Vampyr - PS4 Review

Vampyr is one that we have had our eyes on for quite some time now; set in a grungy, wet, and broken London? Check. Vampires? Check. Action RPG? Check. Darkness and Intrigue? Check and Check. In fact, Vampyr checks a whole bunch of favored aspects in gaming here at Chalgyr's Game Room. Developed by Remember Me and Life is Strange studio Dontnod Entertainment and published by the good folks at Focus Home Entertainment, Vampyr is the best vampire-related release in decades and easily the best RPG-oriented title. While many may have been concerned with Dontnod being able to pull off an action RPG, Vampyr is clearly an excellent title that oozes character around every turn. Well done, Dontnod, well done indeed!

In an opening scene that is a bit gut-wrenching, Vampyr starts off with some gruesome scene-setting as you, Dr. Jonathan Reid, wake up in a pit of Spanish Flu-infested corpses as a newly-turned vampire. On a quest to figure out what is wrong and putting your profession as a hematologist to good use, you will travel throughout early 1900's London during the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Rather than the atypical hack-and-slash adventure that most action-RPGs provide, Vampyr brilliantly blends the hack-and-slash action of a lightweight Soulsbourne-style game with the narrative excellence gamers have come to expect out of the studio that brought us Life is Strange. Adding further depth to Vampyr, players will need to manage the terror in various districts by warding off the creatures of the night and helping, or harming, the districts' inhabitants. The added level of complexity brings a new light to the forever dark London that Dr. Jonathan Reid inhabits.

Though combat is a little stiff at first, up until you start leveling up your vampire skills, by mid-game the tactical choices available to you are thicker than the blood Reid thrives on. Where melee combat feels a bit flat at times (even amateur), using your vampire skills is an absolute joy. I myself, once leveled enough, thoroughly loved using Shadow Veil + Shadow Mist. The combination of the Shadow Veil, which makes you effectively invisible (and drains stamina if you move), with Shadow Mist, which is something of a blood-based hand-grenade, is a joy to use.

While I do wish there was more variation in the skillset, those skills that are there are fun to use. If you are more of a brawler then investing in Blood Barrier, which is effectively a shield, is a must and if you invest heavily into your Hard Biting passive skill then you can easily tear through the masses with little real damage. In fact, using Spring, which rushes you forward in a neat shadow-like blink effect, in combination with Blood Barrier and a pile of points invested into the Bite evolution can make for an extremely potent melee warrior.

Vampyr is aesthetically, one of the darker titles I have played in a long time. Even amongst horror games where the environment is key to setting the mood, Vampyr easily outclasses them. I often felt Vampyr's London as something of a more detail-rich and "living" world and the closest thing I could relate it to is Bloodbourne's Central Yarnham. Though similar in feel, Vampyr's London feels more alive, if broken by the Spanish Flu. It is a truly wonderful setting and is everything one would expect out of a post-Jack the Ripper era London. Dark, dank, and full of not only misery, but also of Londonites trying to make the best of a bloody situation.

Humanity can be horrible at times, but there are little rays of light in even the darkest of nights, and there are a number of NPCs that shine just ever-so-brightly. On the other hand there are some real pieces of shit in London's underground. Screw that ambulance driver that happens to take a little on the side by giving priority to those that can pay. Seriously, eff that guy. The NPCs range from the downtrodden to ridiculously optimistic and everything in between and at times they are the real reason London, in one of its darkest time, is not overbearingly depressive. Kudos to Dontnod for continuing their world-building excellence.

Vampyr is to date, 2018's most interesting and ultimately satisfying release. Stunning world-building, detailed and interesting non-player characters, enjoyable RPG level-building mechanics, and an intriguing story mixed with the district management features have yielded an excellent action RPG title that is a bit deeper than your atypical affair. Moody and brilliant, Vampyr is a must-have for any fan of the non-sparkling vampire variety.

Game Information

Sony PlayStation 4
DONTNOD Entertainment
Focus Home Interactive
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Microsoft Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Robert


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