Combat - Visceral, Bloody and Satisfying
Now that I've talked about the potatoes of Vampyr, let's get into the meat. Combat is visceral and wholly dependant upon your specific skillset.
As you quest, kill, and feed on NPCs you earn XP. How much you earn depends on how much you do of each, of course, and is spent on skill trees that raise specific abilities. How well you do depends on what combination of attacks you level up and maintain and the game allows you to respec at any time for a price.
I've seen lots of reviews say how bad Vampyr's combat is. At the start of the game, I'd agree with that wholeheartedly. But once I found a nice particular combo I had no trouble getting well into the endgame.
Before I tell you my tricks let's talk about how combat works. Players have health, stamina, and blood--the latter two are major resources. Stamina is pretty much like it is in Dark Souls where every strike and dodge takes away from the bar. Try to dodge too much or strike too often and you'll run out. Instead of rolling, though, Dr. Reid does a nifty mini-teleport shift in specific directions.
Knowing how to maintain and handle blood is the most valuable lesson you can learn in Vampyr. Blood is spent on various attacks like Blood Spear, but I only ever really use it for one thing: regenerating my health. Reid has a nifty ability that heals HP at the cost of blood, which effectively makes blood into a mana source.
I've found that combat hinges on how well you do at accumulating and spending blood. Reid can replenish blood by biting enemies in combat, but only when their shields are worn away. What's the quickest way to break down shields? Two-handers (at least in my experience) typically wreck enemy shields.
What's more is that the biting animation not only makes you invincible during the sequence but you also regen stamina. So you get a nice little break, get more blood to spend on attacks or potion-like spells, and regen your stamina to boot.
Better get used to biting.
Here's how I learned to snag an advantage over Vampyr's combat:
- Focusing on two-handed weapons to wear away shields
- Level up Autophagy to at least level 2, allowing you to spend blood to heal HP
- Speccing first in Big Thirst to gain more blood when biting
- Level up Fast Regeneration to gain more HP per bite
- Grab Blood Barrier to absorb a few hits
- Hard Biting is good for dealing extra damage during bites
- Blood Capacity to boost your overall blood
- Physical Prowess to raise stamina
- Body Condition to raise HP
- Abyss is good to hold enemies in place as you smack them with strong two-hander damage
Tip: Don't level up your two-hander too fast or you'll kill enemies before you break their shields, thus missing out on the critical biting animation.
In this way I was able to destroy higher level foes while fortifying Dr. Reid's abilities and boosting my weapons.
Speaking of which, players can upgrade each of their weapons throughout the game. If you go with a quicker, faster build that means you can boost both of your one-handers, or if you're like me you'll upgrade Joe's Barbed Cudgel to the max and shatter everything.
Upgrading materials can be found on dead bodies, in the game world, and bought from various merchants throughout London. Be sure not to feed on a merchant unless you're really sure you don't need their wares...but also remember that supplies and prices will change depending on how a district is doing (ie if its Healthy prices could be lower and supply could be boosted and vice-versa for Critical).
Finding the right mix of skills, passives, and weapon types is key to progressing in Vampyr. Once you find the right combo you won't even have to eat anyone...but that curiosity will always be there.
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