Once you actually break into the action, it becomes even more obvious that the developer just doesn’t get it. Essentially, it’s a knock-off of Splinter Cell. Climb drain-pipes, sneak round corners, use night-vision. Even the controls are strikingly similar. But our hero Lloyd is infinitely more wooden than Sam Fisher, and he’s short of a few moves. We’re not just talking about split-jumps and SWAT turns here (although you can’t do either of those); we’re talking about the fundamentals, like the ability to walk over pipes without pressing A, or the not-so-ancient art of shooting downwards when you’re crouching on a roof.
Believe it. Not that this basic ability would achieve much anyway. Get into a firefight with a vamp, and chances are, you’re going to come in second. Once these creatures start charging you, pointy-teeth first, it takes a whole clip from any weapon to stop them, and if they catch you it’s game over. No, really. Lloyd dies if a Nightwalker gets a couple of hits in on his fleshy body, and as these vamps always use two-strike combos, that means death and a restart are pretty much guaranteed.
So, the moral of the story here is to avoid confrontation. Fair enough, Rain is technically a stealth game. However, the small snag in this plan is that the sneaking is so mind-numbingly linear that it will bore you rigid in minutes. Initially, you’re placed in a large (ish) city block and it looks like you’ll be granted the freedom to complete your objective any way you want. Not so. It’s bad enough that missions are broken down into simple chunks that require you to get from one rooftop to another over and over again, but matters are made worse by the fact that you have to follow one, pre-set route.
Try to get down a non-regulation alleyway and you’ll hit an invisible wall and get a weary message from your commander telling you that you’re going “off-mission.” Even if it makes sense to move down one particular street, if the game has other ideas, you’ll just have to fumble through the vamp-infested route that’s been chosen for you. Like we said earlier, it’s as if Vampire’s Rain actually wants you to have a bad time, desperately crushing any inkling of curiosity or creativity you may fancy displaying as you progress.