Average Playtime: 14 hours

Vampyr review
by Arturas

Well it took some time to complete and an ending was somewhat dissatisfying, but in general it's quite a rare gem, mostly overlooked, except by those who happened to browse the web around its release. Could have been a marvel with a greater budget, cause whenever it falls short, it could have been fixed with more time and money. Especially money.

Set in London during the interbellum period the game tells a story of a famous surgeon turned vampire against his will. The objective of the game is to find Your maker. While at it you'll get to solve the dreadful and mysterious epidemic that kills Londonians in droves. Since it is developed by Dotnod, one may assume that the game will also be kind of woke. Main storyline and sidequests include plenty of conversations in the matters of human right, women's rights, work ethics, and even the Wall to protect rich Londoners from encroaching lower class. While some of these dialogues are just the lines of dialogue, some may provide a chance for decision making. But, I'd dare to say it's a legit attempt — writing itself could have been better, but showing what was normal just a century ago really puts some things into perspective. One can witness where humanity advanced rapidly, and where it's still stuck in the 100-year-old past.

It could have been among the greatest games of the year with better graphics. I rarely say this about games, but in this particular case, I'd say that Vampyr with London from Order 1886 would have dominated attention. And while I mention graphics its really gameplay related. It's semi-classic RPG, semi action/adventure game, thus exploration and re-visitation are very important. While purely from an artistic standpoint London is pictured great and doesn't suffer from attention to detail, I faced tons of problems while trying to get acquainted with it. Even after dozen of hours I could barely memorize routes, shortcuts or alternate pathways. Every other street looks and feels like the one you just visited. Again, the amount of detail allows you to understand that it's a different street, but won't really help to understand which one. Funny enough — heavy use of map and marker points doesn't help with this either and... It crashed PS4 on several occasions :D. Minimap would have been helpful and I really loved the absence of Quick Travel even though the slow travel was annoying at times, but it really gave some additional time to think and/or familiarize myself with the city better.

Having in mind its concept and a secret desire to appeal to everyone, general mechanics of the game are quite simple. It has interesting origins for crafting system and crafting based quests. It's underused and oversimplified in this game but could be a great thing in Vampyr 2 if it happens. Weapon selection is somewhat disappointing too — very streamlined, very simple to understand, but also somewhat boring. Upgrading just a couple of weapons to a max level solves pretty much all the challenges within the game for an advanced player. For beginners (or those unfamiliar with Dark Souls inspired, slash and move combat mechanics) everything will still feel too tricky. Experienced players will be able to tackle and defeat any enemy within a range of 10+ levels, except rare boss or poison infused encounters. Thus I'd say combat/progression mechanics were created with the best intentions in mind, but won't really appeal to a broad audience. Luckily there are gameplay options to minimize combat, but then again, a story won't be yours anymore, cause player will be forced to kill citizens.

That's the part I loved most. Being a doctor, a detective and a vampire allow you to talk, investigate and cure London citizens. Any of them can be leeched dry in exchange for abundant XP awards. Of course, you get the biggest awards for drinking a healthy person that you know well, so it's really proper Vampyric approach :D. The number of citizens is severely limited, of course, also their deaths may open or close paths to subsequent investigations, hints, side quests and items. So, mastering combat is actually something everyone should pursue in this game if they want more creative liberties towards the ending :D.

Game is quite exceptional in the sounds department since the OST is composed very well. It's somehow very relevant, on point and recognizable, but also quite unique. Sound effects, however, especially for monsters and combat could have been better, are a bit too loud and way too annoying. 

I recommend this game with a side dish of Peaky Blinders on Netflix :D. Both works are set in a similar era, sports similar haircuts, tackles similar issues and have a similar undertone of a proper detective story.  While there's not much Vampyr can give to make Peaky Blinders better, watching these series will definitely inspire players imagination and this, in turn, will improve the general perception of graphics and dialogues within the game.