London, 1918. You are newly-turned Vampyr Dr. Jonathan Reid. As a doctor, you must find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens. As a Vampyr, you are cursed to feed on those you vowed to heal. Will you embrace the monster within? Survive and fight against Vampyr hunters, undead skals, and other supernatural creatures. Use your unholy powers to manipulate and delve into the lives of those around you, to decide who will be your next victim. Struggle to live with your decisions… your actions will save or doom London.

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This started off janky, like proper eurojank shenanigans, but eventually it won me over. In fact it might be the best vampire game I've ever played actually...

It has tons of atmosphere, brilliant art direction, great voice acting, an intriguing story and decent combat that starts off janky as previously mentioned, but as you start to level up and get accustomed to it, you end up feeling like you're playing a cross between Bloodborne and Dishonored.

Yeah that's right, if you love Bloodborne and Dishonored you should get a kick out of this game. A very underrated gem.

A pretty fun game. Story was fun. Gameplay was nice. Looking forward to doing a full feed playthrough, so I can take full advantage of the way the game plays.

In a rush? Don't worry, I gotchu'!

What Works:
Captivating Storyline: Vampyr offers a rich narrative centred around Jonathan Reid, a newly turned vampire, with branching choices that significantly impact the game's outcome.
Deep Character Interaction: Each secondary character has a detailed backstory, motivations, and secrets, enriching the game's world and providing meaningful interactions.
Moral Dilemmas: The game presents engaging moral choices, such as whether to consume a character's life force for power or spare them, affecting the story and game endings.
Immersive Gothic Atmosphere: The game effectively captures a dark, eerie version of post-World War I London, reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Bloodborne.
Unique Gameplay Mechanics: Combines combat, exploration, and character interaction, with a vampiric twist on resource management and abilities.

What Doesn't:
Long Loading Times: Frequent and prolonged loading times disrupt the game's flow, especially at the start and during transitions.
Repetitive Combat: While functional, combat can become monotonous, with noticeable difficulty spikes for players choosing a pacifist path.
Performance Issues: Graphical quality is inconsistent, and performance drops, particularly during combat, detract from the overall experience.
Auto-Save Dependence: The lack of a manual save option can be frustrating, as players must rely solely on the auto-save feature.
Graphical Limitations on Switch: Despite maintaining the atmosphere, the overall graphical quality is lower on the Nintendo Switch, affecting immersion and visual appeal.

🧛‍♂️ Exploring Vampirism in Video Games

Vampirism has never been deeply explored in the video game industry. Although it has been present in series such as Castlevania, Legacy of Kain, and even Vampire: The Masquerade, rarely has it been fully developed despite the wealth of inspiration available. There’s never been a real desire to romanticise the dilemmas and issues of mystical beings in this medium, opting instead to produce works with more action than narrative. In response to this gap, the team at Dontnod, in collaboration with Saber Interactive (the porting team for The Witcher 3), brings Vampyr to the Nintendo Switch, a year after its debut on other platforms. It’s a title that draws as much from Bram Stoker’s Dracula as it does from Bloodborne in its depiction of a gothic and eerie city of London.

🩸 A Gothic Tale in London

The story follows Jonathan Reid, a decorated doctor and veteran soldier who returns to London after his participation in World War I. After an initial mishap, the titular character quickly confronts a new reality: he’s been transformed into a vampire unknowingly. Confused, and driven by primal instincts, Jonathan commits an atrocity that will haunt him for the rest of his journey. This event triggers the player’s control over the choices, either pacifist or destructive, that the doctor will face throughout the narrative. This strong focus on storyline is no surprise, considering Dontnod is also the studio behind the emotionally gripping Life is Strange. Thus, there are many cleverly written London characters, full of charm thanks to a superb and talented voice cast, along with various snippets of information scattered across the dirty and dark corners of London that reward exploration.

⚔️ Dual Aspects of Gameplay

Just as a vampire deals with the transition from day to night and their incessant thirst for blood, Vampyr forces the player to face the dual aspects of its gameplay: one component of combat similar to Bloodborne or Souls, together with exploration, and another focused on interacting with secondary characters, uncovering their stories, motivations, and secrets. Confrontations are straightforward, though somewhat repetitive. With a health bar, stamina, and blood, each action Reid takes consumes energy, and each special ability used expends blood. This latter mechanic works like a typical magic bar found in other RPGs, but linked to the vampiric context, allowing the main character to bite enemies in combat to replenish it. However, Jonathan Reid is an ingenious individual, not only capable of upgrading his weapons but also crafting his own remedies and potions, offering a temporary advantage when needed.

🌆 The Heart of the Narrative

Yet, the vein that pumps blood the most into the heart of the experience is the narrative. In Vampyr, each secondary character has their own intertwined story, which Dr. Reid can enhance or destroy. Each district of the city has several Londoners, each with their own aspirations, fears, desires, and many other factors that enrich them, along with a specific quality of blood. In other words, the healthier and happier the person, the more experience they will give Jonathan if he decides to consume their life force. However, choosing to give in to Jonathan’s instincts carries various consequences, from ruining the possibility of a desired ending (from a choice of four) to losing side quests unique to each character. For example, the death of a character can incite the subsequent appearance of a boss to fight. Alongside these mechanics are various conversation options, many unlocked by discovering pieces of information scattered throughout the world. It was quite enjoyable, for example, to read a page from a diary and discover a new topic of conversation with a character.

Bittersweet Challenges

However, amidst all the sweet, there’s some quite bitter blood that even mosquitoes would avoid. At the start of the game and during the character's deaths or access to new areas and buildings, there are long loading times that disrupt the flow of action. While the combat, though functional and simple, has some difficulty spikes for those wanting to follow a more pacifist path. Graphically, the atmosphere is well-preserved, but the quality in other areas leaves much to be desired. Unfortunately, the overall smoothness also suffers: during level exploration, there are minor performance drops, with the egregious ones happening in combat. However, at no point in the analysis did this factor lead to any unjust deaths or complete frustration. Nevertheless, it remains a good portable experience, with the only complaint being the inability to manually save progress, leaving the player at the mercy of the “auto-save” feature.

🎮 A Captivating Gothic Experience

Despite interesting but somewhat repetitive combat, subpar performance, and long loading times, Vampyr boasts a very captivating story filled with ramifications that depend on the player's choices to shine, making this experience a worthwhile venture for fans of European gothic mythology.

🌟 M I S C 🌟

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◻️ ⚠️ Review originally written for FNintendo (defunct website) and published on November 9th, 2019.
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◻️ ✍️ Reviewed in European Portuguese.
◻️ 📜 Review Number 006


Janky cool. Really just liked everything about it except for the balance.

It uses a very annoying level scaling system which reduces damage you deal and increases damage you take based on the difference between your level and enemy levels. Its very lame since it makes your choice of abilities to invest in pretty meaningless since level is the only thing that matters, I had capped out health upgrades pretty early on but enemies still just deck you in a few hits if theres around 10 or so levels difference between you. You end up investing in levels to make enemies weaker not to make yourself stronger.

You cant really grind for levels either since experience is mostly gained from bosses or citizens you decide to drain to gain experience. The citizen draining idea is cool and it fits with the theme of the protagonist having to resist his urges for blood and power but theres a few points where youre gatekept into draining a citizen just to not instantly die and deal piss weak damage against a boss.

I did play on hard so Im not sure if that changes the scaling system but I think that was just a bad idea in general. I still recommend the game tho just its probably better to play it on normal.

Despite some jank, Vampyr is def worth playing and a worthy attempt at being one of the best Vampire experiences with a really engaging story.

Game loses some points because combat can be clunky, and the dialogue choices are not clear about their consequences which left me with some people dying that I was not expecting to die, but I was interested enough to continue on. If you're really stumped about what a major dialogue decision may do, you might want to do a quick search so you don't end up upset with its outcome.

I really enjoyed the system of managing districts and citizens, and making you deal with the fact that being a pacifist will make the game immensely harder because killing citizens is the fastest and kind of only way to become truly strong, it really felt like a true vampire's dilemma.

Probably a 7/10 for most. I bump it up because 1) I just love dialogue wheels, and 2) the premise is really good, if a bit flawed.

the conundrum of being a doctor and doing no harm, but needing to feed, has potential for great drama. the problem is that, in order to properly tempt the player, the combat has to feel bad, and can only be overcome by gaining xp, which means harvesting citizens. if the combat is actually skill based, players wouldn’t need to consider sacrificing citizens.

but still, I give this a 4/5 on the potential of that premise, the setting, the performances, the cello-heavy soundtrack, etc.

can’t wait to play Banishers next!