*DISCLAIMER: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS AND SOLUTIONS TO PUZZLES*
In my time off over Christmas, Alex and I thought it would be a good idea to try to get the platinum trophy on Vampyr for the PS4. In the end we eventually got it for both of us, and I thought the game would be a good subject for a blog.
DONTNOD’s Vampyr isn’t just your standard vampire game where you wander around hunting vampires or normal people (if you’re a vampire.)
The game is set in London during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic – something that plays a little close to home at the moment. You play as Jonathan Reid, a doctor who is returning home from the trenches of World War I. At the start of the game you wake up in a mass grave – bet that smells lovely – and discover that you’re now a vampire – or Ekon as you learn they’re called. The game follows Dr. Reid through different parts of turn-of-the-century London, including the boroughs of; Whitechapel, Southwark and The West End, as he tries to find out what happened to him and what is really behind the vampire epidemic that’s hit London.
Through your playthrough you have two to options, to kill or not to kill. You will meet around a dozen characters in each borough which you can choose to kill – or embrace as it’s called in game. Which choice you choose affects how difficult the game is and what upgrades you can get.
As an Ekon, Dr. Reid has different abilities; from being able to hide in the shadows, to jumping to distant places easily, and making the ground beneath an enemy boil and burst with what look like pustules – nice eh?
As you continue your journey through London you will meet a number of citizens. You’re able to talk to these characters with a series of branching dialogue options, learn more about them, cure any disease they may have (more on that soon), and embrace them. Embracing them too soon will give you less XP, turn other characters against you and you may also lose certain in game items.
The branching dialogue options include hints that will give you allow you to learn more about the character and their story as it relates to the world and characters around them. Gaining more of these hints as they’re called, will raise the amount of XP you get when you embrace them.
Each character can also get sick. There are a number of ailments – including headaches, sepsis, fatigue, and pneumonia – and cures for said illnesses which you can craft using the workbenches in safe houses you will find dotted around the city. As you progress you will learn more cures but based on your actions, you may not be able to learn some of them, so be careful. The characters UI will show you which characters are sick and need your help, if you leave them too long they may even die – you know, just like real life.
There’s a fair bit going on in Vampyr, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming at any time and everything fits and doesn’t feel superfluous.
Eventually you will learn what’s going and will come face to face with some of the games enemies and bosses.
The main enemies of the game that you will meet often in the streets are the Skals – a lower form of feral vampire – and humans who are members of group called The Guard of Priwen – who are basically vampire hunters. Thrown in with these enemies are Sewer Beasts – werewolves – and Vulkod – which are huge tough enemies that look like they will crush your skull with a single look.
When you’ve got enough XP built up from killing, healing or completing quests. You can learn new skills and level up. This is done at the bed in one of the Dr. Reid’s safe houses. When you sleep, it progresses game time to the following night. Before you start your night, you can see who has gotten sick and what state the district is in – Hint, if it drops into hostile; bad things happen. You will also see the consequences of your actions with short newspaper articles that say how the characters in that district are doing.
So that’s the game in a nutshell. Now I’ll do a bit of a review.
Vampyr was a game that I was waiting for it to come out, but it was one of the ones that for some reason I didn’t go out and buy straight away. It was one I picked up for cheap in a PS Store sale.
I enjoyed it from the outset though and I quickly found that I enjoyed the mix of RPG and horror. The added historical factor and the fact that it brought in Spanish flu was also big tick. I played through my first game without killing anyone – other than the guy at the beginning which is a kind of tutorial – but by the end of it I was in the kind of mood where nomming londoners felt like the right choice, so before the end boss I went around and did a bit of chomping on necks – very satisfying, I might add. Oh yeah, to refill your blood meter, you can also nom on rats which Reid tells you on a regular basis is “disgusting” and he “can’t believe he’s doing this.”
The game isn’t without it’s problems though. Through our many playthroughs on the way to the platinum trophy we had a lot – and I mean A LOT – of games crashes. After a while we figured it was because we were skipping dialogue or cutscenes and it didn’t seem to like it. This didn’t stop our overall enjoyment of the game though as the glitches we found were few and far between.
The graphics are pretty good, if sometimes a little rough around the edges but that just goes with the overall aesthetic of the game.
The different view that Reid has where he tunes in to the darkness and can see blood lit up like a very bloody Christmas tree also works very well.
The cut scenes between chapters also add that little bit extra as they are just single images but are so well done that they work amazingly.
Vampyr is enjoyable and is quite pretty to look at. The story elements are well put together and along with the different ways you can choose to upgrade and play out the story it makes it playable, at least a few times. If you’re a trophy hunter and want to go for the platinum you’ll need a minimum of two playthroughs anyway. The voice acting is good, if a little over the top at times, but nothing too bad. Overall I’d give this game a rating of ⭐⭐⭐⭐. It has it’s problems, but it’s still a great game, and I would recommend to any RPG lovers out there.
You can find Vampyr on the Playstation and XBox stores, it’s also on PSNow but unfortunately not XBox Game Pass.
At the top of this post I warned about spoilers and a solution to one of the puzzles. The puzzle in question is one you need to solve in order to get one of the games best weapons the Recollection of Paulus Aurelianus. As the solutions I found online were a little lacking in detail I thought I post one here in case anyone needs assistance with it.
First off, you’re best off collecting all the in game artifacts. These consist of various written documents that give more in depth detail about the Vampyr world. Several of these items will have a small white dot in the top left hand corner and will display one of 4 symbols – fish, circle, square, diamond – along with what looks like the face of a dice – this is the order in which you need to step on the corresponding symbol. One of the documents, available from a side-quest gives the placement of the symbol. Mine was as below, but on another playthrough the circle and square symbols were on opposite sides, so watch out for that.
Once you have all the documents and symbols, you need to go to the area of Temple Church, where a character named Usher Talltree will be found. In the room before Usher will be 4 pressure plates in the floor. The symbols in the document above correspond to those plates. You then need to step on them in the order that your documents give you. In our multiple playthroughs the order remained the same only the placement of the symbols differed slightly.
The order is as follows; Fish, Circle, Square, Circle, Fish, Diamond.
When stepping on each symbol you need to be sure that the previous plate has risen back up. If you do it to quickly the code won’t work and the hidden door won’t open. If you do it right the wall in front of the fish plate will slide open and you can pick up the weapon.
I’ve marked up a couple of screenshots below to see the way that you should face and the order of the symbols from my playthrough.
I hope this helps, and good luck out there.