If you’ve yet to sink your teeth into the juicy neck of Vampyr, then you may want to hang fire until later this summer when two new difficulty modes are unleashed upon DONTNOD’s narrative driven vampire adventure. The update also addresses feedback since the game launched. But the best news is that a story mode is launching, so if you couldn’t get on with the combat – or were put off by it – then you can tackle the game in a mode that “de-emphasizes combat”.
For those that revelled in the combat, a “cranked-up” hard mode is also launching. This adds in more challenging combat scenarios, which rewards less XP from fights, making the choices of who to embrace that much more vital as this will be the only real way to get XP.
DONTNOD are quite clearly offering something for everyone – well done!
Mixing elements of Remember Me and Life is Strange; Vampyr takes the strengths of Dontnod’s previous titles and successfully blends the two into a mighty offering.
What if you awoke to find that you had become a blood-sucking creature? That’s exactly the premise behind Vampyr and in the opening scenes, the game establishes the main character, Doctor Jonathan Reid, and sets a vague back-story. So begins a quest to save London from an epidemic, and more importantly, find out how Jonathan has become a Vampire.
To do this you must guide Jonathan through many varied conversations with the inhabitants of London, spread across four districts. Despite being a vampire most people are only too happy to chat and only by talking with all of the NPCs will you unravel the many mysterious stories that each of them hide. Talking not only reveals hidden secrets about the world, but side quests can also be uncovered, which potentially means more XP can be gained, which is the cleanest way to unlock your vampiric powers.
Should you decide to fully embrace the life of a vampire, revealing all hidden information about each character before you ‘embrace’ them (read bite them in the neck) will reward the maximum amount of XP for their demise. A mesmerize mechanic means you need to be at least the same level as an NPC you wish to bite, meaning you can’t wipe out someone integral to the storyline.
If you can’t resist the urge to bite someone or need a swift boost in XP then you will not only risk losing quests, but whole social circles can collapse and eventually the district these people reside in will fall to chaos. Instead of the streets being lined with vampire hunters, they fill with all manner of evil creatures – werewolves included.
It’s a wonderful system that keeps you constantly considering whether the risk is worth the reward. This is further exasperated by an XP system that is only deposited when you sleep in a safehouse, only then can you spend XP in skill trees. It’s during this moment that time moves and each district’s health changes depending on your previous actions. It’s a really neat mechanic that will make you ponder the best moment to use your banked XP – sleeping while a district is close to turmoil, a citizen is in danger or neglect to craft some medicine to heal a district’s inhabitants, and it will fall into chaos far quicker.
Districts can also fall through your own negligence. What may seem like an insignificant character can often turn out to be someone of great importance. Then there are characters that are pillars in each community – let these people fall and the whole area can be wiped out in a single night. It’s an incredible feat that DONTNOD have expertly crafted using all their experience from developing Life is Strange – but if you don’t like to talk then you may find Vampyr quite the bore.
Despite its many accomplishments with the narrative, the game’s biggest and must surprisingly downfall is the combat. I loved the combat of Remember Me, so I am a little bemused at how DONTNOD have got it so wrong with Vampyr.
In the early hours of the game the combat is brutal. One hit kills are unfair and you get ganked by groups of thugs. Invest some XP in one or two skills and craft your weapons up a few levels and soon you will have no problem with the combat. This does mean that boredom can set in pretty quickly. Each combat scenario is essentially a rinse and repeat of the last – not even boss battles can provide enough respite.
Eventually, facing the same enemy types over and over becomes a drag and towards the end of the game defeated enemies yield little XP, meaning I opted to just run through the streets of the London rather than battling through them.
The combat isn’t a complete loss. Despite a lack of finesse there is a neat system of health, stamina and blood. Health is the obvious trait to explain, as is stamina, which governs whether you can attack or dodge. Blood restricts your use of vampiric powers and only by using certain weapons or syringe buffs can you restore your blood quickly.
Another way to replenish blood is to bite an enemy by first stunning them by either sneaking up on them or by knocking their stamina down. Each enemy is also resistant to certain attacks so there is a rather edgy side to combat, but one that is ultimately lost when you reach higher XP levels. The early considerations that make the combat so damn tough are quickly left by the wayside once you invest in some skills and craft better weapons. Soon you can cut through each fight by simply bashing the attack buttons while occasionally dodging and launching the odd vampiric attack.
Vampyr creates a wonderfully neat spiderweb against a stark environment so it’s a shame the combat wasn’t more polished. If you enjoy the conversational side of games – learning about people and solving tangled mysteries – then Vampyr will be an utter joy to experience. Tracking down people and piecing together their lives became a strange addiction and before deciding to bite down on a neck, I always strived to find out all I could about them. Ultimately though, your enjoyment of Vampyr will largely be governed by how much you’ve enjoyed DONTNOD’s previous work.
DONTNOD Entertainment, developers of Vampyr, are inviting fans to see exclusive behind the scenes footage of their new game. In the first episode of this original weekly four-part webseries, produced and realised by the video department of Focus Home Interactive, DONTNOD unveils exclusive gameplay footage while delving into their signature approach and reasons behind putting players in the role of a predator. The three following webseries’ episodes will release weekly every Thursday.
Vampyr is set in 1918 London, with the city weakened by the recent World War I and ravaged by the Spanish Flu. This setting makes up an important part of Vampyr’s identity. DONTNOD will make players feel the duality that torments Dr. Jonathan Reid, giving them the freedom to choose who to sacrifice and who to save. Every killing has consequences, and it’s up to players to balance their need to feed and grow stronger, with the rapidly deteriorating city of London.
In Episode I: Making Monsters, DONTNOD gives more information about Jonathan Reid, the doctor-turned-vampire that players will step into the shoes of in Vampyr. Freshly turned, Reid’s ‘condition’ unveils a dark new reality, thrusting him into a once-hidden society of wretched creatures like himself. Ancient Ekons plot from the shadows, terrifying Vulkods prowl the streets at night, and cursed Skals hide in the darkest places of the city.
Episode 2: Architects of the Obscure discusses the four distinct districts of London you will explore in Vampyr, as well as the differences between the people you will be interacting with in each location; getting rough and dirty with criminals in the East End, or walking with the respect of your peers in Pembroke Hospital.
Focus Home Interactive and DONTNOD Entertainment have announced “DONTNOD Presents Vampyr”, an original weekly four-part web series, which reveals the studio’s signature approach to bringing narrative-driven RPG Vampyr to life. I for one am very excited by the studio’s follow-up to Life Is Strange and I have my fingers crossed for the same high level of storytelling!
In each 5-minute episode, the French developer invites fans into the heart of their Parisian studio to unveil exclusive new gameplay footage accompanied with deep insight into their creative process, beginning with Episode I: Making Monsters on January 18.
In the first episode, Making Monsters, DONTNOD delves into their signature identity and reasons behind putting players into the role of a conflicted predator. The studio will make players feel the duality that torments doctor-turned-vampire Jonathan Reid, giving them the freedom to choose who to sacrifice and who to save. Every killing has consequences, and it’s up to players to balance their need to feed and grow stronger, with the rapidly deteriorating city of London.
Four episodes are planned in total for the weekly series:
· Episode I: Making Monsters
· Episode II: Architects of the Obscure
· Episode III: Human After All
· Episode IV: Stories From the Dark
Based in Paris, DONTNOD develops video games for consoles and PC based on original concepts and innovative technologies. Since the release of Remember Me and the critically acclaimed Life Is Strange, the studio is internationally recognized for the quality of its narrative games set in immersive and innovative worlds. Today DONTNOD is working on the narrative-driven RPG Vampyr, a new Life Is Strange game as well as new yet unannounced projects
Dontnod Entertainment, after the success of Life is Strange, are busy working on their next project, Vampyr. They have teamed up with Focus Home Interactive to bring us some new screenshots of the combat side of Jonathan Reid’s exploration of Georgian Britain.
This action-RPG will see you wandering the flu-ridden streets of London in 1918. All manner of dangers lurk in the shadows as an epidemic of Spanish Flu sweeps the streets. From Vampire Hunters to mutated abominations, Reid will be faced with foes as well as friends on his mission to discover the truth behind his new affliction.
Armed with some conventional melee and ranged weapons, Reid will have to dodge and attack his enemy to fill up his Blood Gauge. This then allows him to unleash powerful Vampire attacks. From impaling enemies on a spike, to draining them of blood from a distance, as the Blood Gauge fills during a combat situation, his Vampire affliction will slowly start to overtake his more human side. This will unleash ever more destructive spells and abilities against those who are trying to stop him.
As with other RPGs, Vampyr will contain a skills-tree, unlockable as you progress through the game and as you gain more and more experience. As this skills-tree is non-linear, you will be able to equip these in any order, effectively allowing players to create their own archetypes to match their playing styles. Dish out more damage by playing aggressively or focus on crowd control and keep your foes at bay, Vampyr should offer tactical play as well as all-out action.
Combat difficulty can also be affected by player actions outside of combat. Feeding on civilians provides a huge XP boost, which makes combat situations much easier, but that will come with a cost. Increased danger on the streets and narrative consequences for the citizens are some of those costs.
Players will need to investigate who to take out for a bite, and who to spare individually. The conscious need to increase their strength must be balanced against the possible impacts on the story, if you decide to take the wrong character for a drink. Reid’s Vampire instincts are always working against his human side in Vampyr.
Vampyr is scheduled for a 2017 release on Xbox One.
During E3, Focus Home Interactive announced a new partnership with the makers of Remember Me and Life Is Strange, Dontnod.
Called Vampyr, this will be a new role-playing game for your Xbox One. The game promises to offer a deeply immersive gameplay combined with an experience steeped in vampire mythology.
Set in 20th Century Britain, caught in the lethal grip of Spanish Flu , where the streets of London are crippled by the epidemic, violence and fear. The vampires emerge from the chaos, to prey on those too foolish, desperate or unlucky enough to become a victim.
You will play Jonathan E. Reid, a high-ranking military surgeon, transformed into a vampire upon his return from the frontline.
Fulfill missions, given to you from the multitude of characters in the game and satisfy your urge to feed. Be warned though, although all characters are potential victims, which should you choose? You’ll need to observe and hunt carefully. Watch how your intended victim interacts with the other characters in the game. Seduce them, lure them into a lonely alley, change their daily habits, just make sure you know what you’re doing as each death will affect the world around you.
The more you feed, the more you’ll unlock your vampiric powers too. These will include some melee combat powers and some ranged combat skills.
It’s starting to look a lot like Wesley Snipes might be running for cover.
Vampyr is scheduled for a 2017 release, so you’ve got time for a nice sleep in that wooden box over there.
With E3 just around the corner our good friends at Focus Home Interactive have revealed their line-up including presentations of the games by the developers + hands-on sessions. In addition to this they’ll be some exciting new announcements, which will be showcased behind closed doors. If you are heading to E3 this year below you’ll find the list of the games you will be able to take a look at, or even try at the Focus Home Interactive booth (West Hall 5312), next month.
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition (PS4, Xbox One, PC), the multi-award winning RPG developed by Larian Studios arrives on consoles, with a load of new features and enhanced graphics.
Blood Bowl 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), developed by Cyanide Studio, smashes Games Workshop’s Warhammer and American football together, in an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour and brutality.
The Technomancer (PS4, Xbox One and PC), a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic RPG set in a cyberpunk world from studio Spiders, that will bring you to the hazardous red planet.
Mordheim: City of the Damned (Consoles (but which ones?), PC) is the videogame adaptation of Games Workshop’s cult classic tabletop game. This is a turn-based strategy game that blends RPG elements, fast-paced tactical combat and intricate unit customization in a time wrought by chaos and rivalry.
Space Hulk Deathwing (PS4, Xbox One, PC) by Streum On Studio is a First-Person Shooter experience of Games Workshop’s classic boardgame Space Hulk, set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC), developed by Tindalos Interactive, is the real-time strategy adaptation of Games Workshop’s tabletop game, that stages the dark, deadly and intense space battles from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Farming Simulator 2015 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox360, PC, Mac, Vita) joins E3 after its recent release on consoles. Developer Giants Software will tell you more about the future edition, and will unveil the first official Farming Simulator wheel controller, created by Saitek. You can read our review of Farming Simulator 2015 here.
Act of Aggression (PC), the new real-time strategy game on PC from Wargame creator Eugen Systems. Act of Aggression draws inspiration from the Golden Era of RTS titles, with a unique near-future techno thriller ambiance. Watch the teaser
Vampyr, the RPG from DontNod, will unveil its first teaser trailer at E3!