Move over God of War, the Lord of Darkness is here!!
Bold claim I know but please bear with me whilst I explain such a bold statement.
In the world of hype that is video games, it is hard to keep gamers attention. The God of War hype train dominated the industry for months and now with E3 around the corner, Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon it is easy for gamers to miss out on a truly epic game. That game is Vampyr.
I’ll be honest here I hadn’t seen anything of Vampyr since E3 last year, everything seemed to go quiet after that and it is that complete lack of hype that made this even more special like I have discovered a hidden gem of a game in the masses of high publicity titles.
Vampyr takes place around the turn of the 20th century. You take on the role of Dr Jonathan Reid, A renowned surgeon and blood transfusion specialist who has just returned from the great war (WW1) in France.
Unfortunately, though you just woke up at the side of the docks after being dead for a while and know have vampiric cravings. Not knowing what happened, who this to you and what you are all set the main focus of the game.
Vampyr gameplay is a beautiful mix of the best bits of some of the best games in recent memory. Combat feels somewhat reminiscent of the Batman Arkham series whilst the conversations with NPC’s remind you heavily of the TellTale series. The mysteries of the story unfold like classic Resident Evil alongside the overall feel of being in a Dragon Age game.
The mechanic behind district management is beautifully lifted from tabletop with a kind of “turn-based/round” system. Each action or decision you make won’t be implemented until you go to bed at the end of the night.
Now there is no time progression over then going to bed so there is no sunrise to worry about but in order to force you to go to bed, you can only spend XP to level up yourself and your abilities by going to bed.
Speaking of the district management this is a beautiful part of the game that has far-reaching implications meaning there is a big scope for replayability. Throughout the four districts of London, each district has its own roster of citizens who are all interlinked with each other.
Feeding on a citizen will kill them but give you a massive XP boost so you have to make sure that by feeding on that one particular citizen it won’t destabilize the district. This is achieved by talking to everyone and discovering information about each citizen. This, in turn, increases the amount of XP gained from the citizen.
The health of citizens, and therefore the XP they are worth, can also be increased by crafting medicines for ailments and curing citizens in the districts. If the status of a district drops to low it will devolve into chaos.
Vampyr’s graphics are stunning. The switch between playing and conversation is barely noticeable. The atmosphere created in 1918 London is superb. Darkness hides the dangers of poverty-stricken Whitechapel, Fog rolls across the docks of Southwark all adding to the tension of hearing a scream and debating whether to run to or from it.
Little touches like jumping backwards over cobbles to dodge an attack and hearing a glass bottle go skidding across the alleyway are touches that immerse you in the game without you realising you even heard it.
Vampyr is beautiful, cinematic, immersive and will consume your time. The NPC’s are so well written you will genuinely come to care about them and their relationships. The mystery behind your creation unfolds at a satisfying pace. It doesn’t give too much away too soon but also doesn’t hold back so much you become bored.
Conversations can seem to take a long time but this is all down to personal choice. You can simply ask the highlighted mission question or have a full conversation in the hope of discovering more about that person or their fellow citizens.
Load times can be an issue. Sometimes, like entering the mortuary behind the Pembroke hospital, means a long load time but fortunately, these are few and far between.
In an age of Hype and advertisement its an absolute joy to find such a wonderful and amazing game hiding in the shadows.
1 thought on “Vampyr – PS4 Review”
Great review mate. Worth pointing out Vampyr is developed by Don’t Nod developers of the Life Is Strange series and having played 3 hours now and explored a lot of the dialogue options it’s clear they’ve really honed their story telling abilities in that series and it shines through here. I love that I have to talk to everyone and exhaust their dialogue trees and then that unlocks new dialogue options for different NPCs. This makes me hope for a sequel to Remember Me now as I really enjoyed that game but one of the things that let it down was the story was quite weak.