At last the spiritual successor to Vampire the Masquerade has come out… but does it really live up to expectations?
Its been many years since we’ve had a fresh approach to a vampire RPG, with all its supernatural elements and historic twists to it. The year is 1918 during the first world war and we found ourselves in a London overrun by monsters and the Spanish flu epidemic. Doctor Jonathan Reid, the main character we are going to play as, awakens from a mass grave, driven by an insatiable bloodlust…
And what better excuse to walk through the dark and charming alleys of this dying city, where each npc shares his own twisted view and perspective of life and death. If only your bloodlust wasn’t so grave a condition to make you mercilessly feed on interesting characters. If only you had a choice… but wait! You have a choice!
To feed or not to feed?
The most interesting mechanic of the game definitely has to be the Embrace mechanic. Whereas an ordinary game lets you level up by killing enemies and completing quests, Vampyr allows you to significantly boost your exp by getting to know a character, investigating on his life secrets to unlock the biggest exp bonus. Then, when the time its right, taking him to one of the many dark alleys and mercilessly embrace him.
But there is some counterbalance mechanic to it, as feeding on a character, while granting an exquisite exp boost, will also damage the stability of the district he lived in.
So lets say you go on a rampage and feed on multiple characters, that district will be overrun by even more diseases and monsters, to the point that most quests will be irreversibly locked.
If you refuse to embrace any characters or just the lesser ones, you are bound to settle several levels under you enemies, turning the game difficulty up by several notches.
Speaking of difficulty, the game relies on a simple Hack & Slash type of combat with dodge and locking system, very well suited for controllers by the way. In fights you’ll want to manage your resources like stamina and blood carefully, as you’ll need blood to use your blood-powers and stamina to dodge and attack.
You can always feed on the enemies if the situation calls for it, replenishing your blood resource, but its often risky and will expose you a lot in though fights.
Still, the dodge coupled with a good timing will let you through most of the fights, even if you are under leveled, with patience every fight will be doable (as long as you are not severely outnumbered).
Indeed, the fights tend to get repetitive after a while, though the variety in terms of locations and playstyle might hopefully spice up the experience.
Dark & Bloodied Palette
Graphic wise, the game’s visuals are really good, with the brilliant choice of a desaturated palette to better fit the overall dark atmosphere of the game and highlight the trails of blood and organs scattered all around the place.
The music and sounds we found to be quite engaging, transitioning from an eerie ambient to heavy and twisted combat themes, fitting the enemies you are facing. The voice actors did a great good job in conveying an authentic feel of helplessness in a devastated city.
The Healing Verdict
8 out of 10 Muffins
All in all, Vampyr is a most welcomed surprise. While lacking much of the depth of a traditional Vampire the Masquerade title, it makes up for it with its exquisite mechanics, grotesque visuals and charming plot. If you feed on vampires and supernatural stuff like no tomorrow, it is no doubt a Recommended Buy, otherwise, you’d better wait until it goes on sale.