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VAMPYR (PS4) Review

We all have a crystalline image of what it means to be a vampire. A being of the night , who feeds on the blood of the living and who is able to move at breakneck speed. Your skin burns when it comes in contact with sunlight; It also burns when touching a sacred object. Garlic works as a natural repellent, or at least that’s what most people think. Not so in Vampyr, the new work of Dontnod Entertainment , creators of titles such as Life is Strange and Remember Me. Although his vampires share some characteristics , one of the characters in the game comments ironically that this conception of vampirism comes from the Dracula of Bram Stoker, an author who died a few years before the events narrated in the work. What is clear is that in Vampyr nobody survives by hanging a string of garlic on their doorstep. 

The origin of the myth is lost in the currents of time. Matthew Beresford, author of From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Vampire Myth, assures that there are “clear foundations” that attest to the existence of vampire legends in classical times, although “it is impossible” to prove when they arose. The indications are that “vampires were born in ancient Egypt ” by means of spells and black magic. Later, in medieval times, “historians explain that the succession of plagues that plagued Europe between the 1300s and 1700s fostered the belief in vampires, mainly because the decomposition of the corpses was not well understood,” they say. the HuffPost. “When the gravediggers reopened the mass graves they saw bodies swollen by gas, with long hair and blood coming out of their mouths, which made them believe they were alive.”

The city without lights

London, year 1918 . The First World War has ended and thousands of soldiers have returned to their homes. The return, however, has been bitter for many people. The British capital suffers from the so-called Spanish flu . In their streets lie the dead and putrefied corpses of the dead, which number in the hundreds. They are victims, but also indirect executioners, because they have become the main source of contagion. According to XL Weekly, the disease “was more lethal than the world wars. The Spanish flu of 1918 ended with between 50 and one hundred million people around the world. ” The first case was registered at Camp Funston, in Kansas. It was a military training base that sent soldiers to the fronts of the Great War. In this way, the pestilence traveled to Europe through the trenches. As you can see, he had little Spanish, but as the country was neutral and the press could write freely about it, foreign countries-not unintentionally-used that denomination thereafter.

In that atmosphere of inclemency and putrefaction , Dr. Jonathan Reid wakes up in a gutter, surrounded by empty shells. He remembers having died and he does not explain how he has been able to return to life. He feels strange in his own body, with all the magnified instincts. Only a few weeks ago he saved lives on the fronts as a military doctor and took care of his wounded comrades, whatever the conditions. 

Vampyr (PS4) screenshot

Back in the present, he walks a few lame steps and finds himself with a familiar face, that of his sister. Unable in the temptation of the smell of blood , it bites him in the neck until draining it. The doctor, a man of science, has transformed himself into an ekon, into a supernatural creature, which is traditionally known as a vampire . It is not the only type of bloodsucker . The skals are primitive beings that scarcely have conscience, they kill everyone who crosses their path and are rejected by the ekon. Finally, the Vulkods are the most powerful vampires. 

Since his conversion, the doctor tries to understand his new state. In essence, it is a struggle between reason and the most basic instincts. Whether the balance tilts to one side or the other depends on the player, since with his decisions he will choose who lives and who dies. This internal strugglethat the character lives is reflected equally in the person who is at the controls. The developers have wanted the user to reflect on the consequences of their actions. At the same time, they have discarded Manichaeism and designed three-dimensional characters. A person may be acting quarrelsome and swindling money. But what if he uses those shillings to feed his son? What happens if a doctor has been negligent once, but has saved many lives since then? Do you deserve to die for your mistakes?

Vampyr (PS4) screenshot

Vampyr is a role-playing game in which the narrative prevails, but which does not forget the gameplay. The city is divided into different districts , in whose houses or streets live the sixty characters with whom we can interact. And it is that Dr. Reid has the ability to cure or kill. If you drink the blood, it will evolve faster and you will get experience points that you can redeem for new combat skills and some improvements. It is enough to captivate the victim, as long as their level is equal to or lower than ours. Of course, if you kill many citizens, the state of the district will worsen to the point that it may close completely. 

With such precarious hygiene conditions and in the midst of an epidemic, health is the first thing that suffers. Jonathan Reid is, above all, a doctor of recognized prestige, so he is able to manufacture medicines and cure the citizens. The player decides if he acts as a good Samaritan or does so only and exclusively so that the quality of the blood improves and the experience points are increased. As the quality of life goes down, the citizens disappear and the monsters begin to roam at ease. Fortunately, killing is not the only solution. Completing side missions also gives experience.  

Vampyr (PS4) screenshot

In a title with these characteristics, conversations are crucial . All of Vampyr’s characters have their secrets, which we reveal talking to them and other characters in their social circle. Some secondary missions and certain objects give us hints that we use in the dialogues to open new lines of investigation. Therefore, if we kill a character before time, we may never discover the mystery that other individuals hide. The stories of the characters are interconnected. Somehow, it gives the impression that the game prefers not to kill , at least until the tracks come to light. 

Some walks in London

The game structure is open world , although the map is not too big. Of course, there is no quick trip and the distances are long sometimes, especially because not all roads are open, so it is necessary to consult the map to avoid disorientation. In addition, moving through the avenues is not easy, as a night curfew has come into force, precisely when the doctor goes outside. The Vampire Slayer guards are scattered around the scenes and will not hesitate to attack without asking, as well as the supernatural creatures that swarm around London.

Here comes into play the combat system , which has two types of physical attacks, the option to dodge and the possibility of using short and long range weapons. On the other hand, there are also vampiric abilities, a series of special powers that consume blood, so we will do well to bite the adversary if we want to recover power. Each type of enemy has weaknesses that the player will have to exploit to their advantage. In short, fighting is fun, but in some aspects it feels a bit rough and the camera plays tricks. 

Vampyr (PS4) screenshot

Dontnot must improve performance , which without being catastrophic, occasionally suffers severe slowdowns. In PS4 Pro, from time to time, the image remains frozen for a few seconds, certainly annoying. Anyway, the patch of day one has not been published yet, so the problem seems to be fixed. 

Beyond the struggles and conversations, Vampyr encourages the exploration of scenarios. Through letters and documents, what happened to the city and its people is told. Also, Dr. Reid will also find materials that he will use to make weapons and make medicines. The recipes are obtained in shelters, safe places where the vampire can hide and devote his time to science.

Vampyr (PS4) screenshot

The richness of the story and the characters of Vampyr deserves to be accompanied by aesthetics. It is obvious that this is not a leading title at a technical or graphic level. However, Dontnod has managed to capture to perfection the decadent spirit of the city. Its art director, Gregory Szucs, traveled to London to investigate and document. The result is quite good, above combined with the soundtrack composed by Olivier Derivière. The stringed instruments contribute to enhance the internal conflict that lives the character, his struggle between his scientific self and his new nature. Sadness, melancholy, terror. This is Jonathan Reid, at least the new Reid. 

Analysis of the PS4 Pro version. 

conclusion

Jonathan Reid is a reputable scientist, but his life turns upside down when they turn him into a vampire. On the one hand, his critical and rational spirit comes into conflict with his most basic instincts. On the other, remorse spoils his mind, for he has killed to feed on human blood, that of his beloved sister. The story takes place in London in 1918. After the First Great War, the Spanish flu epidemic has attacked without mercy. In that stage of rot, the darkest creatures emerge from the underworld.

Vampyr, the newest of the parents of Life is Strange, is an action RPG that does not neglect combat, very funny-although basic and a bit rough-but focuses its attention on the narrative. The story of the protagonist and the rest of the characters invites us to investigate and to talk, to discover the hidden track. Dontnod has conceived his new work as a way for the player to reflect on his actions and their consequences. There are no good or bad characters in absolute terms, since the study has moved on a gray scale. If you decide to kill, even if you are tempted to think that you are killing someone because that person is a human spoil, you will not find consolation, since most dark individuals have some reason that has led them astray.

As players, we must consider whether it is a better option to take the fast track-to take lives to obtain experience and develop the skill tree-or to go step by step and take care of the sick at the cost of having some other problem in the fighting. In any case, the title offers the tools to develop the character in other ways, although the process is slower.

The post-war London looks that haggard and dark aspect so characteristic. During his journey, Jonathan Reid will travel through all the districts in search of his goals. Vampyr works as an open world game, even though the map is not too wide. Even so, you miss the quick trip. Dontnod must also adjust the performance a bit, which without being terrible, can be improved.

 

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