Vampyr Review

Vampyr has been out for a few months and the hype around it has died down regardless if you’re a PC player or console player. Did the game live up to its hype and is it worth looking into now? The market is full of games in all sorts of genres getting massive hype before launch but then it fades away slowly since the media is focusing on the “next” best game to come out.

Sure some of the games aren’t worth talking about beyond their initial launch or some were just meant to be quick cash grabs (whether it’s done right or wrong). Now the question, is Vampyr one of those games that should fade in the abyss and be forgotten? Luckily I have information that can help you decide if the game is worth looking into (Especially during Halloween month).

Synopsis

London, 1918. You are newly-turned Vampyr Dr. Jonathan Reid. As a doctor, you must find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens. As a Vampyr, you are cursed to feed on those you vowed to heal.

Will you embrace the monster within? Survive and fight against Vampyr hunters, undead skals, and other supernatural creatures. Use your unholy powers to manipulate and delve into the lives of those around you, to decide who will be your next victim. Struggle to live with your decisions… your actions will save or doom London.

Gameplay

Vampyr‘s gameplay has more positives then negatives creating a unique-yet-fun experience.

The combat isn’t the best but it isn’t the worst since it’s dynamic when it comes to inserting the few skills the player can choose from, mixed with the available weapons. It’s still a little bare bones for the action genre though, but the dialogue and gossip mechanics make up for the combat design since this mechanic adds such a fresh take on the RPG elements of the game.

It’s the reason why I will give the gameplay a higher score since its not just depending on the action and adventure aspects of the game, but on much more than that, including the free roam portion which is decent enough to explore but not enough to spend hours exploring (unless you are focusing on finding all the NPCs).

Soundtrack

The soundtrack works really well for Vampyr. It often sets the mood and tone for the scene adding another layer to the immersion. The placement of the soundtrack is brilliant because none of it feels out of place even in the quiet moments that transition into a moment of action. The sound on top of the writing are the best parts of this game and really bring up the overall value.

Voice Acting

The voice acting is solid. It’s not one of the strong elements of the game. Its inconsistency makes and breaks the immersion of the game. There are moments when the voice actors are acting their asses off pulling out top notch performance then there are moments when the voice acting is so out of place it ruins the immersion and overall feel of the game.

Luckily there are more of the good moments over the bad moments which is why the rating for the voice acting is decently high. At the end of the day you do end up attaching yourself to the main character and at least one of the many unique supporting characters in the game. Thanks to a mix of voice acting and outstanding writing.

Stability

The overall stability of the game is mainly good at least for me but it did have some issues to start with. (I’m assuming that was because of the computer specs). It took time to fix some constant crashing but once it was fixed the game itself was smooth.

I didn’t experience any frame rate drops, or any loading screen issues. Just those minor “fatal error” crashes. I’ve heard that those crashes don’t happen to everyone but they do happen to a group of people. Since the only issue that I had was the crashing I gave a decently high score for this category (It didn’t happen too many times and wasn’t too much of an inconvenience due to the auto save feature).

Writing

The writing was absolutely amazing. The writers are the real MVPs here. Their take on the old fashion vampire myth was such an interesting take to where it wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. Then the dialogue for all the characters are extremely realistic. Especially in the sense of making each character feel like they are their own rather then copying traits from other characters that other developers do in their games.

This is one of the few games where I wanted to take the time to get to know each of the supporting NPCs just because they all felt like real people. I applaud the developers for that. This is the best part of the game and its the part that shines the most. It helps the player overlook some of the other downsides of the game which is great.

Replayability

Vampyr‘s replayability is fairly high since there are so many choices the player has to make which affect the game world. A good amount of these choices drastically change how the characters see you and how you will have to handle certain situations. The player could get 3-5 solid play throughs out of this game with different outcomes each time.

Graphics

Graphics for Vampyr aren’t amazing but they aren’t bad either. The graphics themselves look nice on the higher end machines but they don’t fit the “next generation” label.

There are still a few graphical issues that are present in the game ranging from some of the finer edges being blurry, faces not loading properly or just looking poorly designed (for a minute or so); then some visuals looking odd for moments then great just after that.

During combat the models don’t look stiff which is great and the vampire skills have a nice flashy effect without being too flashy so it doesn’t distract the user too much.

Standout Points

The Good
  • A unique take on the traditional vampire myth that takes a little from the norm about vampires but has a few surprises that work well both logically and gameplay wise.
  • The writing is thought provoking especially over the controversial debate of Religion vs Science. The writers purposely wrote it so the players get to decide where they stand on that topic.
  • A very sizeable open world where the player can adventure out, hunt, stalk. and even save citizens. The environments are well crafted in detail that is accurate to the time period while adding a smooth array of darker colors to set the mood.
  • The background music fits perfectly with the tone of the game whether it’s a violent encounter or a juicy scandal. The transition from melodramatic to comedic is smooth.
  • Conversations on top of player actions shape the game world. Instead of the traditional just choices in conversations method. The player has to be careful with the choices they make during conversations and how they deal with situations. Every decision has a consequence whether its a direct one or one to find down the road. The citizens remember your actions and take note of the changes done to the game world.
  • Once the player unlocks their second tier skills it shifts the combat from a more linear style to a smooth dynamic style that makes for an overall fun experience.
  • No 2 npcs are alike! DontNod Entertainment spent a lot of time creating unique personas for each of the npcs. The only npcs that are similar are the ones that are hunters. All the citizens have their own personalities and issues. This rolls into my next positive note.
  • The gossip mechanic is probably the strongest point of the game and something that makes it stand out from other games in the genre of mystery and thriller. This mechanic makes it so that talk to each citizen and can learn more about them and other people. You can even find out information that will shape the game world instantly or even in the long run.
The Bad
  • The beginning of the game is fairly bland with the way the the player is thrown into the story. The combat is bare and minimal, the story itself is very basic and even some of the “challenges” are not too creative.
  • Fatal crash errors. This is an issue that has plagued the game since launch and is still currently a problem for some people on PC. I had to take the time to find work arounds (2 hours out of my time) until I finally got it to not crash as often. Thankfully the game auto saves alot which makes this crashing issue not TOO much of an issue.
  • Some of the self narration done by the protganist ruins the scene. Most of the self narrations that are like this happen within the first chapter and part of chapter 2.
  • Some minor graphic issues that make the models look weird from time to time and some of the npcs not loading in properly or loading in late during a fight.
  • Every now and then minor lag when interacting with an item in the environment.
  • Locking on in combat can be either really smooth or a pain in the butt where the character locks on to who ever is closest to him instead of sticking to the one you marked specifically. When it’s smooth it only moves targets when you switch them or your current target is dead.
  • The difficulty curve is odd where they pair you with enemies near your level then the random enemy that’s like 10 levels higher then you.

Final Verdict

Vampyr

Vampyr is such a unique story-driven tale wrapped in a horror themed bow that makes it an interesting yet fun game to play. It has elements from the developer’s previous games such as Life is Strange (in its narrative-driven aspects as well as the choices-matter design).

Once I figured out how to fix the crashes, I ended up playing the game for 5 hours straight. Vampyr is a slow burner that will throw people off if what they are expecting is a fast paced action game, but it has so much more than violence that’s going for it. The devotion to detail in the accuracy for the time period and set up makes this game’s universe to be outstanding. Now as a port, this game does fairly decent, maybe not good enough to be a full $60 game, but it is worth looking into especially on a decent sale.

Good

  • Incredible Writing
  • Chilling Soundtrack
  • High Replay Value
  • Solid Voice acting
  • Overall Fun gameplay

Bad

  • Annoying Crashes saved by auto save
  • Bad Pacing at the beginning
  • Moments with too much narration
  • Minor graphic errors
9

Amazing

Story - 9.8
Characters - 10
Gameplay - 8.6
Soundtrack - 9.3
Replayability - 8.7
Voice Acting - 8.4
Stability - 8
Graphics - 8
Writing - 9.8
PR Manager for geekisphere.
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