Vampires are having a real moment in video games right now. Of course, the bloodsucking creatures of the night have been with games for decades — the allure of playing as a supernatural predator or fighting against them has been a popular subject since as far back as the NES. If you’re looking for games that focus on vampires, here are some of the best ones. I’ve tried to focus on games that are easily accessible on modern hardware and that have official English releases.
1. Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines
Panned on release due to a number of game-breaking bugs, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed PC games of all time thanks to a dedicated fan community who have made the game what it was always meant to be. Based on the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop roleplaying franchise (as are several games on this list), Bloodlines casts you as a newly-Embraced Kindred of one of a number of different clans, each with their own strengths and flaws. The Nosferatu, for instance, appear similar to the creature from that classic film, which inspires fear and revulsion in mortals who witness them. The Malkavians, on the other hand, appear outwardly normal but are cursed by psychological turmoil. Bloodlines is a fantastic game for anyone interested in horror roleplaying set in the modern world — just make sure to install the Unofficial Patch before you start.
2. V Rising — Best Games About Vampires
If you’re less interested in gritty urban horror and more in building up your might as a lord of the undead, then check out V Rising. The game surged into success earlier this year on the strength of its robust systems, offering players the ability to fight, hunt, and construct their very own accursed castle. V Rising is still in Early Access on Steam, but it’s already got a dedicated playerbase.
3. Code Vein
What if Dark Souls was anime and starred vampires? That’s the question posed by Code Vein, a game in which vampires fight monsters in a post-apocalyptic landscape. It may not reach the design heights of From Software’s titles, but Code Vein is a solid title in its own right, with a deep character customization system, myriad blood-fueled powers to use, and, of course, gigantic bosses to take down.
4. First Bite
A fairly-short visual novel complete with voice acting, First Bite throws you into the den of three ancient vampires. Will you find a way to survive the night and convince one to let them join you as a member of the undead, or will you meet your untimely and bloody end? There are a lot of dead ends to navigate here, but First Bite is a funny, sexy vampire story featuring three well-defined characters. It’s similar in tone to What We Do in the Shadows, and is probably the closest you’re going to get to playing a VN based on that series.
5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The game that put the vania in Metroidvania, Symphony of the Night shook up the formula of the classic series by making the protagonist Dracula’s son, Alucard, rather than a member of the vampire-hunting Belmont clan. (Ok, you could be Alucard in Castlevania III, too.) As these kinds of games go, Symphony of the Night is fantastic, with plenty of enemies to defeat, abilities to acquire, and secrets to discover. Unfortunately, it isn’t currently playable on PC. Your best options for playing it are to pick up Castlevania Requiem on the PlayStation 4, which includes both SotN and Rondo of Blood, or else simply emulating it. This latter option also lets you avoid the game’s biggest issue — its lengthy and unskippable Game Over sequence.
6. Vampire: The Masquerade — Shadows of New York
Another game based on the Vampire: The Masquerade property, Shadows of New York puts you in the role of Julia, a new Kindred tasked with investigating the murder of an important figure in New York vampire society. The game plays like a visual novel, though each night you have some options as to how to spend your time. Shadows of New York is actually a standalone expansion to an earlier game by the same developer, Coteries of New York. That title is worth playing too if you’re into the world of VtM, but it made more of an (unsuccessful) effort to bring in tabletop game mechanics, and has an abrupt and truly terrible ending to contend with. That said, you can enjoy Shadows of New York without playing Coteries — playing through the latter first will just give you a little more familiarity with the characters you’ll meet in Shadows.
7. Vampyr — Best Games About Vampires
In Vampyr, you play as a doctor in early 20th century London who is grappling with the outbreak of flu ravaging the city. To make matters worse, you’ve just become a vampire too. Vampyr cleverly ties its narrative stakes into its mechanics, by tempting you with the power you’ll gain from killing the city’s human inhabitants — power that will make its combat segments that much easier. However, you can also play as a mostly-upstanding creature of the night. That path, though, is considerably more difficult to walk.
8. Castlevania Advance Collection
After Symphony of the Night, 2D Castlevania games more or less stuck to the same formula even as they moved to other platforms. The Game Boy Advance received three such games, and this collection contains all of them — as well as, for some reason, Castlevania Dracula X. Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance are ok playthroughs, but the real reason to pick up this package is Dawn of Sorrow. Playing as Soma Cruz, the reincarnation of Dracula, players explore Dracula’s Castle and can absorb the souls of enemies to gain their powers. Dawn of Sorrow is right up there with Symphony of the Night as one of the best Castlevania games of this type ever released, and it’s great that it’s finally playable on modern hardware.
9. Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodhunt
I wouldn’t have thought that the Vampire: The Masquerade license would lend itself well to the battle royale format, but Bloodhunt is actually a pretty good example of the genre. The game has much more verticality than the average battle royale title, owing to the supernatural strength and agility of its characters, and it works vampiric feeding into its gameplay by having roaming humans work as makeshift power-ups. If you draw too much attention to yourself, you’ll even become the target of Second Inquisition vampire hunters, so you have to play things a little stealthy. Plus, you can make your vampire do a Fortnite-esque dance.
10. The Sims 4 — Best Games About Vampires
This might seem like an odd inclusion, but for some time now, The Sims has had some great supernatural offerings to go alongside its more mundane day-to-day life simulation. The Vampires expansion for The Sims 4 allows you to create vampiric Sims who drink blood, wield mystical powers, fight duels against other bloodsuckers, and build lairs. The Sims 4 also recently added werewolves to the game, so you can even live out your Twilight fan fiction dreams.