When Vampyr released its first trailer in E3 2016, it immediately piqued a lot of curiosity. It had been awhile we had a proper vampire game, and the concept seemed to have a refreshing take on morality in video games with a vampire as its protagonist along with a very convincing world and characters. “Vampyr” is another creation from DONTNOD Entertainment. A developer which is already famous for its amazing storytelling and immersive world-building as we have seen in its latest hit “Life Is Strange” and also a forgotten and underrated (and my personal favorite) game “Remember Me”.
Jonathan Ried is the hero of our game, a doctor in the field of blood-transfusion at the time of World War I. After the war, he has now returned to London, a city currently ravaged by the Spanish Flu. In a twisted turn of events Jonathan is now a vampire and in the midst of a dying city, he is chasing after the one who has made him into this monster. We had a vampire protagonist before in “Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2” but the core design of the game and the oversaturated fantasy elements overshadowed the vampiric feel from the character narrative. Vampyr, on the other hand, tries to give the players a real essence of a vampire, with its perfect skill and combat designs, good storytelling and its gothic visual in fictional London.
The story had a slow start to introduce its plot and the characters but after “Chapter Three” its pace changes significantly. The game has lengthy dialogues (painfully to some) but it still manages to present the important elements and events perfectly for the players. The choice factor has a very heavy influence on its endings as there are four endings of the game, and your choice and how you react in certain key situations dictate the outcome of the story. While the main story revolves around the four main districts in the game, Jonathan also fights an inner battle of his own. A struggle to find himself in the most chaotic of fate possible, his duty as the doctor who saves life and his thirst of vampire who takes it.
What really makes Vampyr a different game is its combat design. Besides the stamina depended combat system, Vampyr takes some inspirations from The Witcher 3’s combat style as well with its “dodge and slash” approach. There are 11 active and 8 passive skills, including 3 different variants of ultimates. The exotic vampiric skills have branching upgrades too which gives more dynamic to a particular skill. The blood capacity is what allows players to use their skills and it can be replenished by blood-sucking, enhanced weapons and medics. Attacks have four different variations and enemies can be resistant to one or two of these variants. There is also a “Mesmerize” ability which allows Jonathan to suck the blood of an NPC to boost XP gain but also having a chance to impact storyline.
Vampyr also has some of the most beautiful music scores in video games. The music sets the tone of the gameplay perfectly where either Ried scours the city at night for his next objective or engages in a battle with the Priwen vampire hunters or the hungry skals and werewolf-like beasts. The nightlife of London perfectly synchronizes with the engaging and thematic cello scores also contributing to architect the city alongside all the characters inside it.
The game has a number of collectibles to take which leads to a worthwhile unlockable weapon at later phase. There are few weapons, melee or ranged guns, to choose from and as for crafting they can be leveled upto 4 level but you cannot craft your own weapon. The game also suffers from its frame rate drops combing with loading screens and occasional bugs. There are no game breaking issues yet the mentioned problems can hurt the overall gameplay.
Nonetheless, Vampyr is a wonderful amalgamation of both science and supernatural, and it is wonderful to see how DONTNOD tries to simulate the true spirit of a vampire from the fictions in the story. The setting gives just the right support to create a dark, gloomy world which can easily draw the players into it. On the contrary, the slow build-up of its storyline and the other minor problems also open up a wound which can plague the experience. So, what do we make of Vampyr? Is it another underrated game for not having a high-budget AAA tag or a promising flicker of light that fails to shine bright in the end? Play and find out.
By Fazle Rabbi Shovo
Vampyr Minimum System Requirements:
OS: Windows 7/8/10 (64 bits)
Processor: Intel Core i3-2130 @ 3.40 GHz or AMD FX-4100 @ 3.60 GHz forward
Memory: 8 GB of RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or an AMD Radeon R7 370 forward
Storage: 20 GB of available space
Vampyr Recommended System Requirements:
OS: Windows 7/8/10 (64 bits)
Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.20 GHz or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 @ 3.20 GHz
Memory: 16 GB of RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or an AMD Radeon R9 390