Vampyr, the game with better story telling narrative but worse combat mechanics

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Vampyr is a gloomy and bloodthirsty video game developed by the Dontnod Entertainment, the developers behind the colorful and narrative focused game Life is Strange, even though the game is much different in the genre the storytelling capabilities of the developers is evident throughout the story.

The Action RPG (Role playing game) is based on the Unreal Engine developed by Epic games, the developers had to change some of the mechanics and physics engine in order to fit in the necessary requirements to make the gloomy and sadistic view of the Royal London that is still in sufferings due to the terrible aftermath of the World War I.

The graphical outlook of the game defies the “paint like” colorful outlook of Life is Strange and fills the environment with dark, gloomy colors that have a passive tone to it and magnifies the game in all its juxtaposed bloodthirsty and scientific story.

Story synopsis

                The game takes place in England after the World War 1, and you take the role of Dr. Jonathan Reid who is a renowned physician just back from the frontiers of the war. The game starts with the scene when he is getting off the boat and is welcomed by the cold teeth of a vampire who lefts him in a graveyard to suffer the rest of his life.

After waking up, Dr. Raid who is blind due to a massive blood thrust building in his body attacks the first person he sees and quenches his thirst for blood. As soon as his scientific mind gets the glimpse of the things around a pack of Vampire hunters come out of the dark and start chasing him. Thus, starts the never-ending struggle of becoming a human in a body of a beast that causes the player to choose from ending the lives of people and quenching the never-ending thirst or helping them and thus unfolding the story of people living in the area with a price of not getting enough abilities.

With the help of a stranger our protagonist gets out of the trouble of the hunters and starts a night job at a local hospital, and that’s where you get to know the Lady Ashbury another Vampire who is trying to hide from the community. Once Raid gets the hang of things he started doing his philanthropic work to help the citizens who are suffering from the epidemic and at the same time trying to find the cure of getting away of the vampirism.

The thing that I liked while playing the game is that the people are not only there to provide the information of the tasks but also everyone that you find interesting packs a story that will uncover the secrets that may help you in your ultimate quest of finding the cure to end his sufferings. Much of the side quest gameplay focuses on the conversations with the patients, hospital employees and the citizens that can be found around the streets. The tasks that are usually assigned requires a complex understanding of the puzzle system that allows you to make certain items for the patients in your laboratory.

Gameplay

The action RPG game is mostly leaned towards the RPG aspect in the spectrum, most of the time during my time in the game I was talking with the people and sometimes I had to make the tougher choices of killing them. The carefully planned environment becomes more intense as the story progresses, and there is a slight intensification in the environment as you make your way through the quests that shows the increase in epidemics and more monsters are lurking around the area than they were in the past, people need help more often, and the tasks become more difficult.

Image: IGN
Image: IGN

In terms of the specific gameplay it is impossible for you to survive on your own without blood, but as the story progresses, the thirst becomes subtle and easy to minimize. Every time you decide to help a citizen or do something to cure the epidemic, it adds to the overall health of London that is divided into four main districts helping people of one district will increase its health and thus overall region will be affected.

You can see the stats of the people you have interacted in the menu and see how nourished they are now and how healthy their blood is, and the decision can be made between getting the benefits of the nourished blood by killing that person and his story. The consequences of killing a person are not severed always during my time there was a killer who I helped first and then came to know about the murders he did in the past so getting his blood seemed right at the time.

Another aspect of the gameplay is the irrevocable nature of the game that will make sure that the experience will be original for everyone which is approached by not allowing the players to load a previous save file that may make some of your wrong choices right. I liked this as I am the person who if there is something wrong gets back to the older save file and tries to make the right choice, cons of being a completionist. I can certainly say that I didn’t complete the game, but the experience was worthwhile due to this mechanic of the game.

Combat

                Coming to the least effective part of the game the hack and slash combat mechanism. You have to fight some enemies throughout the game which includes humans, infected animals, Vampire Ware wolfs and the Vampire elites that are your real nemesis, and these are called Skals. I liked the fact that enemies can pop out from the dark environments and it did not felt scripted, but the combat mechanics is very simple.

You need to dodge the opponent’s move that will cost some of your stamina and then parry attacks in quick succession, the time that game allow to attack is compact, so you should watch for the stamina bar as it will render you defenseless at times. There are some attacks that cost the blood you get from the environment, the amount of blood is very low, so you have to bite the opponent whenever it is stunned or whenever you managed to attack quite a few times.

The amount of blood that you get from the bite is, however, lower than what you have to spend every time you use your blood attacks. The combat mechanics of the game solidifies our assertion that the game is more inclined towards being an RPG rather than an action RPG.

Image: IGN
Image: IGN

Conclusion

The story aspect of the game is magnificent, and the fact that you cannot revert to your saved files makes the experience worthwhile. However, there are some glitches that become frequent as you progress through the game, the bugs are minor, but it cannot go unnoticed them.

The combat feels like an RPG game itself that is not necessarily bad, but the satisfaction that one requires by playing the games lacks in this rather simple combat mechanics the crafting system that is the base of every RPG title is also not very thoughtful. The area where the game shines is its storytelling narrative and the consequences that you will face after every choice. I would recommend if RPG is the genre that you like than do spend some time with this game. You can buy this game from Amazon here.

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