A game about being a vampire in a setting where you have to choose between being a life-saving doctor or a bloodthirsty killer. You think the choice is that simple right? Think again.
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Review code provided by Focus Home Interactive.
Vampyr is an open-world game set in the influenza-ridden streets of London. You control the newly-turned vampire Dr. Jonathan Reid. As Dr. Reid it is your mission to solve your own murder and the plague that has spread across London. Will you be a good vampire or a killer vampire. That is the question the game poses for you. Do you dare defy what it means to be a vampire by abstaining from killing and draining people off of their blood and resorting to eating rats in the streets.
There is definitely no fun to be had if you refrain from killing anyone even those annoying hunters that don’t understand that you don’t want to kill anyone. For one, not killing anyone means you’re not getting that much-needed experience points to level up. And not leveling up means you will have a lot of difficulty fighting off the real enemies which are the skals (vampires who have not completely turned into the vampires with self-control) They are basically mindless beings whose sole purpose is to satiate that thirst for blood. And the longer the game goes your enemies’ level scales way too high that you’d die in just one fling of their claws or even one bullet from that hunter. You’d find yourself playing Dark Souls: Vampire Edition as you will spend most of your time dodging and striking at the right moment. It is doable mind you, I tried to abstain from killing even the enemies for a good long while until I succumb to the thirst and just started killing everyone.
As the game would suggest early on, killing enemies nets you a lot of experience points. This also includes the NPCs that are living in the communities. What’s more special about the NPCs is that the more you get to know them, the higher the XP points that you get for “embracing” them (I am guessing they used this term instead of sucking because it’s too tasteless for the game it seems and could lead to a flurry of puns.) Getting to know the NPC and unlocking the hints that will eventually increase the XP they give off can be done so by talking to them or picking up information all throughout the game. Other than that, you also need to have the right level of Mesmerize which is a skill that allows you to let the NPC be under your control as you lead them to a site where no one can see you “embracing” them. Embracing is the term they use when you suck the living daylights out of the NPCs.
Another thing you can do for the NPCs is give them medicine when they get sick. Keeping the NPCs healthy will affect the overall health of the community. The healthier the NPCs are the less likely that the whole community becomes overrun by skals. Keeping the community healthy will also make shops have bigger discounts so that you can shop for anything at a cheaper cost.
Each community also has a leader who you can interact with in certain chapters of the game. Deciding the fate of the leader during their storyline in the game will affect the overall status of the community they are leading. There are usually three choices to choose from when deciding what to do with the leader and each outcome could either be a good thing or a bad thing for the whole community. This outcome also happens instantly right after you rest in a hideout.
Speaking of hideouts, hideouts are rooms in the game where you can rest to regain your health. This is also where you can spend the XP you have collected and unlock passive and active skills. There is also a crafting station where you can dismantle trinkets that you have collected and turn them into medicine and serums that you can use during battles. It is also a place where you can upgrade your weapons and give them a boost.
Most of the trinkets that you can find can be found from killing enemies or scavenging from dumpsters or boxes that are laid all throughout the game. But that doesn’t mean there’s an abundance of supply of things to scavenge. There’s a limited supply of items that you can scavenge and there will also be times that you can get nothing.
I can definitely say it’s an enjoyable game when you choose to become the vampire that you are but it will also make the outcome of your game very bad. If anyone has played Dishonored it is similar in nature where if you make bad decisions everything in the communities goes bad and everyone can become infected and put the whole game into chaos. But this does not extend to killing non-story NPCs. So if you choose to still be a good vampire then you have the permission to go all out on non-story NPCs, I mean they deserve it since you are just trying to mind your own business. And although the game is more challenging this way, at least you will still enjoy the game and reap the benefits of being a good vampire.
Now for the bad side of the game. Most of it is technical. I get a lot of frame drops here and there and there will be points in time that the game will actually freeze up and you don’t know if it hung up or not but if you wait a few minutes it will move again. I think this is very bad especially for people who don’t have a lot of patience as they will think the game has crashed. Loading times also take a lot of time. It seems like they preload a whole area everytime you enter a section of the game but it takes too long for that. There are even small sections that I feel like should not have taken long to load than the bigger overworld areas but it seems that they load as long as those.
Overall, the game is enjoyable when you don’t encounter the game breaking bugs which more than often happens and it can be frustrating when they do. Even in the current patch when I tried to update the game, those bugs have still not been quelled. I hope that in the future that they can fix the PlayStation port because I feel like they did not really give that much attention to it and just focused their resources more on the PC release.