As the subject says, I have just completed my first playthrough. I chose to go for the 'Not Even Once' playthrough style and wanted to share my opinions of my experience with the game.
1: The story in itself is one of the greatest vampire tales I've ever come across. The voice acting is superb, but the actual story and how it progresses from start to finish was incredible.
2: I liked how the next day events occurred. Whilst its very flawed, I do like the message that even an immortal can do so much whilst others around them change and expire. But I also have problems with this equally.
3: The score was stunning. Eerie, melancholic, happy. Each sounded amazing and from experience from this type of story from movies and such, I think the music was perfect for this game. Even the main menu is worth hanging abut just to hear that amazing tune.
4: I heard one of the major problems with the game was with how clunky the controls felt, especially in combat. Now most of gaming genre experience comes from hack & slash, RPG, action adventure and I have to say that whilst the combat is very limited in the playthrough I experienced which I touch on as fault, the actual controls and feel were well made indeed. It was easy to switch between fighting multiple enemies and even the auto-lock and camera system for it worked very well.
1: Lack of fast travel. Whilst its not the biggest map of any game, its certainly filled with the old style 'Fetch and Return' style quests. This very quickly becomes so tiresome that it does become a struggle to want to play. If not for the story I would have rated this as one of the worst games to be released that I've experienced during the PS4 era.
2: Auto-save system only. Yes I understand the devs wanted the whole 'Reap what you sow' experience, but you have to realise that we gamers have much more to get done in life other than to keep having to restart this game due to either incorrectly pressing a certain button or for forgetting to ask something earlier on.
3: The 'Not Even Once' experience is quite possibly the worst way to play this game. Forget the story for a moment but lets focus on the actual gameplay. Usually in games where you're tasked with taking no lives, its usually because the game features stealth gameplay. Vampyr has no such style other than the odd sneak attack that you can get in. So basically the 'Not Even Once' playthrough has the playing through the game with next to no skill upgrades and doing the same couple of movesets until you reach the end. I think it took me about 25hrs to do this playthrough (not including multiple restarts because of the damn autosave system and errors the game can make) and I think by the end of chapter 2 I had pretty much done all the moves I could afford to purchase with such low XP earned, making for a rather tedious playthrough. That coupled with the lack of fast travel and such to avoid some battles is the reason I will never attempt another playthrough.
There is also a major problem with one of the characters on the docs. Whilst the trophy has the moral value of not taking life, it then makes you keep alive an man who admits to being a serial killer. Now in a playthrough where you can pick and choose your own style of justice you could infact make sense of this. But when it comes to the NEO requirements it makes no sense. And coming back with a response of 'This is all part of the reap what you sow experience' is again flawed because all it does in show that the protagonist is a coward and only trying to suit his own interests rather than the big picture. Even without killing him, for a pure playthrough Johnathan could have easily suggest having him reported to the authorities, even if it was to the guard because they do not accept the taking of human lives unless it interjects with their main objective.
4: The XP system is badly designed. Upgrade whilst you sleep? I'm sorry but you gain knowledge by being awake, not whilst you're sleeping. This then led to having to go attend to the sick each time which again became very tiresome due to the lack of a fast travel. Never before in a game have I not looked forward to upgrading skills for a character.
5: Some of the dialog for NPC's made no sense when trying to unlock more hints about them. Now off the top of my head the one which really confused me was with the young lady who work at the pub in the docks area. Eventually you get to ask her why she carries a gun. She tells you its because of what its like in the area with monsters, murderers and whatnot. Yet if you choose to respond with 'I understand', this then locks you out of her next hint. This had me very confused because clearly if the docks are surrounded by murderers, gangs, monsters and all other sorts of danger, you would understand why the poor girl wants to carry a gun. It seems the writers of this part used todays modern morals to suit a violent fantasy world.
6: Weapon upgrades. This is badly flawed but don't be offended as 90% of games that have this feature all have the same problem. 10 years or so in gaming discovering an assortment of weapons served its purpose due to each weapon having strengths and weaknesses against enemy types. What a create weapon set does is make wanting to collect all the fixed weapons as none will match your upgraded weapons and so you will ended up using one weapon type due to the vast majority being inferior. It never works and makes discovering pointless.
Now its 2019 and the game was released last year. Since I first footage of Vampyr around 2016, I was desperate for this game. Even in that early footage the story shown great promise. As it got closer and closer to its release date the more excited I got, but then come release day the reviews came in from game show companies, and more importantly from gamers themselves, and the faults reported just didn't justify paying full retail price for a game with such flaws.
Flaws aside the game feels very dated with its lack of fast travel, basic combat styles and fetch and return style of quests. That aside the main story was amazing and the dialog (whilst flawed in terms of unlocking further info in some cases) between NPC's was brilliantly done. I could have done with the repeated hatred dialog for hearing how the protagonist hates eating rats, but I suppose I would probably rant each time I had to eat one.
Do I regret buying the game. No.
Was it a gaming experience I could have easily lived without. Indeed.
Its by no means the worst game ever made, but its certainly poorly designed for this day an age in gaming.
I now have the platinum and feel now I can add more points.
After going for all the weapons, upgrades and hostile requirements I noticed this. If you want a great story experience then you go for the pure path but sadly this means your gameplay will very repetitive and dull. But should you go the more aggressive path then you indeed have much more fun with the combat at the expense of the story except for a different ending.
With that in mind. Its a shame they never put in a new game+ option to experience both sides but with a much quicker pace due to having much better combat abilities and such.
The story is what truly have blown me away though and not since the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles have I experienced such an intriguing story as much as this.
If I had to score it out of 10 I would rate it 6/10. Most of which is aimed at the story and the only reason to want to push on.