Vampyr: Reasons to Get Excited

Mar 5, 18  | posted by GameRaiding (1268)

Vampyr looks so great there’s nothing to not get excited about

For those interested in vampires, magical powers, or broodingly walking down the rainy streets of Victorian London, Vampyr may be the answer to all your prayers.  First announced as a concept at E3 2015, it had a full trailer and gameplay at E3 2016 with more information and footage coming periodically over the last year.  It was said that the game was to be released in the fourth quarter of 2017 only to get delayed to the spring of 2018 late last year.  Finally a release date of June 5, 2018 has been confirmed by the developers.  Considering this game was announced well over two years ago, one would think that more people would be talking about it.  However, just because this game seems to have remained off the radar does not mean that there is nothing to get excited about. 

You play as Dr. Jonathan Reid who is a surgeon during the Great War in 1918.  The story begins with the end of the war and the doctor being able to return home to London.  However he is attacked and wakes up a vampire in need of human blood to survive.  Being a doctor and swearing an oath to protect people while now needing to kill them will of course wreak havoc within.  To make matters worse, the Spanish Flu is sweeping through London killing citizens in epic proportions.  So while dealing with being a vampire and trying to understand what that means, Dr. Reid is also working on curing those infected with the flu. Being a man of science, part of the story could also involve trying to cure your own affliction.

If that wasn’t enough to sink your teeth into, keep in mind that the developer of this game is DONTNOD Entertainment, the same people behind Life is Strange.  If your first thought was huge moral choices that effect the rest of the game, you would be absolutely right.  There are dialogue options which will affect the relationships with other characters, but what is more interesting are the other choices you are forced to make.  In order to level up and become more powerful, you need XP.  You can get a little from killing enemies, but most of it comes from drinking the blood of unwitting NPCs.  What is particularly fascinating about this is that every NPC has their own backstory so killing one person can change the lives of several other people, or even entire areas.  Now if you wanted to just grit your fangs and exsanguinate every person you come in contact with, you are free to do so. On the other hand, if you wanted to kill no one, it would be possible but it would make combat and leveling up significantly more difficult.  Even if you don’t mind slaughtering the innocents, you may still have some trouble getting enough XP to afford that power you’ve had your eye on.  The Spanish Flu actually affects the quality of the blood in each individual meaning that some people are worth more to you than others.  That means of course that being pure evil and killing a healthy old lady will reap more rewards than mercy killing those who are probably dying anyway.  But beware, all of these actions/inactions will have consequences. 

Not to forget about the combat, there will be several types of enemies that you will come across on your journey.  Some will be human vampire hunters, others will be supernatural creatures.  You will have a variety of ranged and melee weapons in your arsenal but that is not what being a vampire is all about.  It’s all about the cool powers, of which there are many.  You will need blood in order to use them, much like mana, but it seems that you can suck the blood of enemies during combat for a quick pick-me-up.  You decide what powers you want as you progress, so you can have a devastating power that rips people apart or one that turns you invisible to avoid combat altogether, though this is by no means a stealth game.  During combat there are three bars that you will have to keep an eye on.  The blood bar tells you what magical powers you will be able use, the health bar is obvious, and there is a stamina bar which will affect when you can use your melee attacks and dodge.  It may sound a little simple but it certainly has the potential to be quite technical.


The environment is something else to behold.  Its has a classic, gothic horror feel.  Everything is dark, most of the buildings look a bit dilapidated and it seems to be constantly raining.  Even though this game takes place over 30 years later, it feels as if you’re skulking around the same streets as Jack the Ripper.  Your superhuman powers will not just be used in combat either.  They can also be used to traverse the world.  There is a power similar to Blink in Dishonored so you can cross long gaps or go up to higher areas.  You can also break down boarded up doors and presumably other things as well, to reveal new areas.  These areas may contains secrets or collectables, or they might be a convenient way to avoid combat.  The developers describe it as being a semi-open world.  What this means in this case is essentially an open world that is smaller than what is usually offered.  That is not a bad thing, especially in a case like this.  Open world games are full of distractions, where Vampyr does not appear to be the same.  There will be side quests given to you throughout the game, but the other distractions will probably not be as prevalent.  Plus a game that gives so much detail to its characters will defiantly benefit from a smaller setting. 

Few characters have been shown so far and most of the ones that we have met, we still know little about.  But what little we do know is that they are incredibly diverse and killing any them would be morally conflicting.  We know our main character, Dr. Reid, best of course, but even then we just know that he starts off as a moral man who hates what he has become.  He will be shaped by our individual choices.  Lady Ashbury is a vampire just like Jonathan but much older.  So far she seems like a confidant and someone who is willing to help with the transition.  In the demo at the last E3, we were to hunt down a character named Sean who is what is called a Skal.  They are a form of vampire that have been mutated by the Spanish Flu.  When Sean is seen, he is eating raw, presumably human, flesh.  They might be a bit of a mixture between vampire and zombie.  Part of your quest is finding out exactly what they are.  A few other NPCs are shown but there are definitely going to be countless more when we actually delve into the world.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of vampire tropes that were looked at, but not all are actually in the game.  There is no day or night cycle, everything is at night.  So these vampires are nocturnal, and they also need permission to enter a private residence.  Abandoned buildings and public places are fine but if a character lives there, it is off limits until you are invited inside. Vampires in this world can see their reflection in a mirror and there there are no abilities that allow you to change into a bat.  You also do not sleep in a coffin.  There are places throughout the world where you can rest, and in fact, will have to after you choose to take a life.  That is when you are shown the consequences of what you have done.  However that realization will not come to you in the satin lining of a coffin. 

Though this game is unknown to many, those that have seen and heard of it are excited and it’s not hard to see why.  The setting of Victorian London is not new in video games, but when adding a plague in the form of Spanish Flu, it changes the typical London and will hopefully put a spin on it that has not been seen before.  The choices seem harrowing already since there are no black or white, right or wrong choices.  There are only shades of grey.  At least those of us who have been anxiously anticipating this game have an actual date to cling to.

Vampyr releases June 5 on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

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