Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
We've all played those games that give us the option of choosing what path we take in a game. Be it the good or evil path. Normally these choices are given to us a key moments in a games narrative and are represented my a dialogue option or a basic action at a specific moment.
Now, while Vampyr does the exact same thing, it does one thing different that makes it stand out for me. As a newly turned vampire, you are encouraged to murder the citizens of London in order to evolve your powers. In fact, you pretty much have to if you want to get any of the stronger powers. But, here's the thing, Vampyer makes this less than a simple black and white game mechanic.
While you gain experience points from defeating the common vampire hunters and monsters of the world, you don't gain a great deal of XP from doing so. The game makes it very clear that if you want to really evolve your powers, you're going to have to take the life of an innocent citizen of London. Why should that be a big deal? Well, because the citizens of London don't feel like your typical npc prop. Each one has enough backstory and mystery to discover that I find myself unable to end the life of any of them. Even the roughest criminal characters have depth to them that drives me more to investigate than to murder.
So, what does that mean for me as the player? As a result, I now find myself roaming London in search of answers but, I'm faced with more difficult battles and dangers as my enemies are significantly stronger. I find myself grinding more with low level enemies in order to slowly gain the experience I need to evolve my powers. The game does make it much more difficult if you decide to be good and that's not a complaint. The games difficulty is a direct reflection on they type of person you decide to be. Like real life, being good is not always easy. The easiest way through the game would be to simply kill all those needed for you to become stronger. Yet, I can't bring myself to it. That's not simply a reflection of my own conviction but rather a testament to the quality of the games writing, character design and world building.
The fact that the game handles its difficulty in this way is a great example of game design done right. The game constantly teases at how I could so easily succeed if I simply kill but the depth of the character makes that choice one that is both difficult and punishing. If I decide to kill, I get stronger but I loose out on investigations that could tell me more about the world. The city will also plunge into chaos and ultimately be lost if I take too many lives. I've not yet finished the game and for now, I haven't taken a single citizens life. I aim to complete the game without doing so but, who knows....
Until next time!