Dontnod Entertainment’s latest release Vampyr transports you to London, shortly after the Victorian era. Playing as Dr. Jonathan Reid, you prowl the streets to find healthy people to devour. Or so it says at the back of the game’s packaging. But what kind of a game is it really? Before you spend all your hard-earned cash, you must be wondering whether you’ll get the game that was promised at E3 last year.
Well, we did that job for you. After completing the game, clocking in at around 30 hours, here are the things you absolutely need to know before buying it:
1)Vampyr’s Open-World is not that Open
Okay, this one’s a given since it was confirmed quite some time ago that it’ll have a semi-open world. However, given the scope that has been presented in the marketing, one might think it provides a fully explorable city. Alas, that’s not the case. Think Life is Strange but on a bigger scale. You can interact with objects around the environments and move between conveniently placed vantage points, but that’s about it.
By the way, there is no fast travel. Cue the cries of millions out there. Couple that with the very similar environments and you really don’t get to see too much of any variety here. Population density or lack thereof also feels odd. I get that asking for a more open population type is not right for this game in this setting, but it is a game.
2)Your Choices Matter
Vampyr’s devs have pressed a lot on the morality system present in the game. “Whatever you do, it affects the game” has been a constant that has been brought up in nearly every gameplay demo. So how true is it?
Well, pretty much actually. As you can see from the image above, the game lets you choose what kind of playstyle you like. Pretty much every RPG out there lets you do the same, and Vampyr is no different. Whatever choices you make, it’ll impact the status of the district you’re in (basically changing the game difficulty). Speaking of difficulty, it’s auto-adjusting. Meaning it relies on your actions in-game. You make or break the game yourself. Pretty neat, we’d say.
3)Combat is Fun…But Repetitive
Back in the E3 presentation last year, the game showcased its combat system in quite a glorious way. It showed some pretty neat special attacks and vampire abilities. But you can only do those in the later part of the game. As you level up, you can manage your skill base and upgrade weapons. Pretty usual for an RPG, right?
Except for the combat towards the beginning of the game is kinda button mashy. Okay, not too button mashy, but repetitive. You dodge, you attack. Rinse and repeat. I came victorious in the second major boss battle doing only that, even though I was severely under-leveled. I was level 6, the enemy was level 9. But alas, after some grinding, I was done.
(Actually after thinking about it for a while, I actually recommend that you do it too. It provides a fun challenge at the very least)
4)The Story is Hit or Miss
The game starts off with a bang. That is, after a fair bit of cutscene galore exposition. But once you do get control over your character, things can get confusing. In what could only be defined as a chase sequence by my cinephile eyes, the game teaches you all the basic controls in a hurry. Once you do get settled though, the story itself can be a bit…weird at times. Or rather, unevenly paced.
Dr. Reid due to the nature of his previous work, is, in general, a helpful man. At least when he’s not slashing halfling vampire monsters to pieces. This leads to the various dialogue options in the game which when engaged with, leads to side-quests. Now, half of these are “help this poor citizen out” type quests, while the main missions run at highly breakneck speed. But the contrast between both of these is so high, that it only serves to look jarring. Sorry, but I don’t wanna play a half Vampire, half Sherlock Holmes here. I’d rather play this for that.
5)It’s Long Enough & Runs Pretty Well so…Money Well Spent?
Said to last about 15-30 hours depending on player choices, the game is decently long. A standard 15-hour playthrough is guaranteed, given the genre. We’d say that it’s the least one could expect from a game of this caliber. Especially when you look at the studio behind it and it’s previous efforts (Life is Strange series). There are no insignificant collectibles, and much of it is narrative based. We give it a pass there.
We tested the game on a variety of systems. From a modest GTX 1050Ti powered laptop to a beastly 1080Ti. All in all, it runs pretty well. The PCMR community should be happy with this release. As said in our review, the game is well optimized to run on all sorts of builds (Save the Intel HD debate. Our condolences). And it looks pretty good while at it too. No E3 downgrade controversy this time around. Phew.
Well, that about does it, folks!