Vampire Syndicate: Gangs of MoonFall calls itself “An adult cyberpunk crime lord RPG”. It casts you as the recently promoted familiar of a vampire, the Renfield to her Dracula, who leads a squad of cybernetically augmented mortals who do the dirty work the undead leave to others. Also, it’s a top-down RPG with turn-based combat, and sex, which I guess is technically also turn-based.
The demo, which is currently available on Steam and on itch.io, presents an opening mission where you’re one of several crews sent to perform a hit on an ancient vampire. The undead have laws, and one of them says they can’t kill their own kind. It doesn’t say anything about paying gangs of gun-toting leather fetishists to do the same. Loophole!
Your target is a teched-up nosferatu-looking gentleman who keeps a menagerie of Lovecraftian monsters in a puzzle dungeon. Vampire Syndicate warns players the demo’s combat is rough, and in the story portion of the demo you’re allowed to skip it. While it’s the kind of tactical combat with movement allowances and action points, it’s also the kind where the battlefield is mostly just a blank grid that exists to provide space between combatants rather than something interactive. If you choose to blast away with shotguns and pistols rather than get up close to do knife-work, you’ll be doing so standing pole-straight out in the open, without cover, which always seems like an odd way to conduct a shootout.
Storywise, it’s an interesting blend of Vampire: The Masquerade and Shadowrun, with a group called the Mandate who manage the city’s supernatural creatures offering you the chance to narc for them and an opponent who is sick of blood-drinking immortality and has decided to upload himself and live forever in digital form. It’s developed by the creator of Memoirs of a Battle Brothel and shares that game’s rich setting, as well as a few of its characters.
It also shares the sex scenes, though in that part of the demo they’re presented with posed 3D models and the kind of white-out protagonist stand-in you see in visual novels. Given how many of us have spent the last few days examining the underpants of our Baldur’s Gate 3 characters, and getting to know the voice actor hired to make its sex sounds, I hope we can get past pretending this is a controversial inclusion. Yes, there are a lot of vampire ladies with their rude bits out, but it’s nothing a baby hasn’t seen up close.
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