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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.
«Underrated»

Other reviews7

This game has a lot of pros, but also a lot of cons.

Pros:
- The overall story is great
- Many (though not all) of the citizens are interesting
-The vampire abilities are pretty great and cool to watch -Multiple endings

Cons: -The side quest (so called "investigations") are simple fetch quest
-The map design is bad
-There is no fast travel, some maybe find this a good thing, but it can take a long time to reach each objective with such a bad and confusing map
-There are so many enemies that respawn constantly if you simply leave the area. Facing dozens of mindless NPCs just so you reach an objective can be very tedious
-The game is poorly optimized. There are fixes for certain issues online however.
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Before my Pro/Kontra list: After the 41 Hours I put into my first run, I have to say that every single Minute I enjoyed a lot, without Exception, except for maybe a certain Boss fight, which of course I don't want to spoil At this Point. The fact that this Fight has so me, however, was rather due to the fact that my Learning Curve was more of a Straight line and that the Struggle itself is not easy. Pro:-very well written and beautifully told Story-all non-hostile NPCs are Individuals with their own often sad or evil, but almost always interesting Stories that you have to tap into through numerous Interactions-> also through small Side Missions- Very fluid and refreshing Combat System that is a Bit of Dark Souls (I played the Game with a Controller)-well thought-out upgrade system for Weapons-interesting and entertaining Abilities-pleasant opponent variety-dynamic Health Care system in the four Districts of the Game world: Citizens heal to keep the State of the District in the green Area-> Diseases and Deaths lead to the Deterioration of The condition and, if necessary, even to the "Loss" of the District-Freedom of choice as to whether to consider its Nature as a Vampire or gives up Blood (Renunciation makes the Game more DIFFICULT, since by Sucking out citizens you get a lot Of EP)-> high Replay value to try other methods-certain Decisions in The course of the Story can be great Impact on the World to Have-> also speaks for the Replay value-Open World with well-set shortcuts instead of a Fast Travel System-interesting Stories around the World, their Factions and their Stories-very beautiful Atmospheric and contemporary Soundtrack-generally good sound-very chic and own Optics that do not rely on Realism in order to achieve the Contra:-very much Dialogue, can become tiresome if you do everything at once and don't do other Things in between- "Hints" to the Characters "stories are often very easy to miss, which can become quite frustrating, for example, because even as less Hints to Know the Number of EP Decrees when sucked out-although there are several Endings, but unfortunately these do not differ great-l Set Act tells a lot through nothing more than Running around and Reading (the Narrative is still interesting and at The end there is also a lot of Dialogue again)-the Animations of the Characters are sometimes a bit awkward in Dialogues, but this is actually imme r amusing rather than Disruptive I give a definitive Purchase recommendation for Vampyr for anyone looking for a strongly story-heavy, gloomy RPG with an equally very good combat System. Convince yourself of the Controls that are far from Bad even with Keyboard instead of Controller, and don't be swayed by all the negative Reviews. It's not easy, but just like Dark Souls, you get rewarded for Ambition! For all that this Game offers is also its Price of €5050 more than okay considering what other Games offer for more Money and call it justified. So: Please support the Developer DONTNOD and enjoy a really lovingly created and great Game!
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Haiku Review: Not enough shades of / grey. It is all black or white / I wanted more depth
Favorite Thing: The story is pretty interesting.
Least Favorite Thing: The combats bad, yeah yeah, you've heard that before so let me find something else. Why does embracing someone always have to be bad for a district? There were more than a few people whose removal should have improved a district.

Date Completed: 2019-01-07
Playtime: 21h
Enjoyment: 7/10
Recommendation: If you can look past the combat you'll probably enjoy it.




The game Vampyr, is a mysterious tale of secret societies, disease ridden streets, class struggle and supernatural forces pulling strings from the shadows. It builds a wonderful atmosphere through music, lighting, good writing and line delivery. Everything comes together in a messy but well-meaned way.

Vampyr tries to do a few ambitious things. It’s trying to be an action RPG where you can make crucial decision to affect the world around you. Games have been trying to do this “make a decision and suffer consequences” thing for a very long time now and I am yet to see one pull it off perfectly.

The problem with Vampyr’s way of doing it is rooted in a basic binary system disguised as a multi-leveled health status for each district. As far as I can tell, nothing happens to the district until it becomes “Hostile”. So a district is either hostile or not hostile. But we have all these phases like sanitized, healthy, stable, critical etc.

The binary district health system goes hand in hand with the investigations you conduct of the occupants of the districts. Learning more about an occupant is only good for increasing the blood quality which gives you more XP if you choose to suck their blood. Certain people are more valuable to the district so their death will have a bigger impact. But nevertheless, it’s just a simple alive/dead system. Conveniently, anyone connected to the person you suck the blood of either doesn’t react to their death or goes inexplicably “Missing”, never to be heard from ever again.

The game doesn’t suffer because of the relative simplicity of these systems, it suffers because it creates a short lived illusion of complexity. It just ends up disappointing you.

The game is basically two things: Talking and fighting.

Talking to people is a very big thing you do in the game. Most of your time is spent talking to people yet the people you talk to are so bland. Dialogue wheel system makes you feel like a poller in the street than having actual conversation with people. The boring camera angle doesn’t help either when you have to sit and watch some poorly animated face talk about boring stuff you hardly care.

The moral question of the game is do you suck the people of the district for their XP or suffer being weak for the safety of others.

The problem here of course is you need to care about these people. You need to care about the district. Also you need to be wanting to get stronger as a vampire. I wanted to get stronger and I had a hard time believing most of the character’s well beings were an actual concern I needed to care about. I think this is due to mostly how samey everything feels. Every time you go somewhere, the person you are looking for is doing the exact same pattern of walk or standing behind a bar. This even extends to the fights in-between districts. The same enemy types spawn in the same places over and over again. This situation hardly creates a world that feels alive. It just reminds you you’re playing a videogame. I can see both caring about the people and wanting to get strong necessary for the enjoyment of the game as designed by the developers fail for certain players.

The way I played it was, I killed everyone except for most of the pillars and doctors/nurses in the Pembroke Hospital. The ending of the game was actually somewhat satisfying and poetic, like the rest of the story bits but the moral dilemma the game wanted me to experience was never fully realised.

A fix for the boring characters issue would be to make the sidequests more accessible and interesting. Most of the game you sit down in front of the screen and read. You read/listen the dialogue and read notes and lore. Especially to find out more about these characters. Some of them require you to go to a place and fight some enemies, some of them require you to tediously find a single piece of evidence randomly hidden somewhere in the game world. They just put a wall you need to grind through to figure out the stories of the characters. I understand it shouldn’t be as easy as 1–2–3 but the way they handled it is not fun.

A lot of these side stories feel neglected and half realised, too. After working hard to find a little piece of paper in a bin somewhere, you want a nice, satisfying side story. But it’s usually not.

Yet there is so much dialogue. An unnecessary amount of dialogue. You can’t just read it from the subtitles either because as soon as you skip, it doesn’t skip the dialogue on screen, it skips to the next person’s line. So you miss a bunch of information.

Talking about the dialogue, when it’s not exhausting, it’s confusing. Especially the choices they give you. Sometimes you choose between 3 choices and it can result in a fail, blocking the path to uncover the boring story of a particular character you’re only grinding through to get more XP when you kill them. These segments often feel unfair because the choice you made and what your guy says couldn’t be further from each other and the 3 choices are often too similar to each other. In some cases, none of the choices make any sense.

Separating the dialogue to “Personal questions” and “Your life in London” is quite unnecessary too and it contributes to the feeling of polling a person. Rather than a natural conversation.

The main characters of the game, I found, are quite good. Jonathan Reid, the vampire doctor you play as is realised quite beautifully. The way he delivers the lines adds so much to the atmosphere the game creates so effortlessly.

A rare occurrence for me was to actually care about the love interest this game provided: Lady Ashbury. An exquisite performance, truly.

Finally, the thorned creature, from a design, writing and performance point of view was an always alluring, menacing presence. Very impressive.

From there on, it’s gets less interesting. Although a particular character, the Sad Saint of the Docks area showed potential. Although his story didn’t go anywhere in my own playthrough. Although it might be the weak writing, because sometimes I noticed the game feels a particular side story is complete but I am left with a feeling of unsatisfaction.

The game is certainly not short of characters, unfortunately it’s quantity over quality with this one.

I am not the sort of player who is too interested in gameplay mechanics because what keeps me playing is the story and the characters. Even though gameplay probably the whole point of playing a game, with Vampyr, I felt it was adequate enough to keep me going. I always had fun throughout whenever a fight happened. Even though most people say it’s not great, for a play like me it was fun and engaging. It does stop being a challenge fairly early on if you decide to suck everyone’s blood like I did.

The main story is somewhat a cliche but being a part of this world is so addictive, I found myself drawn to playing it quite a lot often than most of the other games I played.

The music feels raw, right from the heart, honest. Just like most of the game does. With it’s little flaws here and there, it becomes charming.

I would love to see an improved sequel with completely different characters. Vampyr, is an impressive little gem.
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«Can’t stop playing»
«Underrated»
Disappointed not only with the gameplay aspect but with the ingame world too. For a story-driven game it’s very awkward and misconnected. You don’t actually need to talk to somebody much to complete quests, there are tons of unnecessary dialogues that make no sense. Add here clumsy controls that are OK only with a joystick, poor combat system and questionable development system, and you’ll get something you can buy on sale - but never for a full price.  
«Buggy as hell»
«Disappointment of the year»
Give this game a blast! It’s worth to play if you like story-driven RPGs. The atmosphere of Victorian England is great, elery location is made with huge attention to the details, so many side quests and interesting NPCs. I enjoy every second of this game. It’s both scary and immersive, and Vampyr is satisfying - even with a little edged combat system. Remember Bloodlines - it was also criticized for the gameplay but no one says now it’s a bad game! So better ignore mixed reviews and go for this brilliant vampire title.