Friday, July 6, 2018

"'Vampyr' is a Deeply Flawed Game, But That's Exactly Why It's So Memorable"

While players do accrue some experience points by fighting random enemies and completing quests, they’re pennies compared to the amount of experience gained by killing the many NPCs you’ll spend dozens of hours with. Upfront, the developers warn how much harder the game will be if you don’t kill anyone, and if you want to upgrade your skills, this means making permanent choices on who lives and dies. Because the game is constantly saving, you can’t go back on a choice and see another way.

It took me hours before I decided to kill an NPC, a choice I put off as long as possible because in the early hours, as the game kept impressing upon me how important this was. Do you have to kill anyone? It wasn’t until I ran into a series of enemies too powerful to defeat that I talked through the pluses and minuses. Deep breath!


The first time you kill an NPC, regardless of their standing in the community, is absolutely haunting. You’re not just removing a random respawn from the world, but someone you spend time talking with, getting to know, and likely completing quests for. The screen darkens, clouded by a mist of blood, as you walk an entranced human into a place nobody is watching. You can back out of the decision at the last second, or “embrace” them and start drinking. It’s this moment when you get a final piece of dialogue from the character, a revelation that may confirm suspicions about who they are—or possibly undermine the reason you chose to kill them in the first place. When the latter happens, it’s a gut punch.