Feed and evolve in Vampyr
Vampyr is a third-person action role-playing for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 from Dontnod. This is the same developer behind the episodic graphic adventure Life is Strange series and the cyberpunk action-adventure game Remember Me. In development for the past few years, Vampyr allows you to play as a powerful vampire with a wide range of weapons, abilities and the capability to shape your own story.
If you have ever wondered what a game with extensive story telling and expanded gameplay from Dontnod would be like, then your prayers have been answered with Vampyr.
Embrace the monster within or fight to save flu-ravaged citizens
It’s the early 20th century at the height of the Spanish flu, just shortly after World War I. The story takes place in London and revolves around Dr. Jonathan Reid. A famous surgeon and blood transfusion specialist, the good doctor has just returned from the great war and awakens on the streets to find that he has been turned into a vampire.
While trying to find out who turned the doctor into a vampire and the origins of these creatures of the night, you also are torn between satisfying your thirst for blood or saving the sick people of the streets of London. Your journey will take you hospitals, churches, and into the houses of people you will meet.
What I really like about Vampyr is that from the get go, Dr. Reid’s story drew me in. It’s not perfect by any means, but Dontnod did a great job in creating its own world with some truly interesting and, in some cases, bizarre characters. Moreover, I found that the vast majority of people I met in the game to be intriguing. I was genuinely interested to find out more about their backstory and where they came from.
I absolutely loved that by talking to people, you could often learn new information or clues about other characters, which you previously interacted with. The amount of detail in some of the character’s back story was astonishing and I was really impressed how intertwined their stories were.
Easy to pickup controls
Only being Dontnod’s second game with third-person action-style gameplay, I would have to say that Vampyr is better than their first attempt, Remember Me. Vampyr’s controls are never overly complicated, and in turn make the game fairly easy to pickup and play. You have the ability to craft a wide variety of weapons and acquire powerful vampire abilities, via skill-trees, as you progress through the game.
Something I found quite interesting when first starting out is that you are told almost immediately that you do not have to kill anyone at all to be successful in the game. However, the game does mention that it will be a lot easier if you do so. While I didn’t trying going this route on my first playthrough, it is definitely something I plan on going back to and trying.
Combat wise, you have a few choices when equipping weapons. You can either use a two-handed weapon or two one-handed weapons for combat. In all honesty, I found that no matter what method I used, I ended up doing about the same amount of overall damage in the long run. It really just comes down to how you feel comfortable playing.
Level up your character and his abilties
In true role-playing fashion as you level up, so do your abilities. Using these abilities will give you the edge in battle but requires the use of your own stored blood, leaving you a bit weaker. Early on I leveled up my bite and claw ability, which helped me dish out some serious damage.
There are a total of three Ultimate vampiric abilities you can unlock: rage, abyss, and blood cauldron. Rage allows you to summon a AI controlled beats that teleports around causing damage to your opponents. Abyss creates a shadow vertex, which inflicts big damage on your opponents. Finally, blood cauldron will cause your enemy’s blood to explode, which will temporarily stun them and cause massive blood damage.
Additionally, you can replenish your stamina and health by creating serums. However, these can only be made at hideouts that are scattered around the game’s world. It’s kind of a bummer at first, but I quickly adapted my gameplay style for this.
A darkly atmospheric early 20th century London
Vampyr is not an ugly game by any means, but it will also not be remembered for its graphics. Character models look adequate, but appear a bit dated compared to other games on current gen systems. Correspondingly, animation can sometimes be a bit awkward too. Most notable when the characters are speaking.
With that being said, the game’s developers did an absolutely fantastic job on the game’s atmosphere and design of early 20th century London. While walking around the town and interacting with people, you can feel the desperation of not only the characters but also the city itself.
Olivier Deriviere’s orchestral soundtrack plays an instrumental role in Dontnod’s amazing job of setting the game’s atmosphere. The music has a melancholy tone to it and the voice acting in the game really helps to make a connection with the characters in the game.
Vampyr isn’t without its flaws. However, the game’s storyline, the ability to shape your story along with character progression are so well done that it makes you forget about any shortcomings. You can expect to spend anywhere from 15 to 30 hours to complete the game depending on how deep you explore early 20th century London.
Vampyr is a game that fans of vampire lore will really enjoy and those looking for a great narrative-drive action role-playing game will not want to miss. I really enjoyed my time with the game and I am looking forward to diving back into it in the near future to see how different choices will shape my story.
+ Fantastic setting and atmosphere
+ Excellent voice acting and musical score
+ Enticing story that will draw you in
+ Non overly complication controls
– Character animation can be a little flaky at times
– Character models aren’t anything to write home about
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5