VAMPYR – Review

Apart from the soon to be released “Wolf and the Crow” novel, I also write for a gaming and geek culture blog called The Late Night Session. My Xbox gamer tag is “Grocs” and I do enjoy a bit of gaming to relax.

Back in the second half of 2018 a narrative driven RPG game came out called Vampyr. I was curious at the time of release, but because I had so many other games still to finish, I held off on a day one purchase.

Fast forward to the first half of 2019 and I was pleasantly surprised to see Vampyr had made its way to Xbox Game Pass. With this fantastic addition to the game subscription setvice I started playing it. While not perfect, it is a really good game and has a fantastic story.

Unlike other games in the genre, the melee and ranged weapons are excellent. Each creature and human has their own strengths and weaknesses, which you develop your abilities and weapons around.

At the simplest level, Vampyr is a 3rd person action RPG that places you in the 1918, during World War 1. You play Dr. Jonathan Reid, a brilliant physician who is world renowned for his cutting edge blood transfusion research. What transpires very early on in the game is that you are bitten by a creature of the night and subsequently are reborn as a vampire.

The story telling aspect of this game is exceptional. As you grow in your new found powers as a young Ekon (the more civilised name and what vampires call each other) you discover a lot of people in various districts of London. Most of the game is set at night, as you don’t really venture out in the day due to obvious reasons. Conversations and building trust with the local population is very important for a number of reasons.

The cut scenes during each of the chapters are well done.

This is where the game truly gets interesting. It has an amazing game mechanic where can elect to feed on the blood of these innocent citizens (calling some innocent is a bit of a stretch) and you will collect a lot of XP by doing so. This XP can be used to develop your vampire like powers, but the district suffers as a result. In London in 1918 The Spanish Flu was a plague of massive proportions and as Jonathan, you can either try and help the citizens by making various medicines, or you can simply drain them of blood and get quite powerful as a vampire.

Jonathon Reid is a very well crafted character. The time period is also excellent.

This is one of the things that makes the game so interesting. If you take the easy way to build up your character, you effectively become a bad guy of sorts, preying on all the civilians. If you elect to try and help the citizens (I did this for most part) it takes you longer to level up and gain XP because you are getting XP by doing other things, like helping the people. You really develop a connection with all of these fleshed out characters. The right and wrong answers in the conversation dialogue is not that clear cut, and there is no manual save option. If you make a mistake, you’ll have to live with your decision for the rest of the play through.

The graphics are quite good, though not as cutting edge as you might be use to. They do set the sombre Gothic tone for a plague ravaged London very well. The sound is suitably gruesome and foreboding. I think the different vampire powers, combined with traditional weapons that you can upgrade (via gathering the appropriate materials) are all excellent.

I think my complete play through took between 20-30 hours and it only became a touch repetitive towards the end. Remember, I played the “good” vampire, which meant levelling up took more time. The only slight let downs for me was that the same monsters re-spawned when you revisited an area in the same chapter, and there is no fast travel. There is plenty to explore, and it is worth your time collecting materials and samples to improve your crafting, but it did slow it down just a touch more than necessary.

Despite these minor drawbacks I really enjoyed this game and look forward to a sequel. Even though a sequel hasn’t been formerly announced I think there is a strong chance of one coming because Vampyr did actually sell quite well.

Check it out – I think Vampyr is a good solid action rpg, with an excellent art style. The game is well worth your time and available on multiple gaming platforms.

What is your gaming platform of choice and what sort of games do you like to play? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Reviewed on the Xbox One X. Stock images used.

My Favourite Fantasy Novels and Authors

I read when I can. I don’t compare at all to my wife’s voracious absorption of books but still love delving into great worlds.

Lately I’ve been reading the translated works of Andrezej Sapkowski, who has written quite a few novels on The Witcher series. I’ve never read them before despite originally being written twenty odd years ago. If you enjoyed playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt then I think you’ll feel right at home with these novels.

Start with The Last Wish if you want to give this excellent series a go. The translation is quite good, and their is a true sense of realism and grey characters within these books.

As a kid growing up my favourite fantasy series was The Dragonlance Chronicles. Like most kids of that golden age of the 70s and 80s I enjoyed Dungeons & Dragons, and as a result read a lot of the Dragonlance books when I was younger.

Haven’t read this trilogy in a while, but it still holds up really well. A good trilogy for teens and young adults.

Currently my favourite fantasy writer is Joe Abercrombie. If you haven’t read any of this author’s work, do yourself a favour and read The First Law trilogy. The first novel is The Blade Itself. The other standalone books after this trilogy was written are pretty good too, with Red Country being a stand out (make sure you read the trilogy first).

May not be to everyone’s tastes, but I love this trilogy.

Although Fiona McIntosh doesn’t write fantasy anymore, her first trilogy The Quickening, which starts with Myrren’s Gift is fantastic and the best fantasy trilogy this author has written in my humble opinion.

I still regard this as Fiona McIntosh’s best fantasy work. The whole trilogy is excellent, but definitely adult fiction.

What are your favourite fantasy authors and books? Please feel free to post your comments below.

About the Author

With the release of the first book in the Ebonsheare Chronicles getting closer, I thought I’d share a little bit about myself.

I live in Queensland, Australia in an amazing rural area. Mountains, trees and native wildlife are everywhere to be found. It is also an amazingly quiet place to write.

I am happily married, and basically serve the needs of Chad, our New Zealand Kelpie, and Shadow, our black tabby. Chad is four years old, while Shadow (being the boss) is a bit older at eight.

Shadow in his usual winter spot of taking up most of my recliner.

I’ve always had a creative spark in me, and writing is my favourite form of creativity. Before working on my first novel, I also wrote numerous posts and reviews on gaming. My gamertag is Grocs, and you’ll find quite a bit via a great gaming and geek related blog called www.thelatenightsession.com

I actually also work in IT at a large university in Queensland, and enjoy that type of work as well. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I love being creative, but also have a very good logical mind as well.

One of Chad’s favourite pastimes is sleeping.

Apart from writing I enjoy playing golf, plus do my fair share of reading and console gaming. I’m particularly enjoying how virtual reality is developing as a storytelling medium.

I’m very excited to soon release the first book in a series that I think is a great story. I’ll be discussing those themes in more detail in the lead up to the launch of Wolf and the Crow.

I’ll always answer questions and comments, so feel free to post.

Until next time 🙂

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Cover design is complete. The contents of the book are being designed.

ETA on launch – late June / early July, 2019