London, 1918, at the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic, Dr. Jonathan Reid awakens in a mass grave, newly reborn as a vampire.

That’s where Vampyr begins. A semi-open world RPG in the vein of Grand Theft Auto, The Elder Scrolls, and the like–Vampyr brings an entirely new approach to this particular genre of video gaming. It is, all at once, familiar and completely fresh. But what is Vampyr about, exactly?

As the aforementioned Dr. Jonathan Reid, players are given complete control over the play style of the game. You can be a pacifist, upholding the Hippocratic Oath and looking for a cure for the Spanish Flu as well as the burgeoning wave of vampirism, or you can succumb to your baser instincts and live as the bloodthirsty hunter you have become. Yes, this means you can play this game without engaging in most combat situations–great for stealth gamer fans of Metal Gear Solid or Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. Or, you can face down the denizens of London head-on in melee that, at times, would make Dark Souls blush. To add to things, your play style informs the way the game plays to a degree I can’t even begin to describe.

“Head-on in melee that, at times, would make Dark Souls blush.”

One of the more unique features of the game, and honestly, one of my favorites, is the Social Circle system. London is a city full of unique characters, all with their own motivations and agendas. Truthfully, it’s a little overwhelming at first. But once you dive into the lore of the game and begin to see exactly how your actions affect those around you, this becomes a marvelous addition to the world. Within these Social Circles (separated by districts of the city), innumerable investigations are opened to the players, allowing you to get to the bottom of each NPC the game throws at you. Eavesdropping on NPCs outside of conversations with them might even allow you to glean some extra information.

So, all this is well and good, but how does it play?

The control scheme is remarkably intuitive. As someone who tends to dive head first into games and ignores tutorials, every instinctual move I made corresponded to what I believed would be the appropriate command. The upgrade system for new vampiric abilities is very simple but full of possibilities. And speaking of vampiric abilities, I’ll say the “Vampire Sense” the game provides you with is one of the most simplistic and brilliant things I’ve ever seen.

“The creature designs in this are gnarly, and I LOVE it.”

Graphically, Vampyr is solid. It’s not the most gorgeous game I’ve played this year, but what it lacks in definition, it %100 makes up for in design. Because, MAN, some of the creature designs in this are gnarly. And I LOVE it. Some of the voice acting seemed rather stilted at first, but that generally cleaned up along the way. As an aside, the voice actors portraying the NPCs of the game truly shine. There are a lot of very natural sounding performances there. As for story, it took a bit for this one to really dig its hooks in, but by about the 5 hour mark, I started to see where the threads were leading and I really got into it.

Vampyr is something truly unique. In terms of sheer playability, this game has knocked it out of the park. I sunk over 20 hours into this (the 2nd most I’ve played a game in 2018) and I don’t think I’ve gotten anywhere close to “done”. Brass tacks, there’s no doubt this is worth the price tag.

Vampyr is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. A review copy of the game was provided to Modern Horrors for review.