VAMPYR Review: A Game Full Of Punishing Yet Fair Consequences

Many games have come and gone that had a choice based system that controlled the stories outcome, but the developers at DONTNOD have created a game that brings this genre to a new level. The consequential choices in Vampyr are all tough positions that alter not only the story, but how difficult the overall game will be to complete.

Story

Taking place in 1918 London, vampire and doctor Jonathan Reid is faced with finding the source and cure for the Spanish Influenza that plagues the citizens. However, the truth continues to reveal that there is more going on than simply a Spanish Flu. With the creation of a cure just out of reach and having to face a struggle within against the thirst for blood, Dr. Reid must do everything he can to save the citizens of London!

The story itself is a gripping tale that is sure to hold the interest of players as they personally make the decisions that will save or kill the citizens. There are a couple sections that seemed like they were trying a little hard to grip at my emotions, but they aren't unnecessary story moments either.

Gameplay

When you start out the game you will be faced with a short amount of action before it slows to being the detective style game that the majority of it is. Given that you don't make so many bad decisions that multiple parts of the town becomes hostile.

Each district starts off in an above average or positive position. This meter is based on how many key citizens are sick, which can be healed by medicines you learn to make as you progress, and that includes how many our dead. Whether by your poor choices or your need to feed, too many dead citizens in one district and you will find it more dangerous to simply travel through the streets.

When you aren't collecting information from people or completing side quests of note and item collection, you will be finding your way through the puzzling streets. These streets can hold home to enemies, whether it be vampire hunters, skals, or enemy vampires, as well as source items. You can search through various trash cans, boxes, and multiple other locations to find medicine items, tools, and occasionally money. These same items, and often better ones, can also be found inside any building by searching drawers, cabinets, and anything else the game let's you.

The combat in the game is a main aspect, even if it doesn't seem like it at first. Your level is determined by how much experience you have used in the skill tree through evolution. Experience is gained by completing quests, defeating big enemies (mini boss and boss), and draining a poor victim of their blood. Regular enemies don't provide much experience at all, so needless combat won't be well rewarded. Taking victims within your current mesmerization level (which increases only when you progress further in the story) will be the best way to get experience, it just has the highest cost as well. You get the most out of your victim by curing any medical issues that are inflicting them and unlocking as many hints about them as possible through discussion with them and anyone they are associated with. The hint unlock rule also applies to having more options when making story altering decisions, providing a second or third option on a difficult moment.

As mentioned before, there is a skill tree for you to use your gained experience on. The more experience used, regardless on what, the higher your level. The points can be reset at any time as well if you ever wish to completely rearrange what abilities or benefits you currently have set up so far. This proves to be helpful for anytime you are having trouble with the set up you have given yourself without knowing what lies ahead.

As for the combat, their system allows freedom of movement for multiple different attack styles. There are a large variety of styles based on which weapon you equipped, the stun weapon of choice, and the skills learned from the skill tree. It is well set up for any player to set themselves up with their own unique move set that fits them best.

Graphics and Sounds

Everything has a semi-realistic polish to it. While there is a level of obvious that this is a game, the majority of your surroundings and characters have a very aesthetically appealing art style. The characters and parts of the environment are a bit unnecessarily shiny, but nothing distracting or disruptive.

The sound effects matched well and the combat scenes weren't full of yelling from each attack. They did well balancing the amount of noise and volume with each clash. The music choice is well during also with a consistent somber atmosphere style that fit well with the dark, plague filled era.

Replayability

With the different choices players can make and their consequential impact on the world around them, along with fail able side quests and plenty of people to feed off of, there is tons of replayability here. Whether you want to try a pacifist or killer run, make better choices all around, or simply see what the different choices do when chosen, there is a lot of reasons to return to the streets of 1918 London once more.

What Could Be Better

The lock on system when in combat was difficult to change between different enemies. This may have been user error, but it seems like it could of been done more smoothly.

I also thought the way the player and victim walk when currently mesmerized was completely unrealistic and needs an update. Whether they have the two characters do a snake-like motion so that they aren't slowly turning like they together make one character in an obvious and unrealistic way, something needs to improve with those moments.

Final Verdict

Vampyr is a very well made game that is challenging, a lot of fun, and punishing. The moral decision aspect was done so well that even when I thought I was being a good guy with my choices I still got people killed. Even the detective side of the game was interesting as every character has their own story behind them. Easily held my interest from start to end.

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