V Rising 1.0 Reviewed by a few Vampires

V Rising by developer and publisher Stunlock StudiosPC (Steam) review written by ValerieSusan N.Richard with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Come one! Come All! Listen as we regale you with details of a vampire game that fully released on May 8th with more content, bosses, and just loads of fun! This action adventure survival game also has a massive multiplayer gameplay in it as well! So, on that note, here are the first impressions of our newest vampire to our clan.

Richard: V Rising is a cool take on vampire survival/crafting/hack and slash/stealth mashup that's both immensely rewarding as well as immensely frustrating in equal measures, depending almost entirely upon how you play. The mash-up of genres is a really interesting take, as you (as a vampire) must survive by drinking blood and avoiding the sun. You're also building up your castle and completing personal tasks to progress forward. To do that building you're gathering resources for both the castle building and crafting equipment. Then there's the hack and slash type combat with enemies with cool magic spells thrown in the mix, and sneaking around powerful foes and sunlight during the day.

The survival mechanic is lighter than usual in this genre. Yeah, you lose items not equipped on death and gotta go retrieve them, but they aren't permanently lost, your respawn points are fairly numerous on death, and you don't really lose anything. On the flipside to this, sometimes surviving is really tough. Run into a boss 20 levels above you? Good luck. Get stuck in a boss fight during the day? Have fun trying to goad them into a small area where you can actually fight them without dying. Run into almost any enemy with a skull icon? Get rekt. During all of this, you will be constantly losing blood so you need to replenish it by sucking it out of creatures or people. Sometimes that's easy and they have more pure blood, giving nice bonuses, other times it's super tainted and only useful for quenching your thirst.


With most games of this type we have the fun of customizing our characters and vampires are no different in wanting to be dressed up in their best finery!

Valerie: Other than the normal head, face, body that we can select from including skin and hair color, we can change the colors of our clothing! Of course I am a big fan of red and why not? This game is full of blood and that is a red hue! There is vanity outfits we can deck ourselves in for various 'functions' should we hold them in the traditional style *cough* like The Masquerade Ball! *giggles* Overall, as in Guild Wars 2 where I always had a field day in selecting my color coordination for all my armor pieces, this new feature is awesome!

The stealth aspect, or perhaps "option" is more apt, is something I had a lot of fun with. There's a traditional and more liberal approach to this. You can definitely sneak around enemies, stealing whatever isn't nailed down, and then running or eliminating key targets. Alternatively, you can try and goad different factions into attacking each other, and then reaping the rewards by waiting for your opponents to beat down each other before swooping in to take the spoils. I actually had this on my first boss, or V Blood as they're called. I was tasked with defeating a level 16, a level 27 walked in and picked a fight, and then a level 30 roamed by. It was chaotic, it was dumb, and I can't believe I got away with getting the rewards for all of them.

The non traditional stealth involves hiding from the sun while moving between bushes and tree shadows, or following clouds as they provide shade for you to run under. If you're out during the day, expect to do this a lot, otherwise your vampire ass will be toast. Literally and figuratively. It's both annoying and really fun? I know that's a weird contradiction, but my experience of V Rising was generally quite contradictory.

Susan N.: The game runs smoother than it did before 1.0. We used to have a ton of rubber banding issues, some minor graphic hiccups, and one unfortunate disconnect in Gloomrot, but its much better since the gameplay is optimized. Abilities respond much faster than before, making it easier to take on the various V Bloods. Prior to the launch of 1.0, there was only one difficulty setting for mobs, but now there are options! 

I do want to mention that the UI is much better than its previous design. All of the available bag slots are shown with a lock button. When you craft a bag to increase the amount of resources you can hold, it is visually obvious how much you get. I also adore the character customization. Not only do you get to choose your overall body shape and hair color, but you can choose the look of your gear. As expected, I'm all purple!

Next we have our homes that we can build to our tastes and functionality. Our homes are castles! Susan N.'s statement when she had her first taste of the game back in 2022 was epic! "For me, it is memorable for many reasons like being able to vicariously make and live in my ULTIMATE CASTLE. *Ahem* Anyways, I absolutely adore V Rising so it needed to be on this list."

Susan N.: I still stand by my statement in 2022. The customization you have for your epic castle is one of a kind. I'm all about building things while waiting for the sun to descend below the horizon. When looking at the build menu, there are tons of options to build the castle of your dreams, not limited to color of the lighting, to wallpaper (which now has no build cost!), to hedges and gardening plots for the outside. Though, while we have a ton of options (with or without some of the cool DLCs), I definitely would love to see a couple more things - like not being restricted to the stone doorframes. 

In the early game, the cost of building the castle was mildly prohibitive. The amount of wood and stone you need just to make a decent sized room to protect from the sunlight AND hold your basic assemblers is intense. Later on, you can grab some worker blood and the build costs will be a little more manageable. Combine that knowledge with the proper flooring for the room and your build costs will no longer slow progress. 

As an additional change that I absolutely adore about castle building is that it is no longer a slog to move the whole thing. There is a relocation option in the build menu. You will have to place all of the same walls, floors, etc... and you'll have to redesign your castle afterwards. We found that you can create a large room with everything inside of it. Once you have everything placed, then you can spend the time reorganizing. If you didn't place everything, don't worry because the game will refund you the materials you didn't use in the move!

Richard: As a really dumb bonus, before you can build a real castle you can make a wood "castle", which is really just a fenced in fort with no roof. Now, what do you think happens to a vampire during the day in a fort with no roof? I will admit, a few times I loaded into the game only to find I had been spawned in a sunny patch and died while the world was still rendering/connecting. While there is a fixture you can craft that makes a fog to keep the sun away, it runs on bones which you also need for other things, so that's a little annoying. Once you get a real castle with a roof though? That's where things start getting a little less frustrating, as you have more access to fixtures and mechanics to help you out.

Valerie: I LOVE building my castle! When I get a floor done and the roof shields me from the sun, I am peachy keen on the placement of rooms with their own functionality. Each of my rooms get a type of flooring that augments the crafting process with bonuses of time to completion and material costs. Also, from behind the protection of my walls I can expand the size of my castle or room without dying from the sunlight!


How about those bosses, or V Bloods as they are referred to in this game? Got any tips on beating them?

Richard:  Combat is...both smooth and rough, at least in my opinion. Depending on the enemies/boss you're fighting, you generally either have to lean into all ranged, or all melee based attacks. While not an absolute, this usually requires some trial and error and managing what spells you have equipped. On the plus side here, there are a lovely myriad of different spells and weapon types to choose from. Not only are spells divided by element, but they also have a lot of choices within the category. Spells can also be altered by equipping certain gems, which can attach to each spell in their own unique equip slot that's available per spell. I had a lot of fun swapping play styles and equipment like this.

Susan N:
 The earlier build of the game frustrated the crap out of me with respect to the combat system. The bosses would scale depending on how many players were participating in the fight and if one weapon was suited to your combat style, it felt like certain bosses were impossible. Not only that, but the weapons and armor that you had access to did not allow for customization. Each boss relied upon specific playstyles that did not work well for some of the family in our multiplayer game. I almost threw in the towel on the game because it felt like my brother was the only one capable of killing higher end V Bloods. Since 1.0, the combat scaling is balanced, we have a couple more weapons, and amulets / gems that fit playstyles better. This means we've made much more progress that I felt good about than in the earlier build.

As far as combat goes, there are more bosses that can be taken on, along with upgraded buildings, and spell points as opposed to unlocking specific spells. Essentially, you can get a point in the unholy tree which you can spend on a couple of spells in the tier. The game no longer shoehorns you into a specific playstyle by allowing the freedom to pick which spell you want, what bonusses you want on your amulets, and which gemstones you use to socket your spells with. Combine that with a new blood type and some passive abilities that you can unlock with the new Rift system, and we have a winner! I absolutely love how the game has progressed in this way. Though, if that wasn't enough, you can start a server with a difficulty setting that suits the players. For my family and I, we are quite happy with the relaxed mode. It allows us to try different tactics and feel useful during certain fights that we previously struggled on. Now *THAT* is worth it. Other games can be at a normal or harder difficulty depending on what kind of experience you're going for!

Valerie: I am finding it easier to defeat those V Bloods and with the added Relaxed mode of gameplay I can even beat ones I couldn't before in my single player game. I found when I played coop I didn't die as much now (unless I did the stupid thing of aggroing another pat of enemies while trying to take down our first targets) and I could help in kiting single enemies instead of the whole lot that we dove into in the first place! My two fave weapons in this game are the scythe and dual blades (Slashers as they are called).


How do you guys feel about the updated crafting system?

Richard: The crafting system is pretty neat, as you can unlock new things by beating bosses. In addition, your progress is also increased and you can redeem rewards by meeting certain gameplay/castle building/character progression milestones. On the other hand, you need a moderately offensive amount of materials in order to build pretty much anything, you need to wait too long to process it, and you can't teleport with a lot of materials, making gathering items an absolute pain, provided the server settings haven't been tweaked to help out in this area. Pro tip, make sure to select where you build your castle carefully to avoid long travel times in the start. You can relocate your castle, but it can be a little annoying to do so, even if it's extremely useful.

Susan N.:
 As I mentioned before, the crafting system in the beginning is a bit much, especially when trying to keep your vampire alive. I don't relish the idea of hiding in my coffin for 10 minutes while I wait for the sun to go down. Even when that is done, getting to the stage where you can build a stone room with a roof takes a little bit of time. But, once you get through that process, you have a better idea of how to get to that point more efficiently. With worker blood you can reduce the cost of building, and when you get to the point where rooms have the right flooring to reduce the cost even more, you're cruising. 

One of the things I noticed about the crafting of items is the upgraded machines. Not only will they do all of the previous stages of research or building, but they will be able to make higher level items. The first notable example of this is the advanced blood press. Since everything in the castle requires blood (as it should), it stands to reason that vampires get to be pretty skilled at dealing with the perils of too much blood, not enough, and proper cleaning procedures! *cackles* I'm quite pleased with these upgraded buildings because not only are they faster, but they look that much cooler. Who said a vampire can't have style?

Valerie: My beef with the crafting system is the RNG on seeds dropped. I am pretty sure I've only found one, maybe two, per gameplay time! It's annoying when you need such a huge amount of resources to build! One of the crafting resources in this game is blood essence and sometimes it's so damned hard at the beginning to get more out in the world. However, I do find I can 'bulk' up on blood essence when I get enough rats or can pick up enough hearts. I make do!


Did any of you have any weird problems, issues, or those dastardly bugs that are an ongoing thing in games these days?

Susan N.: One of the things that we noticed is, if you send a servant from your throne, and then you build a structure where they were standing, they will get stuck inside the structure when they come back. While you might be thinking that you can interact with the servant coffin to summon them, you can't. They still have inventory and won't sleep until you relieve them of the items. 

I'm unsure if this is a bug or not, but anytime I attempt to join the family game, even having them on my Steam list, the game never shows up! We have to click on 'direct connect' and input a long string of numbers to join. Not even typing the IP address with the port works either. While we do have a way to connect with the direct connect option, not being able to find my Steam friends without it is a minor nuisance.

Richard: I have the unfortunate issue where loading up the game takes me literally five minutes. I then need to wait about two to three full minutes before the lag settles down. Afterwards, it's fine and smooth though.

Valerie: I’m with Susan N. on the friends issue and their games not showing in the server list.


Richard: Despite my...rather unfortunate castle placements, bad luck with high level enemies roaming into my combat zones, and poor loadouts for some of my first V Blood attempts, V Rising is really fun. I do highly recommend playing around with server settings a bit and finding something that fits for you, especially if you intend on running a private personal server, which would basically remove a lot of the negative portions I experienced. Also, remember to consider castle placement if you have the space for it. Trust me.

Susan N.: With the launch of 1.0, I adore V Rising in its current state. There are more bosses to defeat, upgraded buildings to use, better combat gameplay, customization of your character and your castle, and more! I love that we can get passive abilities when purchased with Stygian Shards. Another addition that I enjoy is specific vampire merchants that can be found in the rift zone. One merchant offers blue weapons that can be repaired at the ancestral forge while the other has either Epic or Legendary level of weapons. Instead of randomly finding these items in the world, you can now buy the weapon of your choice! RNG will still get you with what bonuses you get, but it's a small trade off. Overall, I cannot stress how much more I'm enjoying V Rising. Now if you'll excuse us, we have Dracula to take on!

Valerie:  I fell in love with this game the minute I watched my daughter and son playing it a couple of years ago. Next thing I knew I was gifted the game and have been enjoying multiplayer time with the kids as well as my many aggravating attempts to play my single player. Now with all the new optimizations, bosses scaling to your level, new areas to explore, and all the cool stuff for both my castle and my character, I am immensely enjoying this game! With the newfound information on worker blood, I am now going to have an even peachier time decking out my castle! Shall I invite Dracula over for some tea? Mwahahahahaha!!!!


Richard: 9 / 10

Susan N.: 9 / 10

Valerie: 9.5 / 10 

Final Score: 9.25 / 10

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