Last year Dontnod released Vampyr for the Xbox One and PS4, and now they are bringing their post WWI vampire RPG to the Nintendo Switch. Vampyr tells the tale of physician Jonathan Reid, who has returned to England from the Great War and has become a victim of vampirism. Finding out who turned him into a vampire is Reid’s main motivation, and there are many dangers present to impede him, such as civil unrest, the Spanish Flu and the vampire plague.
Most importantly, Reid wishes to help the city’s sick population. The people of London are dying, and as a renowned physician, Reid is called upon by a local hospital to help. His inner struggle to contain his true nature from his colleagues is a fascinating set-up, but this game makes it better as it puts morality and gameplay difficulty at odds with each other.
The more Reid succumbs to his desire to drink people’s blood, the stronger he will be. Talking to NPCs and performing quests for them enriches their blood, and you can choose to take their blood at any any time. Your actions do leave their mark on the city though. The story brilliantly follows your lead when you’ve decided to take a bite out of the people of London. A majority of the characters can be taken out in this manner. However, never feasting on their necks is also an option, although the game does become a lot harder as a result. The morality system is in a league of its own, putting Vampyr in exclusive company.
The writing in this game is superb. Every character is worth interacting with, and as you progress through the side quests, you will find out more about them, which in turn opens up more dialogue options with certain characters. This game’s side quests do feel a lot like those in the Witcher games, which is probably the highest praise I can possibly give
The best part about this game is the atmosphere that it creates. London is dripping with atmosphere, much like the bleeding necks of your victims. There are a lot of dead ends in the open world though, which can be a little frustrating. The gothic world of Vampyr is like a living, breathing place thanks to its inhabitants. The set design and the score are very memorable portions of this game.
Every alleyway feels dark, dank, dingy and full of danger, as they should be. The voice acting suits the time period superbly and really adds to the game’s immersion. The game throws vampire hunters, rival monsters and other enemies your way. The combat is stamina-based and works very well, making each hit feel very visceral. The combat is also deep and rewarding with a high level of customisation and a number of abilities on offer. It is good but not great. The boss battles are very challenging, so it’s good that the combat works well and is reliable.
The Switch version of Vampyr seems to have ironed out many bugs that were apparent in the versions on other consoles, from what I have read. The frame rate will jutter occasionally, but it’s nothing too damaging to the experience.
Overall, Vampyr is an underrated gem on the Switch and definitely worth your time. Whether you play it on the Switch or on other consoles, Vampyr is a superb RPG. It may be rough around the edges and can be a little daunting for casual players, but Vampyr is a must buy if you want an alternative to the AAA RPG market.
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 29th October 2019
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