Killers in games are often portrayed as mysterious characters with a twist and turn in their back story, making them who they are today. Vampyr takes its own direction with its main protagonist Dr Jonathan Reid, as it gives you the choice to go full on killer or save those in need as a doctor by profession with a thirst for fresh blood.
The gothic vampire focussed game is set in London during 1918, a city which is full of life, gloom and blood. After awakening as a newly turned Vampyr, you must find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens. Bitey citizen warning applies.
As an RPG, Vampyr offers XP for killing enemies and larger chunks of experience for devouring citizens in the multiple settlements you discover and predominantly have to manage with your medical experience gained during the war. However, there is a penalty to pay as feasting upon particular citizens may impact on later events despite granting special items.
As you find yourself within your newly acquired Vampyr abilities, sleeping allows you to evolve these abilities to become the ultimate killer, whether that’s against Vampyr hunters, undead Skals or other supernatural creatures you may face.
As you become stronger, you’ll acquire new powers including an Ultimate, which is a spectacle to behold on screen and a nice, quick easy way to deal with enemies in one move.
In terms of combat, it offers a selection of collectible weapons you can upgrade and the combat uses a dodge and hit mechanic. Some of the combat on screen does appear a little clunky at times and targeting can be a real pain when there are several enemies to apprehend at the same time. Other than that, blending a hack and slash combat system with your Vampyr abilities is what saves it from a total mess.
Despite the odd occasional drop in frame that you may notice, the gameplay experience remains very enjoyable and encourages exploration in the vast open world of the gloomy London city. Finding doors to open into buildings will often present a new investigation such as saving a new citizen from a building infested with deadly Skals. Equally you have a special warp jump ability which is indicated with a symbol on out of reach platforms with a press A underneath. Pressing this will teleport you to ledge which can often present a safehouse or shortcut to an area.
Managing settlements such as Whitechapel winds up into a people management simulation, as citizens will get fatigue, colds or even worse, meningitis. To cater for this and serve your profession as a doctor, there is a crafting system in the game – where you can craft medicine to combat these and help sick cititzens. You can also craft upgrades to weapon rarities as there are weapons to collect in-game and upgrade to max using materials you collect in the world.
In fact, the world itself and general effect it leaves with you is incredibly dark and chilling. Hearing growls from undead Skals has the hairs on the back of your neck standing and when you embrace “kill” a citizen you generally feel like a badass killer with the chilling thriller-themed music playing throughout the event.
Vampyr is a dark and appealing RPG with a strong storyline full of mystery and exploring London such dark times was a delightful scare visually and through the game’s sound effects. As you learn new abilities you will become the ultimate killer and master the game’s simple combat system in no time.