Shoot, loot and survival! Its always a bit of a winning idea, but in practice doesn’t always work out; very few games have managed to find the balance of making that functionality both engaging AND fun. Now what can I say about Vigor that hasn’t already been said about DayZ? Oh yes, it’s going to be one of those reviews people.
Vigor is basically a stitched together creation fusing ideas from several other games, but not really getting any of them right. If you’re not sure what Vigor is then I don’t really blame you; to be fair when I was issued the game I couldn’t stop thinking about the Bioshock Infinite powers (Also called Vigors)… So I was going in as blind as most will, I imagine, since Vigor didn’t exactly have a lot of coverage… Which is strange because on paper this is a fairly ambitious project! Taking a few cues from DayZ, Vigor starts you off on a small Norwegian island where you have nothing and are surrounded by eight other desperate people in the same situation. Your goal is simply to survive by foraging for weapons and supplies, as every 20 minutes a cloud of radiation drifts in and will kill you dead if you’re trapped in it. You have to make your way to one of the map’s exits to escape, though the radiation will be sure to guide at least a couple of your fellow survivors the same direction… And not everyone is getting away.
Bohemia Interactive, to their credit, have made a fairly immersive world basing the action in a beautiful rendition of an abandoned Norway. Couple that with a few nifty base building mechanics, and its clear that the developers are the masters of map creation; although that should have been clear from their previous games like DayZ and the Arma series. The maps this time round though are nowhere near the same size, coupled with the use of the Unreal Engine and it’s clear Bohemia are going hard on the environments… Of course that leads to a few snags with gameplay.
Like most games nowadays Vigor is really a battle royale, with the main goal being to survive till the end rather than to kill every other player, though of course fighting is still a big part of the gameplay which you’d hoped would mean it handled as anything better than dogshit. Well guess what? You were wrong to ever hope that you big dummy.
In my experience you’re far better off just avoiding any fight. My first battle came early into my starting game; I came across a gent looting a house, and snuck up on him, stuck a shotgun in his back and pulled the trigger. I missed… I’m not kidding, my shots passed through him and he spun around, pulled out a small hatchet, and just smacked me around while I continued to pop off shots around his head, missing each one until I eventually keeled over from his unstoppable swinging arm. I thought I’d learn from that and during my next fight a few games later I chose that up close, guns were useless, so I pulled a large machete I found and charged in. I got a few good licks in before my foe shanked me with what looked like a butter knife, and I instantly died. What the fuck game?!
…So after my experience with combat, I chose to forgo all of it. I started running away at the first sight of danger, which worked well, for a time. Then the issues reared their ugly heads; movement in the game is fairly sluggish, and trying to vault even small obstacles can seem like a herculean effort with my avatar just failing and falling almost every time I tried to put a barrier between me and my pursuers. This is something that has plagued DayZ and Arma as well, and I’d honestly have hoped Bohemia might have figured it all out by now, but it seems the developer still has a few teething problems to work through even with their past successes.
Basically, Vigor is a fun little survival game that will have you feeling tense at times, and like a champion for even the smallest victories in the harsh world it presents. While the gameplay can be clunky and awkward at times it more than makes up for it with a beautiful world with some fairly deep immersion! Taking the worst of humanity in gaming from DayZ and making an entire experience based around it has been a bit of a gamble, but I feel like. given time, it could really pay off, and we may have another cult classic on our hands… Or at the very least a game full of dumb moments that you can tell your friends about.
I’ll give Vigor: