Vampyr: Pre-Alpha Review - An RPG Like No Other?

Grizzy Jan 18, 2018

  1. Grizzy

    XPG Administrator

    Mar 21, 2015
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    To get you up to speed, Vampyr is an upcoming action role-playing game by Dontnod Entertainment -- the very same developers who brought us the multi award-winning game, Life is Strange. That being said, you can look forward to an epic story-driven RPG, that is hopefully filled with the same depth as their other titles.

    Vampyr, as the name suggests, is centered on vampires, and it will be available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The story begins during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. You start as a doctor turned vampire, with an unnerving thirst for blood. You’ll be confronted with difficult situations, and the outcome of these will rely solely on your decisions and actions.

    Though it is still in development, many fans are already hyped about the game’s conflicted protagonist. Not to mention, the trailer showcases some of what could be expected of in the completed game, and there is a lot to like.

    These observations and commentary are based on the pre-alpha gameplay and footage available right now, so a lot can change -- or a lot could stay the same like Mass Effect: Andromeda. Looking through the pre-alpha gameplay of an RPG I’m excited about really reminded me of the expectations I had for ME: Andromeda that ended up falling short. I’ll continue to touch upon comparisons between the two games in this “first look” article.


    The game is played in a third-person perspective, and you’ll be controlling the game’s protagonist, Dr. Jonathan E. Reid. Being a vampire, you’ll have an insatiable hunger for blood. Either resist it or give in, both options are plausible to win the game.

    Converse with the community as a doctor and gather sensitive information. Find a cure and save the city from the impending influenza plague. Or use your…skills as a vampire to solve quests in a slightly more bloody way. Like other Dontnod titles, the game will revolve around your decisions and actions— meaning you’ll have to choose wisely...or save often ;)

    • User Interface:
    The UI in the pre-alpha gameplay is not great, but it’s not bad either. It could use a little improvement. But since the game is being released to both PC’s and consoles, the UI was probably modified to better cater to both platforms.

    • Levelling up and Skill Tree:
    As with most action RPGs, enough experience gathered from quests and kills will level up your character. Which in turn will allow you to gain stats and abilities that will help you progress in the game.

    And again, as with most RPGs, Once you level up, you can choose a certain skill from the skill trees provided to you. In Vampyr’s case these would be: your social abilities, shadow skills, or instincts.

    • Combat:
    As seen with some gameplay trailers released, it is somewhat generic and looks fairly easy. By generic, I mean the usual hand to hand combat with knives, swords and some magic. I know it’s pre-alpha, but I was hoping to be shown a little more creativity in this department.


    With numerous videos showcasing the dialogues and gameplay, we couldn’t help but feel thankful to the voice actors. Though there are only a few facial expressions to compliment these voices, it helps the game become a little more immersive.

    The soundtracks is okay. It’s not the best, but since the game focuses on narrative, dialogue and story, it’s understably a background feature.


    There’s no denying that the architectural designs of some of the buildings are fantastic. In fact, most of the environments already look beautifully done, and there is a nice use of HD textures, blurs, and shading enhancements. A lot of the physical and combat animations look great already too! But sadly the same can’t be said for the facial details and expressions so far…

    In their defense, the amount of dialogue paths packed into the game is probably massive. And I know this is pre alpha footage but I’d think Dontnod would have learned from ME:Andromeda’s pitfalls, whether it be in early demos or finished product. Hopefully the often dull eyes of the characters and lack of emotion in the facial expression will be improved upon.

    Release Date:

    The game is set to be released during the 1st or 2nd quarter (1Q/2Q) of 2018. However I’d advise you to not get your hopes too high up; this would is Vampyr’s second release date announced. It was originally due out back in November, 2017, but due to technical issues encountered by the developers or publishers, it was rescheduled.

    Final Thoughts:

    Overall, the game looks awesome, and it has me really hopeful. Its --at times-- unique take on the genre looks promising, and it has many of the right elements to be successful -- if these elements are fully realized.

    Right now in the pre-alpha state Vampyr also looks like an amalgam of other RPG games at times. Hopefully these classic RPG tropes become more detailed and infused with unique Dontnod goodness. Hopefully the choices we are forced to make are more nuanced than simply light side / dark side, paragon / renegade, etc.

    What we do know now is that the game has already received positive reviews from numerous websites, bloggers, and streamers. And personally I have a lot of hope for it. And even though I’ll be following the games’ progress closely over the next few crucial months before release, I don’t think I’ll be preordering it. I’m still receiving from the preorder heartbreak of ME: Andromeda :(





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