29th Oct2019

‘Vampyr’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Paul Metcalf


Life as a vampire in London 1918 isn’t an easy job to undertake, especially when you are a surgeon. With the streets full of vampire hunters and even the odd werewolf, you are in control of just how chaotic the streets are. So what will you do in Vampyr, feed off the innocent to get that lovely XP, or keep them healthy to make sure London remains stable?

That is your job as Doctor Jonathan Reid. In the beginning of the game you wake up on a mass grave in London. Set in 1918 when the Spanish Flu is ravishing the city the medical services are struggling to help the districts of the capital, so you lend them a hand. The problem with being a vampire of course is the need to feed. While you can take the Interview with the Vampire approach and feed off a few rats, the best blood comes in the form of the people you discover on the street. If you are of a sufficient level you can mesmerise them, take them into the shadows and feed off their blood. This gives you XP and you can strengthen your character for when it comes to doing battle.

Battles take the form of fighting off the Priwen Guard (vampire hunters) as well as werewolves and rabid creatures known as the Skal who are vampiric offspring of hungry vampires that have been carelessly been sloppy with their food. Anybody who has played Dark Souls or Bloodborne will feel at home with the combat style of Vampyr but will also not be so impress with what they are presented with in this game.

This is no Bloodborne, although it obviously would love to be. What we have though is an adequate if repetitive fighting system that is easy to handle, but slightly annoying because if it was just a little better, it would really be one of the best parts of the game. This is especially the case when you take in the size of the districts in Vampyr and the fact there is no fast travel system.

What really saves Vampyr though is the fact that it isn’t just a fighting game. It is in fact three games in one, with the battle system joined in with an actual narrative driven adventure, and a management system. The management comes from the fact you are a doctor, and there are plenty of people to either feed on or keep healthy. As you walk the streets you’ll be able to use your vampiric senses to see the characters ailments. These can then be treated by concocting medicine to help them recover. Keep them healthy and you’ll see the district they inhabit become more stable, which in turn lessens the hostility to your presence. It is an interesting system that actually works well. The fact you can keep the people alive also adds to the story of the game, which is of course important.

Most of the story itself uses interrogation of the characters to reveal the story of the game. This is important, because if you feed off too many people you’ll soon find you are missing the story. The fact you have to be at a suitable mesmerism level to be able to feed off a character though does protect the main game to some extent. You do find yourself planning on who to feed, and who to treat though, and that is the beauty of Vampyr.

What the character system in the game actually does is create the conflict between the fact you are a doctor, and a vampire. You spend time stalking the streets, levelling up your vampiric skills and gaining XP, but every time you level up you feel the consequences of your actions in the way the districts of London react to you. It is a balance that really makes you feel like a predator. The worst part of course is that the more you feed, the easier the game will become.

Vampyr is hardly a perfect game, especially when it comes to the fighting side. What it is though is an interesting take on a horror game where you actually find yourself caring about the people who should really be your victims. A management game that gives you the ability to rip the throats out of the innocent and not-so innocent, Vampyr is an enjoyable game that could have been better, but still lives up to allowing you to be a creature of the night.

**** 4/5

Vampyr is available on the Nintendo Switch from today.


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