Vampyr – Buy or Pass

In a gaming market flooded with open-world RPG games, vying for attention, it is hard to find a game title that stands out. The title I will be writing about today is a game I have been watching for a while — Vampyr.

This game causes intrigued just by the name itself. It is a game that places the player in the dilemma of being a blood-sucking vampire (Ekon). Not only does it implement the vampire powers into combat, but also is extremely dialog heavy. The game aims for a difficult concept to pull off, the question is, does it pull it off? In this article, I will be reviewing and helping you decide whether Vampyr is worth buying or maybe just Passing on.

What is Vampyr?

Vampyr is an open-world RPG game. The game is very focused on dialog and story building. The choices you make, with the characters in the world, affect your end game outcome. The game time period is set in 1918, after the first World War. you are placed in London during this time, while the Spanish flu pandemic was rampant at the time.

You play as the well-known Doctor, Jonathan E. Reid. You progress through the city, through separate districts and your actions determine the health and stability of those districts and the characters within them. You are on a mission to cure the disease that plagues London. The game rewards building relationships with the characters within the districts.

Graphics and Animations

The graphics in Vampyr are decent. You have to keep in mind that the game is only set in the night time. The map is also in a time where London wasn’t blooming with beautiful foliage and sunlight. It was a time of quarantine and disarray.

Lighting

The lighting in the game is exceptional in some areas. There were times where the moonlight would reflect off a puddle of water and it looked great! On the other hand, I feel there could have been more of the moonlight. The game can get dark and gloomy, and yes, it is supposed to give the atmospheric vibe; however, the developers could have done so much with the moonlight and made the game really pop out. Overall it is decent, but nothing notable.

Textures

The ground textures are great at times. When the reflection of light bounces off the wet ground, it gives the game a sense of realism.

The building and wall textures can often look odd at times. Brick is a notable texture that was a little strange for me. Most textures are fine and nothing to complain about.

Character Models

The character models in the game are average. The facial expressions can throw you off at times with the strange lip movement, but overall the characters don’t break any immersion.

One small detail element that looked really great, was Dr. Reid’s beard. The hair follicles were really detailed and the developers did a great job with it.

Blood and Combat Animations

One thing that I absolutely wanted to mention, was the blood-splatter effects. You would expect a game that revolved around blood would warrant a lot of focus on blood. This game does exactly that, when you are in combat, each blow feels like it inflicts legitimate damage. Your enemy’s blood can be seen pulled and splattered onto the surrounding ground. This gives an extra element to the graphical and combat feel.

The combat animations are smooth and fluid. One thing I especially love is the dodge animation, which allows you to disappear and reappear, in place of a dodge. Overall the combat animations feel and look great.

Embracing

Embracing is when you choose to kill and suck the blood from a character in the game. This will end that character’s storyline and will affect that person’s social circle. (You have the choice to not embrace anyone)

  • Why you want to embrace

A reason you would want to embrace is that you will get your victims XP from their blood. Some characters have a very high level of XP and can allow you to become very powerful through the skill tree.

  • Why you may not want to embrace

A reason you may want to refrain from embracing is that it could affect your end game, social circle, and even the health of that district. (You should not embrace everyone in the game, the game will punish you greatly)

I love this feature in the game. Dr. Reid is a doctor with a moral code. You are in charge of your own outcome. Some characters can be really tempting to embrace and take their blood XP, but should you really do that? I love the constant decision and weighing of options with this feature.

Combat

The combat plays a large part in this game and is very in-depth. For the most part, the combat feels great and has some innovating tactics and powerups, but at times, it can be hit or miss and clunky.

Skill Tree

The skill tree is extremely fleshed out. There is an insane amount of options in this skill tree, they are split between active and passive skills, and all of the options are valid and really change up the combat in the game. There are 9 main upgrade types, oftentimes there are sub-skills within each skill title.

  • Defensive

Defensive skills were very useful for saving health and keeping you for dying. Blood Barrier was my go-to choice. It surrounded me in a shield of blood so I could resist the enemy’s attacks.

  • Aggressive

The aggressive skill upgrades were the ones I used and focus on the most. Claw was my personal favorite. A short-ranged attack where you could deal with a large amount of damage in a very fast claw attack.

  • Autophagy

This skill is the single most important skill. This allows you to use your own blood meter to heal yourself.

  • Tactical

Tactical is something I didn’t use too much. Shadow veil was a skill I used from time to time. It allowed you to vanish from enemies sight so that you could sneak up on your enemy and attack them. The attack would deplete their shield meter and instantly allow you to drink their blood.

  • Ultimate

The ultimate abilities are extremely useful. Rage was the ability I chose. The ability allowed me to quickly attack all enemies in close proximity to me.

  • Body

Body allowed you to upgrade your health and stamina. (Stamina is extremely important in this game.)

  • Blood

The blood ability was pretty useful. It allowed you to increase your blood capacity you could also increase amount of blood you can draw from a enemy in combat.

  • Bite

Upgrading your combat biting is really important in this game. Hard Biting is what I personally upgraded, this allowed me to deal more damage when I bit an enemy. You can also upgrade your health regeneration during a bite attack.

I love the skill progression in the game. It feels really natural and is much more interesting with the blood XP system, rather than a skill point system. A ton of options and all of the options are valid and unique.

Weapons

The game also has a decent amount of weapons in the game. There are both, shooting, and melee weapons. I personally focused more on the melee weapons, with a small suplimentary use of some shooting weapons.

There are two weapon slots you can use throughout the game. There are two-handed weapons, Single handed, and off-handed. You can pair up different types of these to fit your playstyle.

Hatchet (single-handed)

The hatchet was what I used the majority of the game. I usually paired this with the Stake.

Stake (off-handed)

This was a great secondary weapon used to cut away at an enemy’s shield bar, leaving them open to a bite attack.

Shotgun

I also used the shotgun to cut away at bosses health.

Scythe (Two-handed)

The scythe is a good two-handed weapon that you can get pretty early on in the game.

You can also upgrade the weapons and level them up with specific skills.

These are only a few of the many weapons that can be found in the game. If you are worried about a shortage of weapons, there isn’t a crazy amount, but enough to keep you satisfied.

Enemies

  • Skals

Skals are the mutts of the vampire type. They are pretty easy to beat but in numbers, can be very dangerous. As with most of the enemy types, there are a couple separate types of skals.

  • Guard of Priwen

The Guard of Priwen are vampire hunters. There are many different types and all are unique. Some of these types can be extremely hard and almost mini-boss level.

  • Werewolf

Werewolves are large and dangerous. At lower levels, they aren’t too hard, but when you run into a high-level Werewolf, be prepared for a mini-boss level fight.

  • Vampire

Vampires have the same powers as you. These can be very difficult and often can heal and teleport.

These aren’t all the enemy types, most of these have sub-categories of enemies. There isn’t anywhere close to a shortage of enemies in the game, and all are fun to fight and are at a respectable difficulty.

Combat

So how does the combat feel? Honestly, the combat is great in the game. The dodging in the game is different from any other I have played, and yes, at times it can get a little clunky. There are points where the combat just wouldn’t work. The addition to being able to bite an enemy once their shield bar was broken down, to regain blood level and health worked so well. Overall, the combat is extremely fun and with all the skills and upgrades, there is a lot to work with. A very different take on the genre in terms of combat and it works really well.

Bosses

It is also really important for me to mention the bosses in the game. The game isn’t focused on bosses but there are a fair amount of them. I found the bosses to be very fun to fight. They were just difficult enough for me to have a little rage, but not too hard to where I didn’t want to play. I also want to mention that after you beat a boss, you unlock that enemy type to be a regular enemy around the map. Overall the bosses were just right and really enjoyable.

Map

The map is split into four districts, and the additional sewer systems.

  • Docks

The docks is probably the least memorable of the districts for me. I didn’t spend time exploring and was really only here when I had to be. Some of the characters were interesting but for the most part this side of the map was mostly bland.

  • Pembroke Hospital

I loved when I was at Pembroke Hospital. This side of the map is very small and only really consists of the hospital and a few streets. It always felt safe here and it is extremely character and dialog heavy. The developers really did a great job with basically what is your headquarters in the game.

  • Whitechapel

Whitechapel was a good area with some interesting characters. This part of the map I found myself exploring a lot. At some points it can be bland but a lot of the characters are interesting and the district flows nicely.

  • West End

West End is my personal favorite area. This area is really only explored after the half way point in the story. The discrict has incredible characters and was extremely fun to explore.

  • Sewers

The sewers didn’t interest me much. I only went in the sewers when I needed to, but it does make the map feel bigger.

Overall the map isn’t that big, but that really isn’t the focus of the game. I found myself finding areas I never explored but the map felt limited and I knew the limits. I think the developers could have done a lot with the London theme but the districts are so character dense that I am happy with the map. I wish more of the map was like West End, but as a whole, the map is pretty good, and for the most part, kept me interested.

Story

The story spans across the four separate districts characters. It is mostly focused on the pillars of the districts. The choices you make while talking to the characters will affect your end game outcome.

  • Docks
  • Pembroke Hospital
  • Whitechapel
  • West End

All of these characters have their own story arcs to them. The main story mostly revolves around the pillars, but you get to talk to a lot of the other characters. All of the characters were unique and didn’t blend together. (The more you talk to a character, the more their blood XP goes up)

Another interesting element of the game is that you can create potions in order to heal the characters when they get sick. If you choose not to heal them, there is a possibility of them dying and it affecting your end game.

The story in the game is incredibly intriguing. I really enjoyed the story and found myself constantly getting more involved in it. I got an ending I was happy with. Overall the story was really great and surprisingly full of depth.

Side Quests

The side quests in the game are really great. A lot of the game is focused around dialog and this just adds to it. A lot of them are interesting and really help with the world building.

Buy or Pass

So is Vampyr really worth buying? Yes, the game is amazing and frankly, underrated. I wish the game had more notoriety because the story building in the game was incredible. This is a really hard concept to pull off and the developers did just that. The embracing feature really made me consider whether or not I wanted to end a person for their XP or let them live to see how their story arc turned out. The combat is really fun and different. There is a lot of progressions and it all is unique and worth investing in. Overall, vampyr is an experience I would recommend and it is a game I will most definitely remember.

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