Back in the second half of 2018 a narrative driven RPG came out called Vampyr. I was curious at the time of release, but because I had so many other games still to finish, I held off on a day one purchase.
Fast forward to the first half of 2019 and I was pleasantly surprised to see Vampyr had made its way to Xbox Game Pass. With this fantastic addition to the game subscription setvice I started playing it. While not perfect, it is a really good game and has a fantastic story.
At the simplest level, Vampyr is a 3rd person action RPG that places you in the 1918, during World War 1. You play Dr. Jonathan Reid, a brilliant physician who is world renowned for his cutting edge blood transfusion research. What transpires very early on in the game is that you are bitten by a creature of the night and subsequently are reborn as a vampire.
The story telling aspect of this game is exceptional. As you grow in your new found powers as a young Ekon (the more civilised name and what vampires call each other) you discover a lot of people in various districts of London. Most of the game is set at night, as you don’t really venture out in the day due to obvious reasons. Conversations and building trust with the local population is very important for a number of reasons.
This is where the game truly gets interesting. It has an amazing game mechanic where can elect to feed on the blood of these innocent citizens (calling some innocent is a bit of a stretch) and you will collect a lot of XP by doing so. This XP can be used to develop your vampire like powers, but the district suffers as a result. In London in 1918 The Spanish Flu was a plague of massive proportions and as Jonathan, you can either try and help the citizens by making various medicines, or you can simply drain them of blood and get quite powerful as a vampire.
This is one of the things that makes the game so interesting. If you take the easy way to build up your character, you effectively become a bad guy of sorts, preying on all the civilians. If you elect to try and help the citizens (I did this for most part) it takes you longer to level up and gain XP because you are getting XP by doing other things, like helping the people. You really develop a connection with all of these fleshed out characters. The right and wrong answers in the conversation dialogue is not that clear cut, and there is no manual save option. If you make a mistake, you’ll have to live with your decision for the rest of the play through.
The graphics are quite good, though not as cutting edge as you might be use to. They do set the sombre Gothic tone for a plague ravaged London very well. The sound is suitably gruesome and foreboding. I think the different vampire powers, combined with traditional weapons that you can upgrade (via gathering the appropriate materials) are all excellent.
I think my complete play through took between 20-30 hours and it only became a touch repetitive towards the end. Remember, I played the “good” vampire, which meant levelling up took more time. The only slight let downs for me was that the same monsters re-spawned when you revisited an area in the same chapter, and there is no fast travel. There is plenty to explore, and it is worth your time collecting materials and samples to improve your crafting, but it did slow it down just a touch more than necessary.
Despite these minor drawbacks I really enjoyed this game and look forward to a sequel. Even though a sequel hasn’t been formerly announced I think there is a strong chance of one coming because Vampyr did actually sell quite well.
Check it out – I think Vampyr is a good solid action rpg, with an excellent art style. The game is well worth your time and available on multiple gaming platforms.
Reviewed on the Xbox One X. Stock images used.