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Bloodlust: Shadowhunter - First Look

by NyxVampiria, 2014-02-07

Wake up fledgling, the early evening dusk fades from view as a new moon rises...

And thus, we awake. Having slept for who knows how long in a tomb, we brush off some dust and try to figure out just what the heck is going on. We read a note from a 'friend' that tells us to meet at a tattoo shop. But before we go there we need to find our way out of these ruins and so our adventure begins.

Bloodlust: Shadowhunter is a vampire action RPG set in a dark and gritty world filled with secrets, puzzles and things that want you dead. When I say dark I mean that literally. In fact the first two items you are handed are a dagger and a flashlight. Still being just a fledgling your vampire powers have not yet reached their potential and as such you cannot see in the dark, so you will have to rely on your flashlight to explore your way through the ruins.

The game offers a variety of difficulties for your liking, easy - normal - hard and insane. You might not want to start straight off the bat at insane level as this game would probably require some planning to succeed at that level. 

 

Character creation

There are several ways to plan your character, which starts with a few easy choices during character creation. You can select to be a vampire or a dhampir. Dhampirs are half human, half vampire, which means they are not as strong as a regular vampire, but they require less blood and are more resistant to fire and light.

You get to choose between three classes: warrior, witch and criminal, which in a nutshell are your average melee, caster and ranged type of classes. Your choice of class will determine what main stats and reputation you start with. As reputation is the main way to unlock new skills, it does make sense to consider what type of class you want to start with, even though all classes can gain access to the same skills. Each class provides you with 6 different attributes: Strength, dexterity, charisma, vitality, intelligence and persuasion, and this is where things get a little more complex and interesting.

I'm sure some are going to love this and some are going to hate this, but building a character can be manipulated by random rolls (feeling nostalgic, anyone?). This means you can do various rolls until you get starting stats that would be more powerful - this includes attributes, health, stamina, and class bonuses to main attributes and clan reputation. What stats you choose can also have an impact on various events in the game. Persuasion is very useful in the way that it can open up stores with npc's that normally would not trade with you, you can persuade npc's into giving you useful items or even quest items. If you choose to go with intelligence you will be able to read books that can further improve stats and give you a higher chance of getting valuable talent points when leveling up. These talent points can be used for the talents in your talent tree that is randomly generated for each character and only becomes visible after you have created your character. The talents do not seem necessary to succeed in Bloodlust: Shadowhunter but appear to be a means to reward more intelligence based characters allowing a different way of playing.
When leveling up you also receive attribute and skill points. You gain one skill point and 5 attribute points that can be spend freely. 

Most npc's are part of a clan and if you persuade them to like you (using persuasion, do quests and what not) your reputation with their clan will increase. This will unlock new skills based on that particular clan, which you can purchase with skill points. For example the Vurkas clan may unlock a magic skill as you raise your reputation with them, while the Vangres clan unlocks more warrior like skills.

 

Create a family

One interesting feature is that you can sire humans. You can bite people and make your own nice little vampire family. After having sired someone you can make them do various tasks for you such as assist you in combat, send them off to find items or even sire people themselves. The demo gives you access to a bum to sire, whom you can find lying silly drunk on the ground sleeping, with empty bottles next to him. I sent him off to fetch items for me and he can indeed bring some important items such as lock picks or blood wine which are important to survive, unless you want to feed on rats. Your minions also have stats that can be improved to ease the completion of the various tasks.

 

Story

A voice calls to you in your sleep, you wake up and you have no idea where you are. You are told to meet with a friend at a tattoo shop to learn more once you have found your way out of the ruins you woke up in. To help you do this you will meet a few npc's who will guide you or trade with you and explain the basics of what's going on. They will also have a few optional quests where you mostly seek out items for them, by either killing or by exploring and finding secrets.
The demo does not offer a great insight towards the story of the game. It does however show really well that you're on your own in this place.
The game gives you the feeling that you're not entirely welcome and unless you can persuade people they will not offer you to trade or help you unless you help them first.

 

The Gaze

There is a lot of exploring to be done in Bloodlust: Shadowhunter, and in fact the game seems to have a large focus on letting you explore, solve puzzles and find secrets. There are tons of them. You will need to check out every corner to see if you can find a hidden switch or a secret door.
One of the skills you have access to is named 'vampire gaze' which basically is a remote eye that you control to reach places you are not able to reach by yourself to locate and flip switches. If you still want to do more exploration you can enter randomly generated dungeons.

There is perhaps one thing to complain about from playing the demo, and that is the fact that the game offers a talent that enables you to see secrets on your map. With the heavy focus the game seems to have on exploring and discovering secrets it seems a rather odd choice to let you just simply find most secrets just like that. Of course you don't need to use it, but the exploring bit just kind of loses some of its charm knowing it's there.

 

Survival

Surviving in this dark world is, as you might expect, depending on blood. Without blood you are extremely weak and should avoid combat at all costs. You have four different stats you have to keep an eye on: Health, life force, stamina and thirst.

Health is, as you'd expect, defining how much of a beating you can take. When it reaches 0 you die. Life force is the "mana" equivalent stat for using skills and stamina is drained from taking actions such as jumping, weapon attacks and sprinting. These three stats regenerate over time, as long as your thirst is satisfied. Thirst will degenerate over time and unless you can find a blood source to drink or feed on you'll eventually run out of blood. This does not kill you, but if you're out of blood you won't regenerate any health, life force or stamina.
You also have resistances towards light, fire and silver. The demo however only exposes you to light damage, and you will want to stay far away from light or find a way to cover it as it will kill you in seconds.

 

The graphics

Graphically the game is very satisfying for what might be a low budget game, it offers a decent range of texture options that look fairly well in the game. The characters look decent and are nicely dressed up in a fashion fit for a vampire. Animations are well done and feel natural for the most part, although there is a lack of casting animations. Lightning has been done in a wonderfull way and creates a very dark and eerie atmosphere. Lightning does as a matter of fact feel much more natural compared to other games trying to promote a dark atmosphere. The sound elements and music do a superb job of adding even more to this atmosphere.

 

Conclusion

To summarize, the feeling the game gives is something of a wonderful cross between VTM:Bloodlines and Dark Souls, especially if you're brave enough to turn up the difficulty settings. Wandering through the halls of the ruins trying to survive on the little blood I can find, while holding on to my flashlight to find my way through the darkness with the mysterious humming music playing in the background, I feel like I'm on my own. This is my adventure and mine to do with as I please. I do not need to run errands for everyone, I manipulate and persuade people into liking me or help those willing to help me in return, and I'm loving it. The demo has provided a very solid idea of what's to come and I can't wait to try more.

Box Art

Information about

Bloodlust: Shadowhunter

Developer: WRF Studios

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Modern
Genre: RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2014-10-01
· Publisher: WRF Studios

More information