After a two-year stint in Early Access that quickly established it as one of the more popular survival action-RPGs on PC, V Rising has now officially launched into 1.0. It also just so happens to be a ton of fun to play, with this vampiric adventure certainly living up to the hype in its full release.

Check out some screenshots down below:

V Rising sees players taking on the role of a vampire who, after hundreds of years in slumber, awakens to find themselves in a weakened state. It’s up to you to venture back out into the world, build up your power by slaying enemies, assert your supremacy on humanity to make them your servants, and establish yourself as the most dominant vampire across the continent of Vardoran. That’s actually putting the whole narrative into a nutshell, especially since there’s a lot of lore to be found across the world (the most interesting being the conflict with Dracula), but the core basis of your quest revolves around your thirst for power… and blood, of course. Lots and lots of blood.

When it comes to combat, V Rising’s core loop feels a lot like your typical action-RPG. Players will mash out an array of standard attacks against enemies, with the varied weapon types giving them a lot of options when it comes to playstyles. Swords, axes, maces, reapers, great swords, and so forth bring with them varying ways to battle up close and personal, whilst ranged weaponry like crossbows and pistols allow you to effectively deal with threats from afar. The recent crossover with Castlevania also allows you to fight Simon Belmont in order to unlock a whip, which is something fans of Konami’s vampire-slaying series are sure to appreciate. The different weapon types also bring with them varied weapon skills for players to take advantage of, giving them a tactical edge when looking to deal heavy damage on a target or by clearing enemies when utilising skills that cover a greater area of effect.

The combat is slick throughout, with V Rising getting all of the basics right to ensure showdowns with enemies are a lot of fun. It’s further complemented by the abilities you can use in battle – whilst the weapon skills are always useful, combining them with the variety of spells on offer can make players really feel like an all-powerful vampire with a ton of tricks up their sleeve. There is a rich selection of spells on offer that includes the likes of blasting out bloodsucking bolts against enemies, summoning a demon knight to fight alongside you, applying a barrier that can temporarily protect the player from all harm, smashing the ground to cause a shockwave, and so forth, whilst the fact they have varied casting times and cooldown periods means you have to be strategic in their use. And sure, this might sound like a LOT of other action RPGs you might have played, but V Rising really shows its strengths in the depth and variety found in its combat – both with your skillset and also with the enemies you face off against.

“Everything is fine-tuned to perfection to make for a gameplay loop that hooks you in and doesn’t let go, with so much to discover and build upon during your journey as a vampire.”

Whilst the combat of the game is compelling, V Rising’s greatest strengths lies in how it immerses players into the world. There’s a big emphasis placed on slaughtering villages to strengthen yourself, gathering materials, crafting equipment and objects, and then building your own castle base, so those familiar with crafting in the survival genre will feel right at home. However, in order to unlock recipes, you have to complete quests or track down and kill specific enemies that have Dracula’s knowledge bestowed upon them, which gives players a steady sense of progress as they unravel more of the world. There was nothing more satisfying than unlocking additional crafting options to build up my base, whilst scouring through the varied biomes of the world to find the necessary materials (as well as encountering new enemy types and quests) added an alluring sense of discovery to my playthrough. And, of course, you’re a vampire, so you have to plan out your actions to ensure you’re not out during the daytime hours where you’re at risk of being damaged by the sun. It adds to the survival elements of the game, which otherwise mostly relies on having a steady stream of blood.

Progression through the game is consistently rewarding, but it can be a little slow at times. Getting all of the resources you require to craft some goodies can take some time, whilst waiting for ores to smelt could feel like a drag when you just want to progress. Thankfully, players can fully fine-tune their experience and change all parameters in place to speed up this process – you can slow things down if you want a hardcore challenge, or you can speed everything up if you want to streamline things. This goes beyond crafting and resource gathering too, with V Rising giving players the freedom to change almost every aspect of how the game plays. It’s something that I have no doubt will be massively appreciated by the community, especially for those who want to play in multiplayer with friends.

And believe me, multiplayer is the BEST thing about V Rising. Getting to work with friends to explore the world, setup our bases, and become vampire overlords was absolutely fantastic, with the game’s core mechanics perfectly suiting co-operative play and teamwork. Being able to play on a private server where we could fine-tune every aspect of play made it even more enjoyable, and whilst I didn’t play the game in Early Access, my co-op buddies who did noted it was more accessible than before. I’ve had a blast with it, and honestly, I can easily see my playtime going into hundreds of hours before we’re done.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Or do you fancy something a little more… challenging? You can also play in servers with random players where anything can happen. Some are friendly enough and might even help you out in a fix, but other players will want nothing more than to kill you. They’re even able to attack the bases you establish, and believe me, there’s nothing worse than seeing a lot of hard work gone to waste. Honestly? It wasn’t for me, but I have no doubt that there are players who are going to have the most fun being part of a world that’s shared with other bloodthirsty vampires…

There’s so much more I could talk about in V Rising, whether it’s the satisfaction of building a massive castle base with wonderful gothic architecture, the sheer number of tantalising boss encounters to try and survive through, the gorgeous world design that makes each biome a treat to explore, the Rift Incursion events that see players working together to take down enemies, shapeshifting into various forms to traverse the land, the need for blood to survive and strengthen your grip on the world, and so on… there’s SO much going on in the game and it just makes it all the more captivating to play. Everything is fine-tuned to perfection to make for a gameplay loop that hooks you in and doesn’t let go, with so much to discover and build upon during your journey as a vampire.

Whilst it has SO much going on, it also manages to feels welcoming for new players and those unfamiliar with the survival action-RPG genre. The tutorials go into plenty of depth to get you acclimatised with the world without feeling overwhelmed, whilst the survival and crafting mechanics in play are less intense than in similar titles in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy ride and there can be punishing moments, but V Rising is definitely more accommodating for clueless newcomers than other titles I’ve played (especially when fine-tuning the experience to suit you). Just maybe stay away from other players during your early hours – some might see you as easy prey…

V Rising Review

V Rising is a tantalising survival action-RPG that’ll keep players wholly invested thanks to its compelling combat, satisfying sense of progression, and brilliant multiplayer mechanics. I’ve adored playing the game with a group of friends and building impressive castle bases to lord over the land of Vardoran from, whilst each enemy I vanquish and piece of progress I make invests me further into the world. I’ve put in a ton of hours over the last week, but believe me, I’m nowhere near done with it yet. It’s newbie friendly too, so don’t be intimidated by the many mechanics at play. Be warned though: the other players in the world are bloodthirsty vampires too, and they won’t be afraid to cause you harm.

Developer: Stunlock Studios
Publisher: Stunlock Studios
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5