V Rising 1.0 Review – New Vampire Empires

V Rising 1.0 Review

I’m more or less burnt out when it comes to survival crafting RPGs. I can only punch so many trees and collect so many rocks before a hard limit is hit. You need a proper hook to keep me coming back. V Rising has vampires and a highly refined combat system. Those are pretty good hooks! There’s also a robust multiplayer environment. I don’t care about such things, but I recognize when they’re done well. Honestly, ‘vampires’ was enough to sell me on this game. Thankfully, it’s also quite good.

V Rising 1.0 Review

You play as a vampire looking to rebuild their empire. There’s very little story beyond this simple premise, and that’s totally fine. What else do you really need to know? Humans and monsters all want you dead, and it’s your job to frustrate their desires. Also, do your best to extend your unholy dominion over every corner of the world. And if you can do these things while building a gigantic castle? Even better. Though there is no proper story, the progression hums along quite smoothly. Your goals are clearly laid out, with the required steps making perfect sense. Admittedly, your goals are either ‘murder’ or ‘make things’ for the most part. But the building and murder are also really fun. I don’t mind simple tasks, so long as I’m enjoying myself.

Castles and Killers

Combat in V Rising is simple but effective. You have a small move set, a slowly expanding list of spells, and a handful of weapons to master. Everything is powered by blood, which means you’re always needing more. It’s an interesting twist on the usual survival meter management. All blood gives you bonuses, but they don’t stack. Instead, your blood-based stats are replaced every time you drink from someone new. You have to choose between a healthy supply of blood and more time with better stats. Since leveling up is tied to your gear, it means actual combat is mostly skill-based.

V Rising 1.0 Review

Here’s where one of the 1.0 features really came in handy for me. You see, there’s a difficulty slider now. I turned it to Relaxed mode almost immediately. The combat is still challenging and fun, but in a more manageable way for me, a scrub. Those looking for a more serious challenge can definitely find it in the game’s hard mode. For me (the scrub), fights are still really fun. You’re bouncing around, managing skill timers, and drinking tons of blood. It’s just not so catastrophic to make any mistakes, is all. Sunlight doesn’t kill you quite as fast either, which is nice. It’s still extremely bad to get caught without shade during the day, however.

No Sunscreen Strong Enough

Having two separate goals means reaching certain milestones a lot faster. In particular, you won’t be slaving away for dozens of hours to get a proper castle going. You’re also not waiting ages to start feeling powerful. Instead, the path to these goals is smoothly built and full of little victories along the way. You’ve got bosses to defeat, equipment to upgrade, and an evil lair to expand. Switching tracks from ‘murder’ to ‘build’ and back also kept me engaged. In fact, the two paths are deeply intertwined.

V Rising 1.0 Review

This is ideal, really. Since every action feeds into both major goals, I never felt like I was wasting time. Even the simple act of resource gathering was always a useful one. Your castle can always get a bit bigger, after all. And while you don’t earn experience for killing people, you do harvest their delicious blood. Which is again, used for basically everything. It’s truly a remarkable ecosystem.

Blood and Stone

V Rising feels pretty well optimized, which makes sense. It was in early access for quite a while. If nothing else, it runs on my Stealth 16 Studio A13V with zero problems. The graphics are colorful and clean, while the animations for attacks and traversal are all properly smooth. On the other hand, actual traversal is sort of a drag.

Getting to your objective can take ages, unless you find a waygate. Even then, certain items can’t be teleported. So you’ve gotta choose between convenience and keeping your inventory. So you end up doing a lot of running back and forth. I avoided waygates whenever possible, just to keep my materials on hand.

My playthrough was strictly a singleplayer one. I don’t advise this. Mostly because the game is built for multiplayer in certain small ways. There’s a host of skills and items that stay dormant unless you’re raiding other player’s lairs. The slow traversal feels tailored for divided territory. The world feels a bit emptier when you’re on your own. While V Rising is a blast, it’s much more fun when played online.

While I’ve mostly left survival crafting sims behind, V Rising feels different. The vampire hook is part of it, but the game’s design is a big factor. Building and murdering all tie together in one big progression tree. Moving from one path to the other feels perfectly smooth and seamless. Plus, both activities are pretty fun. I don’t love the traversal at times, and the game sometimes feels too big for a single player. But the core gameplay loop is a delight. Sure, a game boiled down to ‘build’ and ‘murder’ is a simple one. But there’s elegance in simplicity. V Rising is an excellent survival crafting RPG that I highly recommend.

***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Progression feels smooth
  • Fast, engaging combat
  • Multiplayer well-crafted

The Bad

  • Pacing meant for multiplayer
  • Traversal gets annoying
  • Very simple gameplay loop