Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose
Vampyr is one of the games I had great expectations for, many things to investigate, and most importantly your choices has consequences. It’s not easy to create such a game that many have attempted before. Has Vampyr managed to create a game where we feel our choices have consequences and manage to keep the interest up?
The story is set in London 1918, a disease has spread across London’s streets that kills a lot of the population. We play as Dr. Jonathan Reid, who now has dedicated his life to finding a cure and saving the people of London. But there is a small catch with that, Dr. Jonathan Reid has recently been transformed into a vampire.
Vampyr’s story has an amazing start, a doctor who has just returned from the first World War, who dedicated his life to saving lives now stands above a lot of difficult choices when he has become a vampire and must survive himself.
The main story is interesting at times and with decent voice acting, side missions on the other hand, feel dragged out and can get very boring in the long run. Vampyr is able to keep a strong hold on how difficult it can be to play at times, managing diseases, Reid’s internal moral struggle and how both of these two affect London’s streets. A very good idea for a game, a well done manuscript, we come to the gameplay itself a bit further down.
It must be said that for most of our time in the streets of London is at night (duh…). But the lights everywhere in the city are very well set up, street lights cuts through the fog, and not least lots of other light factors that helps to give London an early 20th century feel with a hint of Jack the Ripper/gothic feeling. Character design is also quite good and detailed, although I wish they had spent some more time on facial animations, as much of the time in Vampyr is being spent in dialogues with other NPCs. To put it simply, voices and facial animations are not exactly synchronized. And very often, it takes some time in both character design and environmental design for the texture to pop in, so it may look a little roughed sometimes.
So to the most important bit, is the gameplay any good?
I have many mixes of feelings around the gameplay of Vampyr. At times, I love the concept of investigating and interviewing people to find hints and clues around different cases. I love it when I suddenly meet vampire hunters around the corner that scares the living shit out of me (I do not want the Winchester brothers after me – Supernatural TV Series reference for those who did not catch that). But, again I do not really like the way they have built up the combat system, dialogues are very often dragged too far out, which makes conversations take too long and become uninteresting.
Vampyr is a very difficult game. You have to be very careful when walking around the streets, and use your different skills sensibly. Of course, you get XP points that you can use to upgrade skills, health, stamina and much more. If you have played RPG games before you will recognize the system very quickly, the disadvantage is that the progression is very slow.
As a vampire you will need blood, preferably high-quality blood. Just don’t do like me at the beginning and suck blood from the people who might have given me one of the main missions or because I got a bad price in the store (possibly my morale was a bit low there). This is some evidence that Vampyr brutally gives you consequences of your actions in the game. But sucking the blood of the people of London makes it easier to get through the streets, and the quests become easier. Nah, this may be a choice you should take.
I mentioned I wasn’t quite satisfied with the combat system, well let’s say it this way. The controls (which I come back to) are very struggling to figure out at the beginning, it’s not always the character does what I want during battle. And it’s very often I wonder if it’s actually an AI system that works, so much of what we learned in the tutorial has no impact in combat. For example, to dodge away, jump to the side or back to avoid being hit, I’m hit constantly, especially because the enemy is stepping hard on a LEGO bit and plunges forward.
Just as I mentioned during the gameplay section, the controls are a bit struggling at first. I very often felt that the response time was a little slow, something I hope is fixed during the launch update. Have you played Dark Souls, Bloodborne, etc. so are control schematics very familiar, dodge button, stun/long range button etc. I played Vampyr on PC, but I strongly recommend playing with an Xbox controller to play this on PC. To me, it’s a more relaxing game experience, and the sensitivity is very high (you can edit this in settings) if you use mouse and keyboard.
Vampyr is a very long and “heavy” game to play through. Vampyr offers a lot of hours and a bunch of cases to solve, but when you finish the story and possibly all the side missions, I would probably think that a new playthrough isn’t something that you would prioritize. Vampyr is a typical game one plays once to experience and bring the story.
Story - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Controls - 8/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Vampyr might not be a new Life is Strange, but DONTNOD has managed to create an interesting story in a dark and “beautiful” city. RPG elements are included, but progression is a bit slow and the combat system is decent at best. Vampyr is a very slow game, but will provide a good gaming experience in the long run. I want to say that Vampyr has been built up on a very good idea, sometimes very solid game but again some small things that annoys and should have been spent some more time fixing before release.
- Interesting story
- The impact of player choices
- Texture pop-ins
- Side missions feels dragged out
- Combat system