Wot I Think: Vampyr

vampyr-review

“Forget everything you think you know about vampires,” the noblewoman in period dress tells me, in her straight-out-of-Hammer cut-glass accent. This was during our latest night-time meeting (for we cannot walk in sunlight), shortly after I’d caught her secretly sinking her teeth into the necks of the dispossessed, and shortly before I’d been beset by agony upon trying to enter a church. I don’t know what foolish notions her ladyship thought I had about my new status as a fellow vamp – maybe that they all have Welsh accents, or drink blood via their toenails – but ambitious, atmospheric fangs ‘n’ conversation game Vampyr doesn’t often veer far from the current neck-biter hymn sheet.

It sure does veer in almost every other respect, mind you. I’m not sure that 2018 will yield many games quite as expansive as Vampyr, but what I wouldn’t give for a director’s cut that oiled its creakiest coffin hinges.

Vampyr comes from the folks behind delightful narrative adventure Life Is Strange. That game’s big decision-making and casual sleuthing pumps clearly through Vampyr’s veins, though its hefty combat element shares a bloodline with LIS predecessor Remember Me. The other major DNA strand, as quite a few of us have prayed for, is revered 2004 undead-noir RPG Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Vampyr similarly explores the uncomfortable realities of mortals and immortals secretly sharing a world, but very rarely is it either so playful or harrowing about it.

vampyr-review-pc

Vampyr plays out in a sickness ‘n’ monster-plagued London, just after the Great War. Dr Jonathan Reid is stricken with an aversion to sunlight and a thirst for the red stuff, and in turn must investigate supernatural conspiracy while upholding his medical duties during a city-wide epidemic. Whether he becomes a wanton killer, a needs-must brutal hero or a combat-avoidant investigator is up to you.

In theory. Many of Vampyr’s main plot beats are surprisingly inflexible, but offset by occasional big moral dilemmas expressed with all the clarity of someone singing Mahna Manha into a blocked drain pipe. Imagine playing Dishonored, being careful to never kill or be caught. All that hard work of sneaking and silent throttling, but then, at the end of the mission, you have to play a round of Find The Lady to determine whether the district you so cautiously moved through embraces peace and liberty or becomes a wasteland of corpses and plague. (Or vice-versa – malevolent play, happy outcome).

In Vampyr, all your conversations, all your dealings with the petty concerns of mortals, all your hours spent scouring an ever-twilight and labyrinthine London and engaging in tricky fights that play out a little like a baby Bloodborne come down to a conversational lottery at the end of each ‘act.’ Choose unluckily and you’ll incite almost comically melodramatic outcomes not remotely implied by the vague dialogue choices offered. The main plot does at least march on, broadly keeping this carnage off to one side of it, but it’s nonetheless a gut-punch to, say, instantly lose major NPCs.

Vampyr’s checkpoints-only, single savefile system (i.e. you cannot load an older save) means I’m unable to experience less ludicrous outcomes without a total do-over. I respect the integrity of this, in a ‘you break it, you bought it’ sort of way, but I don’t think I’d rush to do it all again. This is not, like LIS, an episodic game you can revisit in fenced-off chunks. There will be clamouring for a full-fat save system soon after Vampyr’s release, and it should be heeded, whether or not it involves diluting the purity of its creative blood.

vampyr-choices

Maybe Vampyr consciously embraces the butterfly effect here, despite spelling most everything else out at great length, or maybe its writing needs another pass. Certainly, smaller things have been lost in translation. While the dialogue as a whole is solid (if overly dour), the subtitles are gently peppered with errors, the occasional line sounds mangled, and too often an excess of bone-dry exposition takes precedence over personality.

All the same, Vampyr has glamoured me enough to persist past a few rage-quits spurred by these absurd outcomes. This is a huge and agreeably grim world, full of dark corners to investigate, soaking up the hours with a frothy mix of exploration, tense fights and slow-burn clue-hunting. I mentioned Dark Souls offshoot Bloodborne earlier, and Vampyr sups from its holy veins in a way beyond vaguely shared (though infinitely less imaginative here) Gothic aesthetics. This London is a dark maze of danger spots and safezones, mentally-mapped and short-cutted by repeat exploration and growing strength.

vampyr-blood

Though the combat isn’t anything like as unforgiving, it’s satisfyingly tactical, complex and requires careful specialisation. You could be a pure, stamina-rich brawler, or someone deft at dazing foes so they can move in for uninterrupted neck-bites, someone whose every attack gains them Blood that can be used to activate special, monstrous attacks, someone who’s constantly self-healing and shrouding themselves in mystic barriers…

A strong spec and growing familiarity with how to combo your various skills and weapons means you can take down foes far tougher than you. I’ve snarled in fury at my umpteenth death to an overpowered boss, but I’ve done so knowing that this was a genuine test of skill, rather than thinking it unfair. I suspect anyone picking up Vampyr because of LIS is most anticipating the choice ‘n’ consequence side of things, as I was, but I came away most enraptured by the combat. You’ll want a gamepad, however – mouse and keyboard don’t feel good here.

Despite all the killing, I have striven to be good. In my mind, I’m roleplaying as a noble vamp who only kills when attacked, and once in a while secretly slays those who inflict suffering upon others (a racist slum landlord, for instance). There are some consequences, but it’s to Vampyr’s credit that it doesn’t have anything as overt as a ‘humanity meter’: this is a more internal kind of character-building, being the person I want to be, as opposed to one who tries to game the system. Being good is a state of mind, rather than a path to obvious rewards, while being bad results in eerily depopulated areas: a more powerful consequence than a lurid cutscene or a cancelled mission objective. Still, I sometimes felt that my choices what manner of man/beast I am were met with barely a shrug, at least until late denouements, because Vampyr was too busy telling a fixed tale.

This is not full the personality-shaping of Bloodlines’ conversations, but rather the main character is akin to LIS’ Max or a Telltale hero: fixed but with some flexibility. I’d be more on board with this if vamptagonist Jonathan was more interesting: his persistent formality might reflect the stiff-upper-lip era, but he’s a bit of a wet blanket, plus the game frequently makes him (me) say and do things I never would have chosen to myself. I could not, for instance, object to a secret cartel of society-manipulating jingoists, because the plot demanded that I join them for a while. So often in Vampyr I wanted to tell someone they were being a colossal penis, or to mediate between entrenched, extreme positions, but the story is the story.

vampyr-review-1

More appealing is the uncomfortable paradox of Jonathan being both a blood-supping terror and a dedicated medical professional, though the more fascinating elements of this are lost in the ongoing din of exposition. A further layer to the game has you regularly dashing around disease-ridden London boroughs, offering remedies to put-upon NPCs for their fatigue, cold and migraine, which in theory affects shop prices and XP opportunities, but too often feels like tacked-on busywork that’s a repetitive alternative to meatier reputation-building missions. Whenever you ‘rest’ to spend XP on skill upgrades, the boroughs’ denizens gain new afflictions, necessitating mixing up more meds and another long-winded sprint through oft-trodden streets. Between this schlepp and my exasperation at the moral dilemma lottery, I increasingly let boroughs slide into chaos – the dark side is easier and with its own rewards, though it isn’t where I wanted to be.

The supporting cast left few puncture marks upon my neck either – anyone hoping for a Chloe is going to be disappointed here, let alone a Jeanette or Heather. More impressively (and appropriate to the setting) it does engage with the issues of the in-game day – medical ethics, war trauma, the nascent women’s rights movement, the class and race divide (much of which has painful relevance in 2018). Like so much else in Vampyr’s tale, most of this involves grim faces telling rather than showing via deed or force of personality, so I’m not sure how many blows are landed, but I appreciate the attempt to be more than a grisly supernatural saga.

vampyr-pr

Perhaps fittingly, people are ultimately resources. Uncovering their secrets (broadly via dialogue with the characters around them) boosts the XP granted if you decide to drink their blood, or you can rack up a smaller amount of points by completing various fetch or rescue quests for some of them. You don’t have to drink blood, but you’ll be about as fearsome as Milhouse going trick or treating if you don’t. Vampyr’s most compelling aspect, for me, was straddling the line between being strong enough to survive and not becoming a wanton murderer. Diligent looting, side-questing and tactical monster-battling can see you through without having to turn to open psychopathy, if you’re willing to put the hours in.

You can avoid most combat, though you need to know you’re doing this from the start if you want certain endings. It’s a fiendishly tricky business, as anywhere other than conversation and quest hubs is patrolled by a mix of instantly-aggressive vampire hunters and ‘skal’, a low-grade, bestial vampternative. You can eventually spec out your character with invisibility and self-protection skills in order to dash past these guys without dying every time, but the stealth systems are rudimentary and clunky, making this hard and repetitive graft that I would say is best left to achievement hunters. Playing like this also means gaining minimal XP, leaving you in a tricky spot for the mandatory boss fights.

vampyr-combat

I do love that there’s this profoundly different way of playing, but, unusually for me, the open fisticuffs playstyle thrilled me in a way the hiding and running one did not – and in any case, the boss fights mean you cannot remain a pure pacifist.

My surprise with Vampyr is that I’ve enjoyed it as a combat game much more than I have a chat ‘n’ choice one – the exact opposite of what I’d have expected from the makers of Life Is Strange. The characters rarely sparkle, the biggest choices are too much of a lottery, and there’s little tension around the vampiric conceit – blood-drinking is a nonchalant option, not a desperate thirst as it is repeatedly described. And, despite that noblewoman’s bold assertion that we should not expect the befanged expected, there is very little freshness to this exploration of the undead condition. Although I do enjoy the griminess, the filth and the viscera of its world. An exaggerated squalor, perhaps, but there is a real sense that this London is only moments away from total collapse.

I’m frustrated that Vampyr falls just short of truly combining a smart choose-your-own-adventure game with a meaty action one. It’ll never happen, but a director’s cut that thins the sombre exposition and eases the medical busywork, injects more pep, and makes decisions decisions, rather than often either a roulette wheel or a railroaded path, would create a dream combination of darkness and light. Nonetheless, as a sprawling midnight world of tight fights and atmospheric exploration, this is a fat vein I keep returning to.

Vampyr launches on June 5, via Steam, Origin and direct from publisher Focus.

Important note – I shamelessly stole the pun ‘afterlife is strange’ from my colleague John Walker, for I am the true monster here.

80 Comments

  1. sagredo1632 says:

    Perhaps narrative games like this should present options “1: Statement” and “2. [Lie] Statement,” even if there ends up being no material consequence to the choice, due to mainline story pathing. It would at least allow the player to maintain an internalized character consistency even when the consequences are the same for both options.

    • Skabooga says:

      That’s one of the things I loved so much about Planescape: Torment! I lied my ass off in the first half of the game to get what I wanted, which made my choices to tell the truth at crucial moments later in the game all the more meaningful to me. I agree that it is a feature more games could consider.

    • suibhne says:

      Perhaps the greatest example of this is the NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer. With one particular character, you can choose to deliver exactly the same lies as either truth or lie, and consistency over the course of the game enables you to betray her in a pretty spectacular, and spectacularly evil, fashion.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    Uh, I think I’ll wait for a multisave option. Single save worked in LiS because if the conversation had bizarre consequences after you said something you could usually rewind and see if the other options actually came closer to what you intended to say.

    Still, VtM started as a very flawed gem and has been polished over the years into a much shinier object. It sounds like Vampyr is starting from a much better place even if it has its issues.

  3. Winged Nazgul says:

    “My surprise with Vampyr is that I’ve enjoyed it as a combat game much more than I have a chat ‘n’ choice one – the exact opposite of what I’d have expected from the makers of Life Is Strange.”

    Ah, but they also made Remember Me which you don’t seem to have done.

    • DefinitelyNotHans says:

      The combat in Remember Me was extremely forgettable.

      • anHorse says:

        I still remember it but mainly because of the excellent way the sound design was integrated into it.

        • haldolium says:

          I think the idea was even pretty great, but the execution was the issue (mostly in terms of timing and targeting, and camera work… okay well overall) – but yeah, the music and sound design – and also the visual delivery – was the very greatest and still makes Remember Me one of the titles I do remember and most positively too.

          It also had great VO and therefore a very great main character.

    • basilisk says:

      Do read the third paragraph.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Alec doesn’t seem to have made Remember Me, no.

  4. lancelot says:

    someone deft at dazing foes so they can move in for uninterrupted neck-bites

    Political correctness vs. clarity: PC wins by way of knockout.

    • latedave says:

      Um, eh?

    • Shinard says:

      So… is this you punching clarity while it’s down, or…

    • Monggerel says:

      Excuse me?

      • Ghostbird says:

        I think they’re objecting to the singular “they”? It’s a perfectly clear sentence and a usage that’s been accepted since Chaucer but anger clouds judgement and all that.

        • Troubletcat says:

          Maybe you’re right but it’s so unclear what the complaint is from the actual post that I’m not entirely convinced.

          The irony here is strong.

        • lancelot says:

          Does “they” refer to the player or to the foes?

          • Troubletcat says:

            The player. It’s not ambiguous at all. The way the sentence reads ‘they’ fits just as naturally as ‘he’ (I would argue more, since it’s paired with the gender-agnostic ‘someone’) and I strongly suspect it was the authour’s first choice, not an edit for political reasons.

            You are really reaching hard to be bothered here and I have no idea why.

          • Ghostbird says:

            Could be an old-school sexist who wants “he” to be generic, but it’s more likely they’re a gender essentialist getting “they” as a pronoun confused with the generic use.

          • BooleanBob says:

            PC culture can have its excesses, but this isn’t one of them. You legit look like a madman (sorry, madperson) here.

          • lancelot says:

            To be picky, “they” is always a pronoun. I don’t think you’ll be able to find a dictionary that lists “they” also as a noun meaning a generic person.

            I never said the phrase was ungrammatical. My point is this: how do you know that “they” refers to the player, except by the context? If you think the context is sufficient, then, with this logic, why learn good writing style at all, in most cases the meaning is clear from the context.

          • Troubletcat says:

            If something that could hypothetically be ambiguous is rendered unambiguous by context, that’s perfectly fine writing style. And EXTREMELY common in English, even in formal writing.

          • punkass says:

            I’m afraid this has nothing to do with Political Correctness and it really isn’t ambiguous. I used to correct people’s grammar for a living (what fun!) and I feel that the author’s usage is both clearer and preferable to the first few alternatives I ran through in my head.

            Certainly, in British English, ‘they’ has been used as a general singular pronoun for a long time before Trans rights became a thing.

          • DefinitelyNotHans says:

            “You could be a pure, stamina-rich brawler, or someone deft at dazing foes so they can move in for uninterrupted neck-bites, someone whose every attack gains them Blood that can be used to activate special, monstrous attacks, someone who’s constantly self-healing and shrouding themselves in mystic barriers…”

            It’s EXTREMELY clear that “they” refers to the player when you read it in the full, non-truncated context, especially when the foes mentioned in that part of the sentence were just said to be dazed, so how could it be them moving in for neckbites (also, gee, neckbites. In a game where you’re playing a vampire. WHO COULD THIS BE REFERRING TO?).

            Using “you” again instead of “they” would arguably have been a better choice of words here, but it’s not unclear in any way. The problem is you (and so you don’t get all confused, I mean YOU as in the commenter named Lancelot, not the word “you” itself).

          • Nolenthar says:

            As a non native English speaker, I have to say I took this whole sentence as they referring to the foes as well. Not because of any sexism but simply because in my brain, they is plural. I learned something today that they could be use as a generic sex term. I was not even aware it was proper English.

          • X_kot says:

            DefinitelyNotHans nailed why the pedantry in your comment is so galling: you’re intentionally ignoring the context and the meaning of other parts of the sentence to support your structuralist criticism. Strict prescriptivism deserves to be rebuked when it contributes nothing useful to the conversation.

        • Monggerel says:

          Oh, okay. The original comment read like gibberish to me.

          I had this argument against “they” (which is the pronoun I use by default, as it feels most natural) directed at me before though, and as a non-native speaker of english, coming from a language that does not have any gendered pronouns, (not to worry, our culture is plenty sexist without them regardless) it’s kind of funny.

          Also, infuriating. How very fucking *dare* you tell me that my correct use of your language is substandard and in need of correction.

          Um. Anyway.
          Thanks for clearing up my confusion, Ghostbird.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      It’s clear from context, just as it’s clear from context that you are a cad.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      It’s people like you who make me shoehorn ‘they’ into sentences just for the shear fuckery of it.
      Although how you thought the word choice was done for the sake of political correctness I don’t know. I can’t see a way to make that sentence gendered without removing all clarity whatsoever.
      (As some have added, the word “you” instead of “they” might have made it slightly clearer who was biting who’s neck, but it’s still just as PC).

      • lancelot says:

        “someone deft at dazing foes so he can move in for uninterrupted neck-bites”

        Then the pronoun “he” has one, unambiguous antecedent, as it should according to any writing style guide.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Everyone gets that; no one cares.

        • MrEvilGuy says:

          A grammatically astute professor would likely find it unpleasant to switch from “you” to “they” midsentence, but this is journalism, not academic writing. Maintaining singularity can be important too in formal writing, but you wouldn’t put “he” unless the gender is clear. Proper use nowadays is “s/he” or “he/she.” But in informal writing like journalism, “they” is almost always used.

    • noose says:

      ahahahaha what a fucking dweeb

  5. Mouse_of_Dunwall says:

    I’m very relieved to hear this is an interesting game, even with its flaws. I’ve wanted a good vampire game for a long time, so I’ll happily overlook a bit of clunkiness.
    I read that the devs have no plans for DLC, but I would kind of like to see expansions where you play as vampires with different kinds of powers (turning into giant bats or mist, stuff like that).

    An Anno Dracula RPG would be cool…

  6. Troubletcat says:

    This is the problem with not showing you the full text of what you’re going to say, or a full explanation of what a non-verbal choice entails.

    SURELY the INTENTION is that the player is actually knowingly deciding what to do. So just use a few more words! I promise, people who actually care about the story aren’t going to be scared if they see full sentences of text. Combining this with the inability to quickly reload if a decision turns out to be what you intended is utter madness.

    …Aside from that this actually sounds like what I expected. I was cautiously optimistic for this one, expecting it to be quite good overall but with some rough edges.

    I might wait for a patch or two before buying it though, see if they do something about the save system after the inevitable outrage.

    • Monggerel says:

      Deus Ex Human Revolution did this, and it was great. Whenever you’d get into those pivotal “dialogue battles”, the game would give you the full text of *exactly* what Adam Jensen would say with each available option.

      More of this sort of thing, plz.

    • Captain Iglo says:

      The save system really makes things unnecessarily inconvenient. There should at least be an option you can toggle on or off to enable reloading.

      On a related note, I’d very much like to avoid causing a “Glass him” incident and being unable to reload. Damn you, Bigby.

      Relevant video

  7. kud13 says:

    This is the only review I’ve read that praises the combat (while most end up liking the RPG systems and finding the combat duller).

    This really sounds kind of like what I expected- a Vampire-themed Alpha Protocol-type game.

    I’ll probably grab it this weekend, especially since GMG is offering it for 25% off. Not like there’s a whole lot of interesting games coming out this summer anyway.

  8. Don Reba says:

    Nods. —Dammit!

  9. Monggerel says:

    Well, that’s… honestly, better than what I expected.

    Dontn’t’nodn’t’s previous outings have been… more patchwork than tartan. They just didn’t gel super good. Remember Me was (so the joke goes) utterly forgettable, and unlike many (maybe most) people who played it I really strongly disliked Life is Strange but especially its beanie’d deuteragonist. The plot ripped straight from Donnie Darko, which I *already* didn’t like the first time around, did nothing to elevate my opinion of it.

    But! Crucially, Don’t’n’t are now a company that does things that, whether or not I like them, or rememer them in detail (who again?), I’m always interested in at least taking a gander at. That’s certainly more than I could say for… (consults pocketbook of blacklist) say, Ubisoft.

    You go, Vampire bro.

  10. Nolenthar says:

    Gah, a pity. A for effort I guess, professional reviewers seem to have a consensus that it’s one of those 6/10 games. Hopefully it sells well as we haven’t seen vampires games in ages and I’d like developers to keep trying.

  11. Umberto Bongo says:

    Jesus Christ, it’s 45 quid on Steam. Is this a regular occurrence now?

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      It was 10% off for preorders and there was a cdkey sale for 50% off somewhere, but 45 quid is pretty standard with high-profile releases these days.

    • mac4 says:

      It’s just crazy, innit. If a review like good Alec’s above is anything to go by, um, no thanks.

  12. Kefren says:

    Something that’s not mentioned in the WIT: can you play it in first-person mode, or is it third-person only? Part of the reason I loved Bloodlines so much is because exploring the world in first person view was so immersive. It’s the same reason I had real problems with the Witcher 3: I felt hugely distanced from it by always being forced to look down on a toy man, and not being able to look at things up close. If this game has a first-person view it sounds exactly like my kind of thing; if not, I’ll pass.

    • brulleks says:

      I’m usually much more of a first-person fan too, but I feel Witcher 3 would suffer more than benefit from it.
      Still, if you want to try for yourself, there is a mod:
      link to nexusmods.com

      • Kefren says:

        Excellent, I may well give that a go. I don’t mind if things drop into third person for combat (I think Vampire TM Bloodlines did that for melee combat, but kept first person for ranged), but if I am just dawdling about and taking in the views and exploring, I much prefer to be inside a head (if that makes sense!)

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    This looks very interesting, but I’m also quite surprised with the direction Donotnod chose with this game. They won a strong position in the underserved high-tech visual novel type of market, which draws in a lot of people outside of the typical consumer groups. And then they decide to follow up with a much more standard combat-oriented game. A very conservative choice that might lead to a wasted opportunity.

  14. Terrapin says:

    I wanted to like this game, but an hour and a half in and the writing is just bad. The opening eeeeevil monologue had me laughing out loud, which I don’t think was the intent, but damn. “What is a wall, but stone enslaved? What is life, but death pending?” Then we get the hero shouting “This horror is a nightmare!”

    To say nothing of bits like the one where the hero eavesdrops on a conversation through a door. Woman: “Someone’s listening.” Man: “Well, if you’re listening to us talk, you might as well come in.” Hero: “Who was that woman?” Man: “What woman? I wasn’t talking to anyone.” Dude, you literally told me to come in because you knew I was eavesdropping on the two of you talking. Ten seconds ago. And no, of course I wasn’t given a dialogue option to point that out.

    • Clipz says:

      I know you didn’t get far into the game but is there a lot of writing like that? Not too interested in Vampyr itself (after reading the WIT anyway) but would buy for the hilarity of more writing such as that.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Damn, this is hilarious. I couldn’t care less about it before reading your comment, but now I’m somehow tempted to buy it just to roleplay as some kind of vampiry Truman, unable to pick up the (obvious) clues that everything around him is just a bad reality show, and that vampires don’t actually exist.

      And now I’m picturing the protagonist making “woosh” sounds as he uses imaginary blood magic in front of underpaid extras.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        People who say that the dialogue is bad and that it fails to be a new VtM:Bloodlines makes me want to buy the game, because I loved the bad dialogue in VtM: Redemption. Bloodlines has the best voice acting I’ve ever heard, but Redemption has lots of (unintended?) hammy voice acting, whether it’s from actual dialogue or the from characters mercilessly vanquishing barrels.

        Hammy voice acting is about the only thing bad about games that doesn’t lead to a bad gaming experience. It’s much more easy to like bad movies than bad games.

    • Don Reba says:

      To say nothing of bits like the one where the hero eavesdrops on a conversation through a door. Woman: “Someone’s listening.” Man: “Well, if you’re listening to us talk, you might as well come in.” Hero: “Who was that woman?” Man: “What woman? I wasn’t talking to anyone.” Dude, you literally told me to come in because you knew I was eavesdropping on the two of you talking. Ten seconds ago. And no, of course I wasn’t given a dialogue option to point that out.

      It must be some kind of a pickup technique of his.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Adding yet another win in the ‘good/bad writing is subjective’ category, it was the line ‘what is wall but enslaved stone’ that made me go “yep, I made the correct decision purchasing this game.”

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s undeniably silly. But silly in a perfectly over the top gothic way that I’m very much on board for. And as Alec has pointed out re: other elements of this game, wouldn’t feel too out of place in a Soulsborne game.

  15. BooleanBob says:

    The characters are too old and the setting goes too far back. I really think they didn’t appreciate how much people were willing to forgive in order to get that hella YA fiction feel. Life is Strange but with smexy vampires would have made a killing.

  16. DanMan says:

    I knew this would be more of an Action/Adventure than an RPG, much like Witcher 3, really, so I’m not disappointed that the combat is more interesting. On the contrary actually.

    The graphics look a bit yesteryear. Almost like in Dishonored 1, and that’s >5yo. Was expecting a bit more there. Lack of HDR output doesn’t help either, but at least PC isn’t just excluded, but consoles didn’t get it either as it seems to be tradition now.

    But I’ll pick it up later. Maybe. If they port it to Linux.

  17. shauneyboy68 says:

    When are we going to get the gothic vampire strategy game where you play as a vampire creating other vampires around Europe, rasing anicent corpses from the grave to fight for you, designing traps in a decayed Carpathian castle, equipping Romani fighters to protect you, engage in politics with other vampires game we’ve always wanted?

    • Captain Narol says:

      Here you go, “Prince of Darkness” Mod for CK II :

      link to steamcommunity.com

      You can repay me with your blood…

    • Mouse_of_Dunwall says:

      How about a Thief-like stealth game where you play as a vampire hunter breaking into castles, mansions, tombs, etc, with the intention of killing slumbering powerful vampires. Regular enemies are human guards or weak vampires, but if you sound the alarm, the powerful vampires wake up and you have to hide from/fight them.

      Or an asymmetric multiplayer game where one player is a powerful Dracula-like vampire, and the others are vampire hunters equipped with stakes, crosses, etc, and have to work together to stop the vampire. The vampire player can either kill the hunters or turn them into weaker vampires that would fight the remaining hunters.

  18. Ethalis says:

    It’s funny how a game company like Dontnod, which was co-founded by the best french sci-fi writer alive (Alain Damasio, check it) and which has a pretty good fantasy / sci-fi writer as a narrative director (Stéphane Beauverger) can’t seem to write good scenarios for their games …

    • batraz says:

      You could even say « best french writer alive », and I might consider « best sci fi writer alive ». Thanks for mentioning this outstanding writer.

  19. Zenicetus says:

    I want to like this, but there are several strikes against it in this WIT. Not good on mouse and keyboard? Well, I don’t use a gamepad so that’s strike one. Maybe it works well enough anyway on M&K. The save system doesn’t sound good, but if the checkpoints are close enough together I could live with no reloads. It’s having to repeat large swaths of a checkpointed game that I can’t abide.

    Are there difficulty settings, or just a single difficulty? I enjoy a challenge, but when a game turns into something too repetitive, I like being able to ramp down the difficulty to see the ending without too much grind to get there.

    • Evan_ says:

      Combat feels totally OK with KBM. Unlike Dark Souls, I can do fights without locking on the enemy. It’s nowhere near the KBM unfriendliness levels of DMC or Binding of Isaac.

      Difficulty is tied to the moral choices. So far I find it laughably easy, even without the massive XP boosts that killing NPCs grant. Hope that will change later on.

    • Ragnar says:

      I couldn’t imagine not having a controller as a PC gamer. I’ve had a controller since the days when you had to plug them into the joystick ports on sound cards.

      The wide range of available peripherals is one of the best parts of being a PC gamer. Some games just play better with a controller, so why not have the best possible experience? The $30 I spent on an Xbox One controller is one of the best hardware purchase I’ve made.

  20. Ergates_Antius says:

    Is it just me or is “Forget everything you think you know about vampires,” one of the most tiresomely over used vampire tropes?

    • mac4 says:

      I was trying to find a source for it really, but failed so far. You’d think it must have originated somewhere.

    • batraz says:

      « Forget everything you think you know about x » might be a trope for every attempt to renew a worn-out genre. Maybe even John Carpenter’s Vampires uses the sentence. Tropes are not bad though ; greek tragedies, romans noirs, sci fi, the best literature is the always the tropiest.

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