Dark, English towns where mists billow cobblestone streets, amongst the ladies and gentlemen fearing a plague…so how about we add vampires into the mix? Vampires rival zombies as the most popular of horror fiends in American culture, and while there have been plenty of games involving the children of the night, I can’t say I’ve played many of them. So what did this offering from the current console gen bring?
The year is 1918 and we play as Dr. Jonathan Reid, a surgeon and physician freshly returned from the trenches of WWI to his sister Mary. After a run in with a stranger, Jonathan is bitten and in the midst of an unholy suffering, he’s thirsty. In almost a trance, he kills Mary, draining her of blood. Besides the unquenchable blood thirst, Jonathan finds himself with super strength, speed, stamina, reflex a s well as a host of deadly powers making him a apex predator in civilized society. Rescued by a Dr. Edgar Swansea and given a job at the rundown at Pembroke hospital, funded by fellow vampire, Lady Ashbury, it’s up to Reid to shape the fate of the city and face the horror of what he has became as well as find his maker.
There’s nothing that burns worse than art in any medium that’s not lived up to it’s fullest potential. Vampyr is a prime example. First, the story and characters kept me going through the game. Reid is a sympathetic character I enjoyed playing as that never felt too sappy. The other characters I also really enjoyed, on top of the scenery and score that channel the classic, gothic vampire movies I grew up with. There’s the highlight. In theory, the list of powers you get are impressive but the inventory loadout doesn’t allow you to experiment with much at a time. While I loved plunging London into absolute chaos, that’s honestly you’re only real option. The game deals heavy with the karma system and if the base mechanics made sense, it’d be quite effective. Combat, which stales quickly, offers dismal XP and completing missions offers little more; most of your XP comes from mesmerizing and feeding off of other characters. You’re mesmerize level only advances as you progress the game but there are prompts to snuff characters you simply can’t yet. Without slaying every character you can, leveling up is a absolute crawl and the game becomes insanely hard. I hate the inventory system which feels really small and doesn’t get much room to expand. The character UI and AI are stupid as hell and randomly the game breaks into sometimes lengthy loading scenes. The game becomes repetitive after the first big boss was introduced. In the end, the game is a irritating slog but the good story and characters may keep you around. May the gaming gods bring you glory.