Vampyr Review

A new vampire prowls the dark streets of London

Posted by B1ueSeptember   22nd June 2018

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A simple way to describe Dontnod Entertainment’s game Vampyr would be to call it From Software’s attempt at making Dishonored. The problem with that description is that Vampyr is a great game all on its own, and it’s anything but simple.

Vampyr is set in London in 1918 at the tail end of World War I and, more importantly to the game, during the Spanish flu pandemic. As may be implied from the title, you play as a vampire, specifically, the newly-turned Ekon, Dr. Jonathon Reid. Herein lays one of the game’s most important points. As a doctor, you have taken the Hippocratic Oath and, as such, have sworn to heal and protect the lives of others. Yet, as an Ekon (an elite vampire that continues to look human), you have a constant thirst for the blood of the living. This paradox affects every aspect of the game.

Choosing to abstain from drinking blood, as a doctor, provides you with story-driven side quests as you keep NPCs healthy, which contributes to keeping the district more trouble-free but makes it very difficult to level up your vampiric abilities. Conversely, you can feed on NPCs, which always kills them. Your vampiric abilities will grow exponentially, but you will lose side quests, dialogue, and story choices and will greatly worsen a district’s health.

This choice, whether you feed on citizens, abstain, or try balancing the two, drives much of Vampyr’s story and will affect how you approach many (and often difficult) choices.

Gameplay is very well done. Vampyr is an open-world, third-person action RPG. You’ll spend your time exploring the boroughs of London, fighting enemies, talking to NPCs, and completing side quests called “investigations.” Talking to NPCs and completing investigations unlocks hints to be used in dialogue, which, if properly explored, increases an NPCs blood quality, granting you more XP should you choose to “embrace” (aka, suck his or her blood) that person.

Combat in Vampyr is methodical, tactical, and deliberately clunky. Enemies do not take turns to attack as in more traditional RPGs, and even the lowliest enemy can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention. By the same token, enemies that are double or even triple your level can be brought down if you have the skill. Combat mostly revolves around melee weapons like the machete, vampiric abilities like Claws, and a short teleport for dodging and maneuvering around enemies, all of which are powered by your stamina or blood bar.

The game has guns, which you will find useful under many circumstances, but they really take a back seat to the rest because of the limited amount of ammo you can carry. Battle is remarkably satisfying. All of these activities grant you experience for leveling up your passive stats and vampiric abilities, allowing you to level up and safely explore more dangerous parts of the city while continuing the game’s story.

All in all, Vampyr is a great game with a unique story at a fascinating point in the world’s history. Exploration, fighting, and NPC’s are all well done, and the game is remarkably fun. It’s definitely worth your time.

Score: 9 out of 10

Release Date: June 5, 2018
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: Xbox One and PS4

Written by vulcan1770
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