June 5th, 2018
Vampyr is a game by the guys at DONTNOD and you know once you see that developer you’re in for a hell of a story. You follow Jonathan Reid, a doctor leading in blood transfusions and a former server of the army, as his already complicated life turns to horror as he realizes he has become a vampire. The question is does the game follow the excellent story telling we have come accustomed to or will the gloomy streets of London be perfect metaphor for this game? Let’s dive in.
Things are getting serious, time to heal some civilians!
Story and Gameplay 9/10
Worry not true believers, DONTNOD comes up big again. As you start your playthrough the game is shrouded in mystery. At first I thought I had to many questions but after the end of the first Act I knew everything was connected and I was all aboard the Vampyr train WOOT WOOT. Every person you will meet on your journey is unique and feels real. I was amazed on how well they were done as no character felt like a filler character. I was invested in making sure I could learn everything about them and do every quest, not because I had to because I wanted to. While most quests are either fetch or kill quests they are varied as they relate to the character that has given them to you helping you learn more about them and don’t feel repetitive at all. The further you get in the story the more the game enthralls you as soon as I started chapter 3 I did not stop playing this game until completion I was completely encased in the world DONTNOD had made for us and I can’t say enough good things about it.
Gameplay is the reason we don’t see a perfect score here. While it’s not bad it is repetitive and way too easy in my opinion. While the games difficulty is based on the number of civilian’s you embrace, aka kill, I played on the hardest difficulty and while yes I died a few times I never felt I had to kill a civilian to become stronger, I was fine with the amount of leveling I got from questing.
However the main downer of this game is by far the load screens. If you die at all, you have to load in for about two minutes. If you open a door to another area, load screen. Etc…This one mechanic almost pulled me out of the game completely. I understand opening a door and loading a new area but the fact if I died and re-spawned not 5 feet away really agitated me as I had to wait a couple minutes to try again. It needs to be addressed and they are one step closer to a perfect game.
What is this things place in the plot?
While you can tell the game is running on the same one as Life is Strange by looking at the characters faces that’s really the only proof you’re going to find. The deserted and desperate streets of London feel like there is a massive epidemic going on as people are few and far between for how big the map is. I really felt like I was in the middle of the war torn London and the dark undertone was only echoed by the world I was thrown into. While there are your awkward conversations where the camera is in a wall there’s nothing really here that pulled me away from the game or the immersion I was feeling. Every street has its own feel and the entire map never feels like you’re in the same area as you just were it’s quite the amazing job done by the team behind this game well done. The people’s facial expressions show the emotion there are feeling as well which is always good to see the only thing here is that the enemies are generic and they all just feel like stronger versions of the enemies you fought in the first act with maybe one addition after that.
While the music does a good job of once again echoing that dark undertone it just fell short. By that I mean there’s just not a ton of variety here while theres one or two tracks that stand out that’s about it. Everything else has that gloomy, sad, dark tone and fells like the last song you heard. The sounds of the game are excellent though. The voice acting, the combat, etc everything feels real and the voice acting is done to perfection with the main character who has already been through so much may look unaffected on the surface but you can tell he has become a master at hiding it you know he is feeling the consequences of his actions.
While not the best sounding game with the story the way it is written I’m sure they could have had a flute playing all the music or a yodeler just yodeling the entire time and I still would have enjoyed this game immensely.
Are you hungry enough to take this soul?
As stated above I never felt the hardest difficulty was very hard. You can beat the game without killing anyone rather easily as long as you do most if not all the side quests. The combat is like an extremely easy version of Bloodborne and while enjoyable I only died about 3 times throughout my experience, then again maybe knowing a 2 minute load screen was waiting for me if I died pushed me into overdrive against bosses. Pro tip: Get yourself a sword that gives you blood points upon hits and you will cruise through this game even easier.
Maybe you can charm your way out of some situations?
While the achievement names are amazing, one even nodding to Life Is Strange and another to Metal Gear Solid, one achievement left a sour taste in my mouth and I wasn’t the only one with the problem. There’s an achievement to beat the game without killing anyone and that’s exactly what I did. I healed all aliments, choose to spare or turn people to avoid killing. Everything I did was to not kill and then when I beat the game…nothing. All that work playing on the hardest difficulty, making the hard choices to not get more xp was just wasted. I always find something to complain about in these reviews don’t I? Other than this small error the game excels in achievements and will send you across the streets of London to get them all. Completions be wary as this game requires about 1 and a half playthroughs.
Just some of the many enemies you will fight to stay alive
I really enjoyed my time with this game and it’s easily one of my favorite RPG’s on the Xbox One. The story is woven so fantastically that you don’t even want to skip the dialog between the most unnecessary characters, you want to know everything. While some aspects fell short the entire game was an incredible experience and I implore you to adventure into this world and discover it for yourself.