Some people may not realize that vampires didn’t start with Twilight and True Blood. In fact, they didn’t even start with Dracula. Vampires have been around for centuries, as part of local legends and myths. Vampire Legends intends to tell one of the earliest tales of vampires, back before anyone really knew what they were. From a story perspective, this gives the writers a chance to flip the script. The vampires can still be secretive, mysterious ghouls instead of whiny nymphomaniacs.
The tale starts with a couple of investigators sent out to check out a series of mysterious deaths in the small town of Kisilova. It turns out that people are getting sick and dying within a day, so the fear is that a new disease is springing up. With the black plague fresh in everyone’s mind, they are taking no chances. Of course, as it turns out, people aren’t dying of sickness. They’re dying from having their blood drained by some sort of vicious attacker. With a conspiracy among the town elders to uncover, and a hooded stranger blocking the investigators at every path, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
It’s not a bad story at all. In fact, I rather liked that it had a strong sense of progression. Things are always moving forward. I would have called the story fairly good if not for one particular problem. There’s this one character, who appears to be the village handyman, who refuses to help you unless you play a game with him. People are dying, the killer is just beyond that locked gate, and this guy won’t hand over the key until you play a hand of cards. It’s just silly, and a poor excuse for throwing some mini games at the player. It killed the momentum of the game, and it happened no less than three different times.
Also, the game is a bit disingenuous with its whole â€œbased on a true storyâ€ bit. Forget that vampires aren’t real. My issue is that the town they show in interviews isn’t Kisilova, but some other town called Kisilevjo. From what I’ve read, this town is what people think was Kisilova. Then, the town mayor or something decided to start telling stories about the vampire who plagued the town hundreds of years ago. He’s even in an interview where he pretty much tells the story of how he made it all up. Yeah.
On the presentational side of things, the game does decently enough for itself. The humans actually look like humans, though they lack in animations. Kisilova is a town that looks completely normal, yet spooky at the same time. This is one game that forgoes all of the typical furnishings you seen in similar games. There aren’t broken windows, jack-o-lanterns, spiderwebs, and other creepy things all around. It helps the game stay more grounded. The music and voice acting are decent, especially for the genre. The game does well for itself, even if it doesn’t stand out.
The hidden object scenes, of which there are many, are easier than I’m used to seeing. Many of the objects were quite large, and the area you had to find them in was fairly free of clutter. It was almost hard at first, because I was used to digging through huge piles of things. Beyond that, these sections were pretty much par for the course. You look at the list and find the objects. Some are hidden, and you might have to combine objects or interact with others to find what you’re looking for. It’s simple, enjoyable gameplay.
The mini-games don’t just stick to the normal puzzle sections. One area has you steering an out of control ferry, while another has you in a shooting range. There are still some basic puzzles to complete, but the variety was nice. Here’s hoping this kind of thing becomes a trend in the genre, rather than an occasional pleasant surprise.
The rest of the gameplay is typical adventure stuff. You move from location to location, picking up objects and using them to progress. Talking to characters gives you objectives, and new locations open up as you go. What I really liked is that you’re given small groups of areas to work with at any given time. This cuts down on backtracking, and gave the game a quicker pace. As with the other aspects of the game, the controls work and play well enough. There are some silly moments where you’re forced to use one object when another would do the trick just as well. That’s a staple of the genre at this point, however.
The collector’s edition is pretty well stacked with bonus content. There’s the extra chapter, which adds more story and ties up a rather glaring loose end. There’s also the ability to save wallpapers, screen savers, and music to your computer. Concept art becomes viewable after you beat the game. Of course, there’s those video interviews, which are always a nice touch. As expected, you also get a strategy guide to help you out if the hint button isn’t working fast enough for your tastes. All told, this is one of the better packages I’ve seen on Big Fish yet.
Short Attention Span Summary
If you’re in the market for a new hidden object game, Vampire Legends is certainly worth a look. While it has its shortcomings, it is pretty solid throughout. Also, the bonus material is plentiful, unlike some other so called collector’s editions. Just don’t buy into the â€œbased on a true storyâ€ nonsense, and you’ll find this a more than suitable way to kill time.