Confessions of a silly gamer, Take 2 – aka How trying to be a good Vampyr only made it worse
After my previously bittersweet experience as a gamer I decided to try an easier action RPG. Browsing through the PS Store I suddenly found a game that has been extensively recommended on many videos of a gaming channel that I follow.
Having read some reviews and after watching some gameplay – and since I was a big fan of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines – I decided that, despite the subject it dealt with, it did not look corny at all.
So, I wake up as a newly born vampire, confused and scared and not even 5 minutes into the game, I kill my sister. Then some random vampire hunters come and start chasing me and I have to outrun them and hide asap. And all I need to do is find out who turned me and why.
However, despite some rather brutal details that kind of go hand in hand with the fact that you are a vampire, and you need to hunt or be hunted, there is something quite profound in the experience.
Going a bit more into Vampyr, I find out that I am a doctor, a researcher of blood transfusion – oh the irony – and the urge that I subconsciously get is to help all the people I encounter. Which is quite tricky when you are a vampire.
And thus, the awesome game mechanics come at play: every choice you make affects you, the city around you and everything else that happens. So, when the game asks you to decide what you want to say or do, you are going all-in and whatever comes next is your own doing – or undoing.
The setting of Vampyr is quite beautifully constructed, the voice acting is perfect, and the atmosphere is spot-on. You are in London, in 1918, having just returned from the war and coming right in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic – perfect game for 2020, now really.
The posters on the walls of the buildings, the quarantined areas, the dark and gloomy alleyways make this into a very immersive experience. And the people, oh, the good and the scourge of London. The map is divided into districts and each one has its citizens who in their turn, have their own stories and sicknesses they have to deal with.
Now if you are a good vampire, you need to talk with every one of them and find a way to convince them to share all their secrets with you. And if they have a headache or pneumonia or some other disease you concoct a cure and give it to them. Thus, the district is healthy, and hell does not break loose in it.
If you are a scumbag, you can also choose to lure them into a dark corner and drink their blood. And apart from completing the main quest and some various chores from the other characters, this is the other way to gain the experience needed to raise in level and get abilities.
Small spoiler incoming, if you want to play even dirtier, you cure the characters, learn all the clues about them and get massive blood points when you drain them. Fun, no?
Now to throw in some context. Every time you go to sleep that is you go to level up and spend your blood points on abilities, another day goes by and the district`s health changes according to what you did or did not do meanwhile.
If the characters are alive and cured the health goes up, obviously, you good vampire doctor, but if some of the characters suddenly disappear, weeeeell, the bar goes down. And if the health is too low, things will get even darker – and yeah, darker IS possible.
There are several endings to Vampyr, depending on the path you choose throughout the game. Butterfly effect at its finest. I for one really tried to be good, I listened to almost everyone in the game.
Some are veeeeery boring and their petty problems did not interest me – as it happens in real life I suppose – but I really tried. I only killed the scourge – some crooks, a murderous bastard, and a prostitute -, and that I did with a heavy heart and only because my level was too low and I admit, I took the easy way out.
And then I made a really bad choice that turned the game around so quickly I did not even have time to realise what I have done. One stupid mistake and everything changed. Thanks for that precious life lesson, Vampyr!
I don`t want to end things in such an inconsolable note – seeing as this is a diary of a silly gamer – so I will say this. It was a pretty exciting experience, and sometimes I genuinely cared about some of the characters.
After all that is the beauty of a gaming adventure – you can experience it as a book, and you feel as though you had a great part in writing it. gamer gamer