For a game featuring vampires and werewolves, Blood Knights is about as close as you can get to a buddy cop movie. This action role-playing game from German developer Deck 13 tells the story of a vampire hunter who experiences a bit of bad luck and turns into a vampire himself. Now his only hope for regaining his humanity is to work alongside the vampiress that he had previously coerced into helping him hunt down her fellow bloodsuckers. And by "coerced" we mean "used dark magic." Awkward!
It is, in other words, a game about unlikely allies. They don't ride around in a cop car cracking jokes about each other's wives while spilling donut powder all over their shirts, but there is a bit of buddy-cop-style reluctant teamwork happening here.
Much of that boils down to how the game's co-op mechanics work. Blood Knights is an action-oriented, almost arcade-like take on the Western RPG. There's plenty of loot, unique weapons, and leveling, but most of the co-op action is a twitch-oriented affair. So the two players will constantly be keeping an eye on one another to see if they need to lend a hand.
Here's one example. Because the two main characters are vampires, their health is measured in blood. As one character gets beat up, the other can dip into their blood pool and quite literally spray a fountain of their own blood clear across the screen in order to refill the other player's health bar. It's basically a nightmare scenario for any normal person hoping to receive a blood transfusion, but for these guys it's an effective way of trading health.
Then there's the way environmental traversal works. The male character is a melee-focused type who has the power to lift up enemies and pull them toward him for a finishing move. The vampire lady, on the other hand, is just the opposite: she lifts up enemies and hurls them back to better use her ranged weaponry. But occasionally, the game will ask the two players to use their powers on each other to make it across wide gaps or reach hidden enemies. Whether you want to grief your teammate by holding them above a bottomless chasm and threatening to drop them is purely up to you.
Of course, the whole game can also be played by yourself with some of these co-op sections smoothed over in order to make the solo experience work. But Blood Knights seems like it's at its most interesting as a co-op adventure where these two unlikely heroes have to work together to survive. You know, kind of like two cops from different departments forced to work together who also happen to be vampires.
Blood Knights is available to download this Halloween for $15. It will be released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.