Good vampire games have been hard to find lately, let alone any vampire game. But unfortunately, DONTNOD's latest vampire action RPG Vampyr is a game that suffers quite a bit with it's rough presentation, and questionable design decisions that basically push you out of a mode of play. This is a vampire that literally sucks.
Vampyr find its protagonist being the latest victim of a vampire that's been causing many deaths in the area. Wanting to find the one who left him to become a vampire himself, the protagonist embarks on a quest to find him and get answers and pass judgment on him. This is all the while finding a way to survive as a vampire while dealing with the fact that at some point they will likely have to break their Hippocratic Oath to feed.
The game is an action RPG that plays in the third-person perspective, and takes place in a post-industrial revolution London. As you gain experience, you'll be able to put points into new skills or stat upgrades. Perhaps following Dark Souls' lead, you also have a stamina meter, which effects how often you can attack. This is the most important stat to upgrade since you'll be attacking with melee attacks often.
This leads me into the largest failing of Vampyr. While the game provides stealth options, you are punished for foregoing combat, as it's pretty much the only way to get stronger. This is in addition to being unable to do stealth kills, since you need to upgrade the bite strength high enough to do something close to a one hit kill. And it's not like the game's combat is all that fun. Controls are a bit wonky, and guns don't really do all that much damage until they to get upgraded a bit. There are vampiric abilities that you can use, but they are just as awkward to use as the melee combat is.
Visually, the game looks extremely dated, and something that looks more at home on an original Xbox, or at least the 360 or early PS3 era. The result is something less than representative of a game that belongs on the Xbox One. One has to wonder why DONTNOD didn't keep this game in the oven for a bit longer. It also has technical issues that plague it as well, but some of those issues will get fixed eventually. But even if they do get fixed, you are still left with a game that isn't all that fun to play or look at.
At least the planned Story Mode difficulty patch will make the game less of a hassle to fight enemies in, because the one thing good about the game is the story. Maybe next time, DONTNOD will take greater care in their next project. Until then, Vampyr is lacking quite a bit, and if you are still interested, get it on a heavy discount.
The Good: The story is interesting with the dilemma the protagonist has being both a vampire and a doctor.
The Bad: Stealth gameplay is pointless since the game isn't really tailored that way despite the option being available.
The Ugly: Its visuals look really bad for a game released this year.
SUMMARY: While the story and premise of Vampyr have promise, that promise is squandered by the lame combat and other technical issues that the game has.
Promotional consideration provided by Evolve PR. Reviewed on the Xbox One.
Eric is a freelance writer and has a podcast called RPGrinders, and you can support their Patreon page here.