V Rising doesn’t revolutionize survival games — but it has me excited for what’s next

It turns out that the tedium of vampirism may be enjoyable.

When the sun goes down, my coven comes to life like clockwork. We emerge from our stone coffins into the great hall of our common castle. We don’t waste time once we’ve settled on our target – in this case, Tristan, a vampire hunter who haunted our early ventures into Farbane. We’ve changed in an instant, charging through the dark woodlands beyond our stone castle walls like a pack of wolves. We revel in the moonlight, ready and hungry for blood. We exist as vampires.

V Rising is a hybrid survival-action game inspired by the Gothic lens of vampire mythology. At the start of the game, you’re flung into the world as the single survivor, your coffin concealed deep beneath the depths of a forgotten cave – your goal is to claw your way back to power.

Interactions with NPCs are reduced to cowering or single lines of spoken dialogue in the written narrative. V Rising’s interconnecting algorithms, on the other hand, give rise to player-generated emergent tales. This has aided the establishment of a plethora of role-playing servers in a variety of languages, with some server owners creating wholly distinct world rules. I joined a German role-playing server where members were divided into various covens ruled by individual vampire lords, and in some cases, whole councils. I watched power conflicts in which people were excluded and alliances were shattered. These enticing snippets of drama and intrigue kept V Rising feeling new, as fellow players drove the flow of the game outside of the deep vampire mechanics put down by creator Stunlock Studios.

V Rising doesn't revolutionize survival games — but it has me excited for what’s next

Speaking of which, one of the most inconvenient aspects of the game for me during the early hours was the sun. But I really enjoyed it. I liked having to pout in the shadows as the sun moved across the sky while building my first, if pretty mediocre, castle. It makes excellent use of what would otherwise be a minor environmental aspect in any other game. It contributed to the Gothic style and immersive suspense, and it forced me to think more carefully about how I would handle certain problems (like bosses) within sometimes tight time limits. Other little details, such as garlic weaknesses, contribute significantly to the vampire character (which players can circumvent with craftable potions).

The most intriguing gameplay mechanics in V Rising, however, are V Blood and Blood. You must eat blood to survive as vampires, but each adversary has a different blood type with different attributes. Drinking from a wolf or deer, for example, will improve your movement speed, whilst drinking from human adversaries with the Rogue blood type will enhance your critical hit rating. There are also differences in blood quality that affect how much these secondary numbers are raised, as well as how powerful your inherent healing ability becomes.

V Blood, on the other hand, is a very other story. You obtain new abilities by defeating bosses scattered around the landscape. These can take the shape of metamorphosis or combat-oriented abilities such as frost or blood-tinged assaults. These powers allow vampires to have more diverse play styles. I liked to employ Frost skills since the Chill effect either slows or completely freezes adversaries, whether they are players or NPCs. This helped me secure kills and keep numerous oncoming dangers at bay. Hunting bosses got considerably easier after acquiring the Frost Bat ability – it made it that much easier to keep proper range from my victim.

V Rising doesn't revolutionize survival games — but it has me excited for what’s next

However, certain spells and abilities are obviously superior to others, resulting in a significant power discrepancy on PvP servers. Because player level is determined by the armor and weapons used by each player, and some powers are linked to certain late-game weaponry, high level players can prohibit new players from gaining certain skills. I saw this happen multiple times, when a high-ranking vampire used the Crimson Beam ultimate ability to annihilate a group of inexperienced players (a powerful ray of blood magic that not only deals massive amounts of damage but also heals the user with each hit). Veterans can successfully gatekeep late-game skills and content because there is nothing prohibiting them from traversing the country.What’s more,They have the potential to hinder early players from building their own castles.

These lairs function as strongholds from which you may communicate with other players, create covens, and make stuff. They serve as your base of operations, where you may rest and plan your next mission. You may upgrade your furniture and decorations, crafting benches, and even coffins for thralls to do your evil bidding while you’re busy with other things. However, at the present, customizing your castle might be a hassle – finer walls, windows, and other furniture are hidden behind hours of gaming. Even said, if you don’t mind the slog, the restricted selections can result in some magnificent homes:On my dedicated community server, one player built a three-story palace with an art gallery and a basement for draining the blood of humans they stole from a nearby town.

In contrast to games like Rust or Valheim, V Rising’s Gothic designs frequently serve secondary functions. Harvesting adversaries’ blood essence, for example, is critical in nourishing the heart of your dark lair and therefore keeping everything operational. Failure to do so will result in the deterioration of your fortress. This was really tiresome for me since, while it gave our collective something to do, the castle continued to suck essence long after we had all logged out. Fortunately, you can turn this off at any moment in the server settings.

V Rising seeks to capture the sensation of being a vampire in a variety of ways, pulling evident inspiration from classic literature such as Dracula and current culture such as 30 Days of Night. You may make your vampire appear like a contemporary grotesquerie, complete with rows of huge teeth; you can go for long, flowing hair that exude the look of the mid-’80s-to-early-’90s goth subculture; and there are even aristocratic alternatives, like as rococo-inspired updos and waves. The outfit possibilities are relatively limited in the early levels, but you may discover and construct caps to compensate.

In this sense, V Rising is a game that is preoccupied with the procedures of becoming a vampire, if not the broader consequences. It’s a game preoccupied with the monster’s surface appearance and popular mythmaking — but it lacks an allegorical, or even satirical, tale about a creature that has tormented and enthralled audiences for millennia. However, this raises the question of what V Rising prioritizes, and how survival games of this type frequently slip into similar narrative-lite gameplay loops: explore, find, take, rebuild, and dominate. This is basically what V Rising is about, but with complicated mechanisms that only vampires can create.

On the surface, V Rising looks to be just another survival game with a fresh paint job. It’s difficult to argue differently in many respects. However, it manages to separate itself from the sea of survival games by layering sophisticated mechanisms inspired by popular vampire folklore. While V Rising hasn’t totally quenched my hunger in its current form, I’m hoping that it will in the future.

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