Vampyr Review

Vampyr – a soothing game. You travel through decaying night London, talk to bandits and serial killers who are afraid to step further than a meter from home, visit infernal foundries, observe how everything around is covered in a red mist, awakening monsters… Then you remember that you are a Nosferatu here, and any encounter with strangers is trouble not for you, but for the strangers themselves, that our main character is essentially the dark force from which one should run in horror and against which one should hold a deaf home defense, and your soul finds peace.

Mysterious and eerie cityscape

The capital of Great Britain, the First World War, a Spanish woman and vampires came to the city. Well-known in certain circles, Doctor Jonathan Reid returns home from the front and immediately falls into trouble. Waking up in a mass grave of failures, the hero realizes that he is very thirsty, sucks the blood of the first passerby he finds, and discovers two interesting things. Firstly, you won’t believe me now, but Doctor Reid is now an immortal connoisseur of hemoglobin, and secondly, he has just killed his own sister who was trying to find at least the remains of her brother.

Accordingly, John, ironically, in his first life, a specialist in experimental blood transfusion, wants to find out exactly what happened to his body before his second death and give a good beating to the one who played a quickly turned evil joke on him.

But don’t despair, dear gamers, the aforementioned cheap drama Vampyr is not the only entertainment. While our hero threatens to kill his invisible blood enemy out loud (hehehe) and ponders his new absurd nature, we can engage in much more fun activities, namely – saving the souls of plague-ridden London and fighting the epidemic.

Vampiric protagonist in a dark alley

The adventures of the vampire therapist

Vampyr is one of those third-person adventures where there isn’t really a specific brutal hardcore challenge for gamers, but there’s a little bit of everything. A bit of world exploration, a bit of hand-to-hand combat, a few quests, a bit of experience point juggling, and a few battles with not particularly jaw-dropping bosses. It’s not an obstacle course, but it’s also not a book with interactive pictures like Detroit: Become Human.

However, we do have plenty of dialogues here. What is the salvation of the city if not resolving human conflicts, healing physical and emotional wounds, and uniting barely surviving communities in the face of terrible disaster?

And that’s exactly what our hero does. Half of the endless night, he runs through the districts of London, casually destroying competing evil creatures, and the other half, he listens to stories about the local ambulance driver sleeping with one of the nurses, and the district’s main drunkard being a former fiery anarchist. The more tales we uncover, the more experience we gain to acquire more special moves, in order to then find new clues to new stories with monsters in new locations, and so on until the victorious end.

Choice-driven narrative with consequences

The game immediately warns that even though you are now a vampire, if you drink too much blood, things will end badly. The name of the disco immediately comes to mind. Dishonored, where every first corpse of a city guard was recorded in your employment record and tipped the scales of history towards a dull and bad ending. Well, at first glance, Vampyr is very similar to Dishonored, so I, as a true knight of goodness and light, ran through the starting corridor without stopping for training in machete fencing and vampire techniques. The game challenged me – fewer kills, less experience, harder to progress, but a better ending. Why not give it a try.

But only after an hour of running away from the dummies, it dawned on me that the designers meant only the main cast by “people” in the explanatory note. The joke is that our doctor, despite no longer tolerating sunlight and burning with a thirst for revenge, quickly adapts to the local society and starts working in his former profession. And if he wants to, he is free to snack on anyone within reach. The city will suffer, secondary plotlines will wither, but for each victim, John earns a lot of experience points.

That’s what they wrote to me at the beginning of the act. But the nameless vampire hunters roaming the streets are not considered a game for humans. In fact, you can freely dispose of them.

This strange ambiguity, which confused me and actually spoiled my debut episode, turned out to be one of the main problems of Vampyr. If I wanted to, I could blame the pointless introductory course of the game on the intricacies of the translated text, but no. Firstly, the translators did try, and secondly, this game’s silence, when it’s unclear what exactly Vampyr wants from you and which direction to poke for these desires, happens everywhere.

Tense confrontation with supernatural beings

Another vivid example is local saves. The game teaches you this: on the map, there are shelters where Doctor Reid can rest, replenish ammunition, distribute experience points, and save progress. Okay, so here we have save points. Then I spent about an hour just wandering around, looting boxes for any junk and exploring the map. Eventually, aimless walks got boring, and our doctor returned to the townspeople. In the very first dialogue, the game froze. The only time, I should note, throughout the whole journey, but it froze completely. This was really the end of all my interest in Vampyr – I found so much and searched so many corners that the thought of a second playthrough made me feel sick.

I should have, I should have first stopped by the shelter.

Or not. The very first load showed that Vampyr actually saves at invisible but frequent checkpoints, resting in the shelter – that’s a whole separate story dedicated to exchanging experience points and strengthening the hero on suddenly precious days when all sorts of diseases spread throughout London and the sick characters get worse. On the one hand, my progress didn’t disappear, and that was great, but on the other hand – did I just waste two whole days for nothing?

Come closer and listen to me

But then I had a heart attack, successfully rebooted, and went to talk to the locals. I showed one of them the evidence I found on the other side of the city, gave the second one a freshly brewed medicine, took a story assignment from the third one, and… got bored.

I can’t say for sure why. Maybe it’s because Vampyr hates long sentences and when I try to quickly read everything and move the scene forward, it cuts off the ends of phrases if they were unlucky enough to be after a comma, not a period. Or maybe it’s because two-thirds of the London drama are completely disconnected from the story of the epidemic and the story of the vampires. Or maybe it’s because nine out of ten dialogues hang boringly behind the protagonist’s back and don’t even try to create even a partially vivid picture.

Immersive gothic world of Vampyr

Actors standing like pillars without signs of conscious life do not help the cause. However, a lot of animation is expensive, even for a high-budget production. Mass Effect: Andromeda On this happiness, he burned.

As one wise saying goes, a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Vampyr was fortunate enough to create an interesting whole game from elements of relatively passable quality.

Graphics? It doesn’t reach for the stars, but it provides an atmospheric image and doesn’t lag. Action? It doesn’t particularly invigorate, but it doesn’t annoy either. Skill progression? It’s a shame that all of Dr. Reid’s skills are only focused on combat, and not, for example, brewing particularly clever medicines from plantain or having knowledgeable conversations about London concepts. But it will do. Stories? They could have been livelier, but there are a lot of them, and if you don’t like a specific storyline, you can boldly drink the blood of the corresponding hero.

Nightmarish creatures in the shadows

Vampyr is worth trying if you enjoy atmospheric adventures. Walks through the night European capital, littered with garbage and enveloped in a sinister fog, traditional vampire entertainment interspersed with saving those drowning in the plague – a wonderful soulful retreat.

However, it is worth slightly disconnecting from the local drama, as the interest in the game may quickly disappear. It is a shaky construction, but not a complete failure. Venture into infected London at your own risk.

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Adventure, Quest
Focus Home Interactive
DONTNOD Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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