Anyone remember Vampire Rain? Nope? Well that’s good. Why you ask? Well, let’s just say that the game was abysmal in every sense of the word. A terrible game and it’s not all that often that a game featuring vampires comes rolling around for gamers. However, Dontnod have been busy working on Vampyr, and have certainly received a lot of attention for it. Now it’s here, and what is the end result? Let’s find out.
First of all, I want to stress that Vampyr is not a top tier game. It’s not a Triple A experience by any means, which for me is a shame, as if budget had allowed, we would have been playing possibly one of the best games of the current generation thus far. There are 2 reasons for me saying this, and while they are a big part of the experience, they don’t detract too much from the game itself, and it’s still a worthy purchase and a damn fine game.
First up, I’ll talk about the graphics, and while I’ll always say that gameplay is more important, the graphics are not of the best quality. Washed out textures that just don’t cut the mustard, and stuff character models with little expression to convey how they feel and almost no body language which makes cut scenes feel a little awkward as you get to see close up how dead inside everyone really is. It’s not a terrible looking game, but it’s also nothing to write home about in terms of visuals. Thankfully, the game takes place during the night, as Vampires don’t tend to enjoy getting a tan. A dark and diseased London is the setting, and set around the Whitechapel suburb, with several more areas to explore, and all offer a diverse setting.
Next is combat mechanics that let the game down a little. That is to say, they’re not as tight as they could be. A gentle push of the analog stick can see Dr Reid running at full speed in that direction. Sneaking is incredibly difficult to do, and more often than not you will catch the attention of nearby Skal or Priwen Guards. Thankfully, being one of the undead, you have special powers bestowed upon you, and they’re actually quite fun to use and mess around with. A huge claw, made of blood can slash through enemies, or blood blades that slice through their bodies, maybe even a cloud that causes damage to anyone unlucky enough to get caught up in it. Then there’s you melee and ranged weapons that can aid you in battle. There’s your main weapon and an off-hand weapon that you can use to stun an enemy, allowing you to feed mid-fight and regenerate you blood power. Keep an eye out for markers when you use your vampire vision power. Not only will it indicate whether they’re immune to ranged or melee attacks, but also how healthy they are and if they are suffering from any disease.
There is a generous amount of weapons for you to collect, along with other collectibles and not only that, but there’s a crafting mechanic that allows you to upgrade you weapons and add bonuses to them should you acquire the parts required. Many games are adding a crafting element these days, and in Vampyr it happens to be a vital part of the game depending on what kind of run you attempt. The more dead bodies and disease make the game harder, meaning a higher population of enemies and in turn, making them even tougher to beat. It pays to plan your moves carefully, as the game reacts to your choices not only in combat, but how you approach and deal with the NPC’s you meet.
When I wasn’t in combat, the game was able to truly shine. It’s an action/RPG for all intents and purposes, but there’s also a deep and engaging experience to be found within the games dialogue and story. As you don’t have any attachment to the games cast, you therefore don’t know what makes them tick, their secrets and certainly don’t know them on a deep and personal level. Talking to them to win their trust is imperative of you wish to discover more, and find out their motives and discovering who is in their circle of friends. Exploration and interaction are most certainly rewarded here, and encouraged me to delve further into the backstories of everyone i could find that didn’t want to kill me
When it comes to the voice acting, I was most certainly impressed with the cast. As you take control of Doctor Reid, not only is he a vampire with a lust for blood, but he’s also a kind and caring individual that has a personal battle with his current predicament. Yes he wishes to help those less fortunate, but the temptation to feed upon them is also apparent. Stuck in a quandary and each action has a consequence that can be felt and seen within the city that he dwells in, meaning hostility increases the more he kills. I felt the voice acting was one of the game’s strong points and helps to carry the game along with some well written dialogue with an investigative tree that sees you rewarded for interactions.
The game world is a good size, and isn’t too small or too big. The map may not look that big, but once you’re in it, you’d be surprised with its size. Naturally at night there won’t be many people milling about, but those that are there will be available to interact with and flesh out the game. Along with scrounging for crafting materials and completing quests to find out who or what is responsible for turning you into a creature of the light, Vampyr is a game to fully enjoy.
Despite issues with textures and combat mechanics letting the game down, Vampyr is an excellent game from the very talented Dontnod. If they’d had the budget to spend of making this a top tier game, I’ve no doubt that it would have been one of the best games available on this generation of consoles. As it is, there are issues present. But they dot stop the game being something highly recommend from myself. A deep and engaging story with excellent voice acting and dialogue make up for the shortcomings.
Overall Score 8/10
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 5th June 2018
File Size: 19.65GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam
Available as a Physical and Digital release.