Vampyr Tips and Tricks: To Bite or Not to Bite
Vampyr tips and tricks: Focus Home Interactive and Dontnod Entertainment’s action RPG title lets you choose your own path, but not without severe consequences.
The first thing you need to know about Focus Home Interactive and Dontnod Entertainment’s Vampyr is that your choices matter – they really, really matter, and there’s no “right” answer. That’s a familiar tagline for countless games, but it is the backbone of this ambitious action RPG and one of the reasons we’ve been looking forward to it for a while now.
Vampyr has plenty of combat and exploration to fill the gaps, but at its core it really comes down to the decisions presented to you – not that the rest isn’t important, but what will keep you playing this game for hours is the desire to see what happens next and what consequences your choices bring.
Because of that, this Vampyr guide will walk the fine line between spoilers and offering tips that will help you make informed decisions. If you have any Vampyr tips and tricks of your own, let us know in the comments below.
The combat in Vampyr is relatively straightforward, but it does require some planning. It’s a standard attack-combo-dodge format with a few powers mixed in, but there are a few caveats that change based on how you level up your character and what weapons you equip.
When you first begin, you will have a primary weapon and a secondary, and that’s about it. You’ll quickly earn a ranged weapon (a pistol) for your secondary, but the basics remain the same. When you really start to see the limitations and decisions is when you equip your first two-handed weapon.
In itself, the two-handed weapons aren’t a radical shift in the gameplay. They are much more powerful, which in the early hours will make a huge difference, but they also drain your stamina quickly. When you mix in some dodges, you begin to see the strategy demands. Combat – regardless of your layout, is a matter of balancing attacks and stamina first and foremost, and then when you factor in your blood-based powers and more powerful enemies, every encounter comes down to resource allocations.
Ultimately, how you build out your character and what weapons you choose to roll with are entirely up to you, but experiment to find the best combination that fits your playstyle.
- No matter what powers you unlock and equip or what weapons you choose to use, when you’re leveling up your character, increasing stamina and blood reservoirs will help significantly, health too.
- All weapons can be upgraded. Most of the pieces for the early upgrades you’ll find wandering around, but you may need to buy some of the mid-level components and the rare pieces won’t come until later in the game.
- Two-handed weapons are the most powerful, but you sacrifice your other abilities due to the stamina requirements.
- Enemies tend to have consistent attack patterns, and most (but not all) prefer a three strike physical assault. Dodge all three and counter.
- Use environmental obstacles to help defend against projectiles.
- Defeating enemies in the street doesn’t in itself offer XP, but collecting the items they drop does.
- The XP you can earn fighting enemies in the street is negligible compared to completing main and side missions and/or embracing citizens. Don’t hesitate to run if you need/want to.
- There are certain areas of the city where you can’t fight, which means enemies can’t follow you in there either.
- Enemies have a level ranking just like you do. Don’t worry if they are a few levels above you, unless there are several of them at once.
- Some enemies, like those with gas or a cross, can affect things other than health (like blood and stamina levels).
- When you level up a weapon, each new level offers you an additional perk to increase its usefulness. You can switch these secondary upgrades around anytime (as long as you have the parts), but don’t ignore them.
Choices and Consequences
Over the years there have been countless games that tout something along the lines of “your choices matter!” It’s a common marketing ploy, and one that generally underwhelms. Sure, killing a shopkeeper might make a few people in a random town mad at you, but it doesn’t really change the way the game plays out and there’s usually a way to rest things. In Vampyr, the game is entirely about choice and especially consequence.
Although not as extreme as something like one of Telltale Games’ Walking Dead titles or even Dontnod’s previous title Life is Strange, but Vampyr is closer to those than most others that claim to factor in consequences. And like Telltale’s games, there is rarely a “correct” choice.
Again and again in Vampyr, you’ll be forced to make decisions that change things drastically. There is a main plot that remains static, but how you get to those static moments is entirely up to you. When these decisions come, choose what you want to happen, not what you think the game is steering you toward. You may select what appears to be the “nice guy” answer, and then a few days later you’ll discover your choice led to catastrophic consequences – and not just in story missions, just in simple interactions.
- If you are in a mission and you are presented with choices, and you choose something you aren’t happy with, close the application and reload. As long as the scene didn’t complete, it won’t have saved.
- Most of the consequences of your actions won’t be apparent for a day or two at least.
- When you see an event pop up in an area, you should take care of it quickly. If you leave it for a day or more, you can devastate a district (depending on the event, which can vary wildly).
- Be careful in your choices regarding citizens who provide services. If you kill a merchant you may suffer by losing access to those wares, but if you kill someone helping the local people, the entire region might suffer.
Embrace the Citizens, but Choose Wisely
One of the primary mechanics in Vampyr, and one of the things that sets it apart is the citizen system. In each of the four districts of London, there are 16 individuals you can target and drain for XP, each with their own story to tell, and each with their own impact on London.
Vampyr basically dares you to attack these people by offering significant rewards, but massive risk. Each character is interwoven throughout the city, and even people that don’t seem to have a social circle directly connected to them can have a tie to someone else that isn’t obvious. So before you go snacking on the citizens of London, weigh your options carefully.
Each citizen has their own “blood quality,” which ties directly to the amount of XP you will earn by “embracing” them. And the more integral they are to the area, the more points they are worth. Their blood quality also increases both based on their health (which you can influence by giving them any required medicine), and the hints you’ve unlocked for them (which open up through exploration, progress, and interacting with others. So the longer you wait, the more they may be worth.
But is it a good idea to kill the crime boss? Will the district rejoice or fall into chaos? Does the admitted murderer have a family that will miss him? Will the self-professed vampire hunter’s death lead to real vampire hunters? There’s no way to tell, but there are things to consider. If someone is providing a vital service to that district, killing them may be a bad idea… or it may be a good idea because it prevents something else happening later on. There’s no “right” answer, so give it your best judgment and accept the consequences.
There is one safeguard of sorts in place to stop you from causing total chaos though. To lure specific citizens away to nom on them, you’ll need to have a mesmerize level equal to or higher than the citizen’s resistance. That can only be upgraded through story progression, so you will get to see things play out with the more influential characters, for a bit at least.
- You can go the entire game without “embracing” a citizen, but sometimes your choices will force the issue.
- The loner characters (without many direct characters) have a lower chance of causing major ripples, but not always.
- Make sure you have at least a few hints unlocked for a character before you even consider embracing them – not only will it increase the XP earned, you may learn something vital about them or another character.
- Once you hit level five, you can embrace anyone on the streets except for the pillars, characters that are integral to the plot.
- Some characters won’t appear until later in the game, so return to previous areas and speak to people often.
- You can skip dialogue and it won’t stop you from receiving any hints.
- Look at every scrap of paper, letter, book, etc. you find. You don’t need to read it, but if you open it in the menu, it will automatically update any hints found inside.
- As a general rule, the more XP you get, the bigger the potential consequences.
Exploring London 1918
The London of Vampyr is broken up into four regions, each of which consists of several smaller areas. The four areas are: The Docks, Pembroke Hospital, Whitechapel, and West End. The map will show you more, but in terms of gameplay there are four and it’s important to know exactly where they are – and more importantly, where the citizens of each are.
Each of the four regions has an associated health status which is affected by your actions – or your lack of actions. When it is “sanitized,” the region becomes generally peaceful, while if it hits the other end of the spectrum and becomes “hostile,” the people will turn against you and the streets will become more dangerous.
In order to improve the conditions of each area, there are several factors to consider starting with the simplest, the health of individual citizens (which you can discover through the map or by using your vampiric gaze). Each contractible illness has a corresponding cure, which changes both the overall health of the region and the blood quality of the citizen. This is a relatively minor side of it though, and the biggest impact on a region comes via its “pillars.”
Each region has a single person listed as a pillar, and each pillar will force you to make choices that often have unforeseen circumstances. You may think you are doing the right/kind thing, only to discover your kindness leads to something much worse. If a pillar dies, expect serious negative ramifications – but don’t worry, there are generally other alternatives baked into the story to help fill their role. It will be tougher though.
- As you progress you will come across several locked gates marked by red teeth. Ignore these – you will have the chance to open them later after something in the story changes.
- When you first begin, you can go exploring three of the four sections (West End remains locked until you reach it through story progression), but you will face enemies far more powerful than you are.
- You will need to keep returning to areas you have thoroughly explored to continue to maintain the region’s health and to unlock gates that make it easier to move about London.
- There are several “hideouts” scattered about London with multiples in each area. Use them as needed, but when you sleep you may progress events and find things worse than you left them.
- There are no fast-travel points, but when you unlcok West End, you’ll find pathways that connect to the Docks and Whitchapel, making it easier to move.
- There’s a tunnel entrance in West End that takes you back to the Docks. It’s a long walk, but faster and safer than the alternative.
Leveling up in Vampyr plays out in a fairly traditional way – you earn XP, and at certain locations you can spend that XP on upgrades. How you earn that XP is a little unusual though.
For the most part, you can earn XP simply by completing missions and investigations. You’ll also earn a small amount of XP through collecting items found in the world and dropped by enemies. Collecting items doesn’t give you a huge amount of XP, but it adds up over time, enough so you shouldn’t ignore it. If you need a quick, significant XP boost though, you should look elsewhere.
The best source of XP beyond the missions/investigations can be found by embracing (aka killing) citizens of London. The early hours limit the citizens you can kill due to your mesmerize level, which is unlocked through story progress, and so the XP you earn is relatively low compared to what you can earn later. There are also consequences to killing citizens and some are completely unforeseen (see above “Embrace the Citizens” section). But if you need a quick boost, you can snack your way to upgrades.
Once you are ready to upgrade, you’ll need to find a hideout and a bed to access the upgrade menu. Each unlockable contains its own level progression, each of which increases the power or associated stats. The more you upgrade a single perk/ability, the more it costs. It’s fairly standard fare, but there is another catch to factor in. Each time you upgrade your character, time passes. And you never know what a new day is going to bring.
- Of all the actives you can unlock and equip, “autophagy,” is perhaps the most consistently useful. It doesn’t just restore your health, it undoes any health limitations. It also costs relatively little blood and has a short cooldown.
- No matter how you choose to level up, don’t neglect the health, stamina, and blood reservoirs. They are the easiest to level up and have a huge, immediate impact.
- The power to mesmerize is important to embracing citizens, but it also has to be leveled up to lure the high minded people. You will do this through story progression though.
- The Ultimate is a special attack with a hefty cooldown time, but it can make a huge difference – once it is leveled up a bit.
- Equip serums that fit your loadout. For instance, if you don’t have much stamina or your blood max is low, bring the corresponding stamina and blood serums.
- Unless you are struggling badly, make sure to complete any investigations before upgrading. Sometimes those characters will meet fates beyond your control.
Story – Follow a Twisting Path
It’s difficult to discuss the story of Vampyr for two reasons – first, it would be a spoiler, and second, because each playthrough is going to be different based on your choices.
Despite the inherent flexibility in the game, there are main plot points that play out the same no matter what. You’ll recognize these precisely because of the lack of choice. These are presented as part of the main quest, but there are several secondary stories that may or may not be available based on your actions.
You should always try to pursue and complete these secondary missions, known as “Local Investigations,” as soon as possible. They are usually easy (even if they require some legwork), and they earn you decent XP. Even if you plan to kill the person the quest relates to, completing the investigation can help to unlock more hints about them, which in turn increases their blood quality.
- Investigations cannot be activated until you meet and speak with the citizen.
- If you kill a person before completing their investigation, there is no way to complete it.
- Try to complete investigations before resting for the night, especially after major events. Things can happen to citizens that prevent you from completing the investigation.
- Read the collectibles for a better understanding of the world’s history.
- You can read recaps of the main story at any time through the main quest tab in the menu.
- You can only track one investigation at a time. A whit ering will appear around it when selected.
- After solving the game’s big mystery and learning of its origins, you’ll need to make a final serum by collecting three items from major characters. To go into more detail would lead to spoilers, but after the serum is complete you should proceed to complete any side missions you’d like to beat. Once you reach chapter seven you won’t have the opporunity.
General Vampyr Tips and Tricks
- While glitches are part of most games these days, there are a few in Vampyr to keep an eye out for. The most common is the game freezing, but unless you receive an error message give it a chance to load – it might take up to a minute, but it usually comes back.
- Always take the opportunity to fill up on any ammo in the chest in hideouts.
- When you discover a new hideout, head for the crafting table and make sure you don’t have anything to analyze and fill up on serums and medicine while you’re at it.
- Merchants will purchase items found in the world, but you can also break them down for necessary component.
- You can turn off mission reminders in the menu.