodlust – a third-person action-RPG developed by the independent WRF Studios – stays at least relatively true to vampire lore, at least from what I’ve seen so far. You take on the role of a vampire (or half-vampire) foundling. You’ve recently awakened in the ruins of a strange castle. You can’t say what you are – or were- since you can’t actually remember anything. All you know is that you’re a vampire foundling and you’re trying to find your way out of an underground castle. That’s really all we need to know for the time being. 

At character creation, you can choose one of three classes (or ‘clans’). This doesn’t actually lock you down to any particular play-style or archetype; a character can learn whatever abilities they choose, so long as they’ve the necessary reputation with a particular clan. It’s not quite clear how you gain reputation just yet – likely as not, it’s a mechanic that’ll be implemented at a later date. 

At the moment, there are three primary clans, conforming to the ‘sacred trinity’ that’s defined RPGs for decades: the Witch class starts with an allegiance to the Durkas, Criminals (rogues, essentially) are allied with Scades, Warriors swear fealty to Vangres. Again, this won’t prevent you from gaining reputation with other clans and learning other skills, it just determines the sort of start you’re going to get. 

Gameplay-wise, Bloodlust actually shows a great deal of promise. The best approximation I can give of the experience is to ask you to imagine Diablo if it were a third-person action game. Combat has a slight focus on action and mobility – the attacks of most creatures can be dodged simply by moving out of the way in time. Also scattered throughout the ruins is a host of traps and secrets. You’ll want to avoid the former – in most cases, getting struck by a trap is an instant kill. 

See, Bloodlust draws on a lot of design elements from the 90s. In that sense, it can be a touch unforgiving, at times. Blunder into a deadly trap, and you’re probably going to die. Wander into a locale filled with powerful monsters, and there’s a good chance you’ll be re-loading from a saved-game. It’s not a style designed for everyone, but for those who enjoy it, it feels like a breath of fresh air. 

That isn’t to say the demo isn’t without its faults. During my playthrough of it, I noticed several somewhat significant graphical issues (for example, the way shadows work with the Floating Head), and the voice acting is, for a lack of better terms, downright awful. Still, it’s a promising game – and definitely one to watch as it proceeds through the development process. See for yourself.

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