If you were wondering when vampires stopped being cool, they didn’t. This V Rising preview proves that the creatures of the night that have captured humanity’s collective imagination for centuries are very much still relevant and as intriguing as ever, especially in the context of a well-realised game.
Vampire fans have not been quite as spoiled for choice in recent years as they have been in the past. The Legacy of Kain series has not seen a new release in nearly 20 years, but has recently been acquired by Embracer Group who may or may not breathe new life into the franchise. Paradox has been coy with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, no release date has been set yet.
Enter V Rising – the new kid on the block. It may not have the expansive lore and universe of Kain or Bloodlines, and it might still be in early access, but the fact that it has already topped Steam charts goes to show that it has resonated with a large amount of gamers. Keep reading to get an idea of what you can expect. V Rising is available as an Early Access title on Steam for your regional pricing.
Gameplay – Guts and Glory
V Rising early access is kind of thin on story, so let’s get straight into the gameplay. This game should feel familiar to you if you’ve ever played a hack-‘n-slash along the lines of Diablo. Except this time you’ll be hacking and slashing a lot more than monsters – you’ll have a lot of resources to collect, too. Naturally, this means inventory management and menus.
A game can really suffer from clunky menus and finicky resource management, but I am happy to report that V Rising is serviceable and intuitive enough that even casual gamers shouldn’t have too much trouble with it, especially in the likely event of having experienced Minecraft or similar.
Thankfully, it hardly felt like I was spending a lot of time in the menus unless I was crafting. The biggest hurdle with the menus I had was learning the game’s lingo, and what they all meant mechanically but again as someone who has long been a fan of vampires a lot of the concepts and mechanics weren’t too hard to figure out. Examples are the Blood Moon mechanic giving you buffs, while the sun will predictably damage you.
Controls – A Familiar Feeling
V Rising invokes a lot of different games for me. When I look at the controls, it feels a little bit like I am playing Diablo, but also the combat feels a little like I am playing League of Legends with the ability cooldowns and movement.
The building feels like a lot like Fortnite or No Man’s Sky, whereby you will be dropping walls, floors and refineries on land you have claimed. At this stage, building is limited to a single level unless you build near a slope on the land. It is possible that one day castles will have multiple tiers, allowing you to build grand structures replete with towers and staircases, but there is enough to engage players for the moment.
When it comes to crafting, most gamers should be no stranger to collecting resources and recipes. In V Rising, you gather your resources by mining them and felling enemies for loot. Certain recipes are unlocked through the tutorial missions, while others are unlocked via the Blood Altar by completing hunts for V Blood Carriers. This is a satisfying mechanic that also drives exploration, well executed in my opinion. Overall, V Rising exceeded my expectations but at this stage the gameplay does tend to get repetitive. I can’t fault the game too much for that at this stage.
Graphics and Audio – Acceptable and Accessible
Speaking of visuals, V Rising looks great on higher settings and doesn’t seem to put too much of a draw on my GPU, but I have heard people complain about the game using a lot of RAM. Either way, I have had the opportunity to test the game on a few different setups and it seems like it is accessible to most anyone with even a modest gaming PC. This game could even run quite well on integrated graphics, however I did not have the opportunity to test this as of writing.
The setting is appropriately dark and gloomy, for the most part. Crank up the brightness on your monitor or in the settings so you can see what’s going on as you will mostly be engaging in combat at night when the sun is hidden.
Audio is rarely the first thing studios focus on when creating a game. Unless your core gameplay is based on sounds in some way that can affect a players experience dramatically. It’s hard to fault an early access game for this, and for the most part there is no need to do any such thing as V Rising sports a serviceable variety of sound effects and background music. The sound design is by no means perfect but one can’t get hung up on the details at this stage – this is a V Rising preview after all, not an official review!