While mostly I focus these writing days on fiction, for the most part, I wanted to write a review for Vampyr, a game which I literally just finished.
If you want to know more about the premise of the game I won’t go into it much here. Instead, I want to share some thoughts on gameplay, story (spoiler free), and my overall feelings and impressions.
This game is one which was interesting to me, as I’ve gravitated to smaller story-based games of late and have some fond memories of Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, which this game ended up reminding me of.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that much of Vampire was the closest thing I had played to that earlier video game. Bloodlines was a little-known Vampire game, inspired by the tabletop World of Darkness Vampire. It also had, despite its bugs and glitches, one of the most compelling storylines I’ve played through, with so many branching choices, exciting characters, and diverse sidequests.
Vampyr didn’t quite reach those heights. However, it did have more refined gameplay and a compelling and exciting story. It also had many interesting and diverse characters in its world which helped add to the overall appeal. Almost every NPC in its world you can talk and interact with, other than the hostile enemies that are of course.
Something else that was unfortunate that reminded me of Bloodlines, however, was the bugs. I had this crash more than any other PS4 game I’ve ever played. Little bugs poped up here and there as well. I’m sure it’ll be more stable as time goes on, but for now, it was a bit frustrating out unstable it currently is.
The graphics themselves felt somewhat last gen as well, but nothing too bad or game breaking. Some of the character models and the lighting helped preserve higher graphical illusion as well. Overall though it wasn’t half bad.
The gameplay itself was good, the idea that if you feed on people, you can gain much more XP than by other means is a good one. However, I didn’t find it too hard to go through the game without sacrificing anyone. I do sometimes wish that games wouldn’t always stick you into such black and white. The funny thing is I know that the idea of the game is to make it so that you should take NPC’s lives to make things easier for yourself. However, I knew that it would likely lead to a “bad” ending, so I didn’t. It had me thinking that I wish this kind of games wouldn’t lock you into bad or good endings based on things such as this, but instead could give you more leeway to play the game.
This is a simular frustration with the Dishonored series. There are great mechanics you can use for killing, but to get any of the “good” or even “canon” endings you can’t use them. I would like something more often like the Witcher that would let you use everything that’s in the game and not always be tied to these limited mechanics.
I think it could be done, better, however, that’s not to say it overall wasn’t well done. The gameplay, for the most part, was ok, though due to my lack of abilities it got a bit stale after a while with the same tactics repeated each time. Sometimes I’d just randomly be killed in one hit, while others I’d be able to mow through enemies effectively. It was an inconsistent feeling.
Also, a big gripe that actually made me replay the first 3 acts of the game three times was how the game did not make clear it’s moral choices or give you any warning into their outcomes. Likewise, it locked me out of making the “good” choice, just because I had moved forward in the quest before I got one of the “hints” required. Due to the game’s autosave feature, this made it, so I had no choice or get a horrible outcome, ruin my good playthrough, or replay 3-6 hours of gameplay until that point… yay. Life is Strange, the Witcher or any other game like this never put me into this situation. This was very frustrating and almost made me put the game down but…
… the game is compelling. What can I say? Even with these gripes, I was still interested to know what was going to happen and keep moving forward, even if I had to rush through the first few acts multiple times. That says a lot actually.
Could it be better? Yes. Is it still a good game? Yes. In the end I hope they make another one, maybe in modern day, to continue the story. I can only hope they refine the systems they already put in place.