'Vampyr' is a Deeply Flawed Game, But That's Exactly Why It's So Memorable


#1

Most video games, especially big budget ones, arrive with rough edges sanded off in favor of putting their best foot forward. This often means leaving some measure of ambition behind, because there isn’t time to make it all work. Vampyr is not one of those games. It’s one of the most frustrating games I’ve played in a long time, an experience with deep and obvious flaws that make it outright hostile to the player experience. But it was also a game I couldn’t put down because the world, characters, and strange systems wouldn’t let go. Over 30 hours, Vampyr proved as confounding as it was charming, which is why it’s so damn memorable.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ywea3x/vampyr-is-a-deeply-flawed-game-but-thats-exactly-why-its-so-memorable

#2

I too am finding myself really enjoying Vampyr despite its flaws. Though the combat is starting to become more trivial in the part of the game I’ve recently reached, in the beginning I was actually impressed by the fact that the game was not afraid to kick your ass or bar your way with enemies that would kill you in a hit or two. And the penalty-free deaths make it so that if you really want to keep trying until you come up with a winning strategy, you can (the free respecs help with that, too…P.S. Shadow Mist is fantastic). I do agree with Patrick that it feels like it’s lacking a little something; I wish the hits felt better and less floaty etc. And ye gods does it need fast travel. They just released the first update today so I’m interested to see what’s changed.

The politics of the game and character development are what have really kept me interested. Yes, they give you another white male protagonist, but also a lot of people who aren’t afraid to challenge him (and other characters like him) on his privilege and relatively narrow perspective, including, in an early main quest, a nurse who escaped from an Eastern European country ravaged by war who now steals medicine from the hospital to keep the poorest residents of the city alive without pay. She’s just one of the many badass female characters in this game. These people are rarely, simple, too…there are plenty of shades of grey here to keep you uncomfortable about who deserves to die, though unfortunately there a few cartoonishly villainous characters who practically scream EAT ME. I really wish they weren’t there because it would make the choice to feed so much more agonizing.

I think I’m only about halfway through but I have to say that I’m really pleasantly surprised by Vampyr. I’m very interested to see where it goes from here.


#3

What its missing is a sword cane


#4

I hope there is always space for and enjoyment of games like Vampyr. What a less vibrant space gaming would have become if B-Tier games went away entirely. I appreciate that the developers tried to give as many paths open for interpretation as possible, some games close down ‘possible readings’ of the games content by slipping in a content to hint at what they don’t mean - unnecessarily. For instance, if you wanted to use favored ‘film theory’ interpretation to explore the game’s themes, it seems to have not closed off many avenues to do so.


#5


#6

I really enjoyed this game. I found the game’s “combat ending” quite underwhelming, but I thought the coda after was a nice way to wrap up the characters. The characters and setting definitely felt like the draw as opposed to the game’s main plot, especially once the 3rd act played out. I liked the atmosphere, but once the game started giving answers to it’s mysteries the story started to become a bit banal.


#7

So I stopped playing about an hour in when E3 came around but I returned to it today and I’m maybe 6 hours in and I love it! The combat is pretty cool so far though I know it will likely get old at some point, but for the time being I’m enjoying the dance of managing blood, health, and stamina all at once.

As for the ambiguity of dialogue and systems, I haven’t had too much trouble but that’s only because I remembered what embracing referred to in this world before making the choice involving nurse crane. That wording is ambiguous and very misleading. I think it would benefit the game to make some of the wording of choices much clearer. But the story and systems overall are amazing. Looking forward to playing more over my next two vacation days!


#8

This is a really excellent review that makes me really want to play this game. I’ve always been attracted to games that aren’t necessarily “good”, in a typical sense, but just go for it in some respect.

Alpha Protocol seems to be the obvious comparison (well, the really obvious comparison is Vampire: The Masquerade, but I only played a bit of that before being put off by some of the stuff that game does) – with severe jank and unfun combat covering up some pretty revolutionary work done in the storytelling department. I haven’t played that game since I was 16 and I have a feeling that it doesn’t hold up especially well, but I remember loving it in a way that you can only love a piece of art that’s slightly broken and weird.


#9

So I just embraced someone for the first time and holy crap! The presentation around it is so, so extra and so, so good! Whenever the choir music starts up in this game it is so hauntingly beautiful.