Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

The French from Dontnod Entertainment act very logically and consistently. First, they released a game about the future – cyberpunk action Remember Me. Then about the present – we are talking about the incredibly emotional interactive series Life is Strange, which has collected a bunch of awards, tears and declarations of love for the heroines and their authors. And now, of course, they are working on a game about the past – the action of Vampyr takes place immediately after the First World War.

The protagonist of Vampyr, military surgeon Jonathan Reed, to some extent, like Max Caulfield, also subjugates time – prolongs life by drinking the blood of others. And it is precisely around the dilemma – to drink or not to drink and how much to drink – that the main plot of the future game will be built.

The French say they went to London and took photos at the scene of the future game. Yes, they had a difficult task ahead of them …

Drinking in London…

Our doctor became a vampire not of his own free will, but as a result of some incident. Perhaps his reason was the research in the field of blood, which, as a scientist, Jonathan Reed was engaged in. But in general, bloodsuckers in the game world are far from uncommon. The events unfold in London in 1918, during the terrible pandemic of the Spanish flu. There are corpses on the streets, death and chaos, and various ghouls flock to this feast. At first, only vampire hunters know about their existence, which will become our main enemies in the early stages of the passage.

However, until Jonathan bares his fangs in a public place, he remains a doctor who continues to save people from the Spanish flu. He must do this for several reasons – both purely moral (the Hippocratic oath has not been canceled by anyone!), And for very selfish reasons. The whole city will be divided into districts, and each of them will have its own indicator of the general health of the population. The lower it is, the more corpses on the streets, which means the less food for our newly converted vampire.

After all, now Dr. Reed is forced to lead a strictly dualistic lifestyle. Two personalities will fight in it – a good doctor and an evil ghoul. As a vampire, he is simply forced to periodically satisfy his hunger.

Vampires also cry

You can, of course, not fight at all with your second personality and acquired instincts, killing (or rather, drinking) everyone in a row, including quest characters, sowing death and horror around. In this case, Dr. Reed quickly turns into a real Beast, gains incredible strength, but loses his interlocutors, dialogues and the remnants of morality. The districts will quickly die out and become useless for you – the streets will be filled with lower vampires and brigades of hunters for them. In addition, killing innocents, especially in front of everyone, gives curse points, which accumulate and affect the ending.

And you can try to remain a man even in such inhuman conditions, patching up the wounded, helping the victims of other ghouls and monsters, and so on. Somehow, the authors mentioned that the game, in principle, can be completed without a single murder at all, which, they say, allows you to fully preserve the image of a doctor. But in this case, we will practically not be able to get new levels – experience is mainly given just for killing.

Vampyr is made in Unreal Engine 4.

That is, of course, this is an extreme case: it will be very difficult to do without victims at all and without falling to the necks of others. It is as if the authors are testing your principles – only the most patient and devout kind people will resist the temptation to bite their neighbor. For everyone else, it is better to choose victims carefully – you need to study people, communicate with them in order to understand what kind of person they are, assess the consequences and somehow come to terms with your conscience.

Well, not to drink the blood of the patient. Jonathan Reed, like the heroes of Watch Dogs, can literally scan those around him and immediately get information about them – only not with the help of a smartphone, but thanks to a special vampire vision. This is how he determines whether a person is sick or not and what quality of blood he has.

London, goodbye?

Almost every NPC in Vampyr is a complex person who, in addition to more or less high-quality blood, also has his own history, his own aspirations, motives and relationships. Some of them are better as a person, some are worse. Some are more important to the story, some are less. And we will have to decide who to leave life, and who to send for breakfast to the vampire.

These situations will be more complicated than the banal “it is better to kill a bad person, but not to touch a good one.” It may turn out that the bad one is important for the plot. Or, for example, he is a vile merchant who profits from the epidemic, but to kill him means to be left without an important store for us. And perhaps it is better to end the suffering of a good man out of mercy than to prolong it. An additional complication is created by the fact that for killing a character and experience points that are more important for the plot, they give more, that is, you have to decide what is more important – history or “pumping”. Some will even be allowed to turn into a vampire.

Hypnosis will allow you to take victims away from prying eyes.

In any case, as the authors promise, all our actions and decisions will affect both the plot and the world around us. Each kill will have its own consequences – including much more difficult ones than closing a trading shop. You killed, for example, a moneylender, and now someone is happy that he does not have to pay his debts. But the young child of the first, on the contrary, will suffer – now he must somehow survive alone. Perhaps later you will see him on the street in a crowd of homeless children.

As a result, our actions will lead to the fact that we will either be able to save London from the epidemic, or, let’s say, go the other way. However, the authors say that for the protagonist this story will not have good or bad endings, and with his actions he creates his own version of a personal tragedy…

Their home is their castle

In terms of mechanics, Vampyr is an action / RPG with dialogues, “pumping” and battles. Further, as we are used to, one should write about the open world, but the French offer a not quite typical structure. As I said, the city is divided into districts, and those into separate levels. That is, the approach is reminiscent of Dishonored and Thief – and this is great, because it allows the authors to prescribe locations and quests in more detail.

At each level, we are free to act quite freely – to communicate, complete tasks, fight and explore the territory in search of resources and all sorts of useful “buns”. Resources are needed for “crafting” to create and improve equipment.

“Get up when I’m talking to you!”

Communication in the case of Vampyr is a very interesting process. According to the laws of vampire mythology, a ghoul cannot enter a house until he is invited. So we will have to somehow contrive, pick up lines, look for workarounds, use hypnosis to get to the victim or just to an important character, because, let’s say, infrequently go out during an epidemic.

We will also conduct investigations, interview a large number of people on the streets of London and fight with our own fears – this is what the developers themselves say.

Blood for blood!

But even without the more or less familiar battles involving the sword, magic, as well as claws, fangs and bats, the matter, of course, will not do. Among the enemies will be not only vampire hunters, but also various monsters and monsters. Jonathan Reed will use melee or ranged weapons against them, including even medical saws, as well as his vampire abilities – for example, a teleport jump or summoning some kind of infernal branches that lift and tear the enemy. All skills are divided into three groups, and you are free to “pump” each one in different directions, choosing which improvement to learn from the available ones – invisibility during teleportation or the ability to inflict damage on enemies in the process.

This example shows that in battles you can rely on a more stealthy passage or a more aggressive one, or alternate between both styles. It is only important to remember that the use of vampire skills consumes the blood (that is, health) of our hero. In battle, you can drop to the neck of the enemy and replenish the supply, but the harder the fight, the more difficult it is to do it. Jonathan does not know how to famously jump at opponents, clasping their torso with his legs, like the heroine of BloodRayne.

So you have to use superpowers with feeling, with sense, with alignment. Although if you prefer to go through power, you will most likely be able to rampage on the battlefield without much concern for your own blood supply.

Initially, the action of the game was supposed to take place in Texas, but in the end, thank God, they chose a more gothic London.

***

Surprisingly, after the great Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, there were practically no decent role-playing games about vampires. BloodLust Shadowhunter turned out to be interesting in terms of gameplay, but the level of technical performance there scared away no less than zombies, corpses and other suspicious personalities. But in the face of Vampyr, for the first time in many years, we can get a really high-quality RPG from all points of view on this topic, albeit a slightly different one. It is not about ghouls and bloodsuckers, but about the constant internal struggle between the human and the animal – with the desire and patience, you may not be a vampire at all. What will become of this extremely interesting concept will become known later this year, when Vampyr will be released simultaneously on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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