Vampyr was already a pretty decent game when it hit PC and consoles last year, but does this blood-sucking escapade hold up well on the Nintendo Switch?
Vampyr puts you in the role of Jonathan Reid, a doctor that had been away at war but returns to London to find it under siege by a deadly illness and vampires. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also gets attacked by one of those vampires himself and ends up turning into one of the creatures of the night – perfect, right? Looking to investigate the illness and his own vampirism, he begins work at a local hospital and starts to look into the shady folk that inhabit the murky streets of London.
This means investigating both the people and locales around you, completing an assortment of missions, upgrading your vampiric abilities, and learning as much about the illness as possible. You’ll use your persuasive vampiric skills to have NPCs reveal their deepest secrets to you, whilst your decisions throughout can change up the world (and the ending you’ll get in the end). London is very well represented with its desolate atmosphere, whilst it’s fairly large in size – this can be a pain thanks to the lack of a fast-travel, but scouring across it never feels like too much of a liability thanks to just how impressive it feels.
Being a vampire is pretty brilliant in-game, with your mixture of abilities (both combat and traversal) really capturing the vibe of being a blood-sucking beast perfectly. You’re able to upgrade and unlock new abilities as you progress – the best way to earn upgrade points is by sucking the blood of the NPCs around you, but that sees the district they inhabit having a drop in safety. A healthy district is full of NPCs that are live and well, but kill too many and it’ll get turned into a desolate hellhole where nobody is safe. It’s a case of ‘risk versus reward’, but a clever mechanic that allows you to play in different ways.
NPCs offer more upgrade points if you’ve improved your relationship with them by clearing side-missions. Some of these missions are a bit bland and don’t offer much variety, with them mostly involving finding an item/person or killing some baddies. The combat itself isn’t up to much either – your abilities are great, sure, but the combat mechanics themselves are fairly simple and make most showdowns just feel a little repetitive. These problems are minor in the grand scheme of things, but they do make Vampyr feel more like a decent action-adventure as opposed to a great one.
When Vampyr initially released on consoles, it had a fair few technical issues – it looked good, but the frame rate would drop and loading times could be long… it made me a little worried about how it’d actually play on the Nintendo Switch. I’m happy to say then that I was pleasantly surprised at its performance on the console, with the visuals holding up well and the frame rate mostly consistent. Sure, it can drop on occasions and some textures across London are blurry (it’s a lower resolution here), but it’s hard not to be impressed by the overall presentation.
Vampyr holds up pretty well on the Nintendo Switch, with the vampiric abilities at your disposal and the whole ‘risk versus reward’ tied to sucking NPC’s blood proving to be a neat little mechanic. Of course, it still has its flaws from the first time around such as the repetitive combat and bland side-missions, but they don’t stop it from being an enjoyable game overall.
If you’re looking for visual fidelity and the smoothest experience, you’re better off playing on a different platform. If you’re itching to play Vampyr on the go though, this Switch port is a more than adequate way to enjoy the adventure.
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment, Saber Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC