Challenging Combat System
Combat was thrilling but utterly infuriating. It’s far too easy for enemies and mortal enemies to level up while you, the Dracula incarnate are stuck trying to muster up XP without embracing anyone. I enjoyed the power-up options given because when managed correctly they’re a pretty good headache against enemies. Fighting the enemies takes some strategy and patience, which was an enjoyable challenge. One can really appreciate the moral conundrum the game puts you through in trying to figure out your ethical embracing selections.
The AI in combat acts relatively smart and it even engages in pack tactics with different roles. Although not groundbreaking they felt smart enough and challenging.
The combat can be fun but it too gets repetitive due to limited choice of weapons, as well as relatively little difference in damage: you could take on every boss in the game with just the spiked club, which you get early on in the game. The same goes for special abilities.
The RPG elements are quite good, letting you toy with different combat styles and weapons while also progressing through plenty of skills. As mentioned if you try to be as humane as possible, avoiding the temptation of XP boosts through cold murders, you will have to make very wise builds since the enemies will almost always out level you and be quite challenging since you can not pick or max every single skill available. Luckily the game offers a reset mechanic for your skill builds.
The Story and characters are quite intriguing and their desition to make it an autosave (no load) makes you think twice about the answers and choices you make and how they affect the story/world around you.
One especially effective mechanic is the player’s dilemma to whether he will try to preserve his humanity by not killing off innocent NPCs or indulge in the immense XP pool they give if you feed on them, even more so when they give greater XP the more you have talked with them and learned about their backgrounds. It’s an organic choice based on benefits vs morality and it encapsulates the moral struggle between vampire and human through the temptation it presents to the player.
No Fast Travel Makes It Hard
Although it’s true the navigation can be quite confusing at times, you have to understand that this game utilizes a relatively small map compared to a huge open world. Meaning the pathways to places are mazelike at first but you can unlock shortcuts as your progress. Having to jog around is another way to make the world feel bigger and at least the atmosphere and graphics of the places are well done.
A game like this desperately needed fast travel, what with all the locked gates at every turn forcing you to spend an eternity trying to backtrack and head down the only paths the developers want when there are several paths on the map. I spent well over an hour trying to get to one area to embrace a few people to get some XP to defeat a boss, as the game repeatedly suggests, only to be met by a plethora of locked gates that for some reason my shape-shifting, an eighteen-foot ledge-transporting vampire couldn’t get over.
Graphically the game does a good job at conveying the grime and filth of 1918 London, the streets rarely feel like anything more than a static background. The NPCs are few and far between, and most offer little in the way of interaction, the only motivation for talking to them often being to get more XP out of their blood. Even the game’s supposed selling point, taking responsibility for your actions, is felt very weakly: going through a sector in good health feels hardly different than going through one that is flagged as critical.
Is It Worth Playing?
Last but not least, once you’ve completed the main quest, that’s it, game over – you can forget about roaming the streets of London with your fully leveled vampire.
Overall, Vampyr feels scripted and far too shallow to truly feel consequence-driven. It paints a very atmospheric and gothic picture of 1918 England, that alone is enough to make it worth the purchase.