Vampyr is an action RPG, developed by Dontnod – If you think Dontnod sounds familiar, that’s because they are responsible for the absolute smash hit of a game, Life is Strange – With the huge success of Life is Strange, I’m sure the studio had felt the pressure of developing something new; Vampyr has been out for PlayStation and Xbox since June 2018, and now, over a year later it has been ported over to the Nintendo Switch.
So I’m going to be honest straight off the bat, this game is coming in pretty heavy with a AAA price tag of £45-50 depending on your retailer… So whether you buy this game for Switch or not should depend heavily on two things:
- Is the switch your only console?
- Do you want to play this game primarily in handheld mode? Because it’s currently on sale for about £15 on the PS4 store…
So the backstory here is you play as Dr Jonathan Reid – a physician turned vampire – who’s leading the way in blood transfusions. You’re a newly born vampire, and your journey is basically going to take you down that character’s discovery path, about what it means to be both a doctor revolving around blood and a vampire that lusts for it with every breath.
Apparently there are around 60 NPC’s in total across the game, and the ones I have come across so far have plenty of dialogue to engage with – Some NPC’s will give you hints, and some would talk about others unlocking even more dialogue. I have only scratched the surface of this so far, as I feel like I have played for ages and gotten a fair way but I’ve still only just scratched the face of Vampyr. The NPC’s also appear to have rich personalities and backstories which is a massive plus, and they’re all very nicely voice acted which is great!
In some interactions you also get a choice in what you say; there’s always three choice and I’d expect these to fall into a good, bad, neutral kind of category similar to Fallout 4… But they don’t. They appear to be totally random with some responses just always appearing rude or condescending. Also the tone of the phrase you chose sometimes doesn’t really seem to match up with the tone of what Dr Reid ends up saying – I do like these interactions though, and can’t wait to see if they change the opinions of characters on Dr Reid, or if they ultimately don’t matter.
Gameplay and combat are all reasonably standard, and nothing revolutionary – You have melee attacks, ranged attacks, special attacks and vampire skills, the latter two require you to have Blood, which is also used for self healing; you stock this up by biting your enemies in combat – Blood is also used to to level up your character, but this XP is gained by draining the life of another person, unlike chowing down proper. Apparently the game can be done without killing innocent civilians or entering into much combat, but it becomes very hard to level up! Some boss fights must be done too, making full-pacifist runs impossible. Your choices do matter however, as you have one of 4 endings to discover, and if you choose to take an innocent life your choice will affect the district. You can see the health of citizens via their blood, and healing a citizen before killing them yields extra XP. Furthermore having healthy citizens also have an overall effect on the district’s health, so keep an eye out.
So far the game has been interesting and compelling, the characters have been well thought out and designed, and the storyline has me hooked… However there are a couple downsides; firstly the current price is pretty steep for a game that’s a year and a half old. Secondly, at any given point for no reason at all the game bursts into lengthy loading screens – I do not understand why they happen, as there appears to be no rhyme or reason, and sometimes it will just happen mid -speech.
Overall, Vampyr is a good game… Would I recommend you go out and get the Switch version? Not if you own another console… Unless you’re on some handheld hype train for whatever reason. It’s a solid 8/10 game though!