V Rising (PC) Preview

Let it suck your blood!
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Stunlock Studios, who are best known for their Free to Play arena brawler game, Battlerite, have created a brand new title known as V Rising.

In V Rising, players will take on the role of a newly resurrected vampire. Upon re-entering the land of the living, players will have to fight their way through enemies and build up their vampiric empire.

We got some time with the V Rising closed beta and going into this game not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by it. Instead of a cookie cutter formulaic top-down hack and slash game, I ended up with a rather in-depth crafting and survival game with multiplayer elements that will hopefully keep it going for years. 

Sahil’s Impressions

Players in V Rising will have to complete a set of tutorial objectives before fully getting up to speed with the game’s mechanics. These involve gathering some resources at first and then crafting some new gear for your vampire. Smashing your way through some skeletons in a graveyard yields you enough bone to craft a makeshift sword. Once you’ve got that in hand, you’re able to cut down some trees for lumber. You’ll then have to craft some other weapons such as an axe and a mace. Soon enough you’ll be able to start creating your own vampiric base of operations out in the vast open world.

Building up your vampiric homestead is essential to survival in V Rising. Players will lay down the heart of their castle and power it with blood essence which is obtained from living creatures. Once this is done, they’ll be able to increase their castle’s boundaries and build various objects within. Gather enough lumber and you can place a sawmill for example. A sawmill can then be used to process raw lumber into planks and sawdust. Planks and sawdust can then be used elsewhere to craft other items which you may need. It’s very familiar to other games in the genre that exist. Satisfactory crossed with Valheim and Titan Quest is an oddly appropriate way to describe V Rising. 

Apart from the resource gathering, crafting and building, V Rising also involves a lot of exploration and battles with enemies. Players will have to venture out into the wilderness and will encounter wild animals which can be hunted for resources. There are other dangers too such as thieves, bandits, mages and player vampires in the game’s online world. Players will also have access to a range of vampiric powers and these are quite flashy in action.

V Rising further complicates matters by introducing the vampiric aspects of the gameplay to you. Since you’re a vampire, you’ll need to feast on blood. Run out of blood and you’ll die. There’s also the small problematic matter of sunlight to deal with. If you’re out in the sun for too long, you start to smoke. Stay out even longer and soon enough you’ll start to disintegrate as the sunlight burns right through you. This makes the gameplay of V Rising very tense during the day since you’ll have to try to stick to the shadows as much as possible. Exploration during the day turns into a battle not only against enemies but against the sun too since you’ll have to avoid running out into broad daylight during combat. It’s best to adventure at night and use daytime to build up your vampiric castle.

V Rising combines a lot of really solid gameplay mechanics across different genres into one sweet package. Yes it might be formulaic but it’s a formula that seemingly works well and surprisingly sucked me into it. It’s really satisfying adventuring out at night, raiding a nearby crypt, defeating enemies and returning back to your castle with a whole bunch of new resources. Using these newly acquired resources to improve your base is rewarding, especially when you unlock new items to craft and are able to become even more powerful.

While the game is still in Early Access right now, V Rising has a lot of potential. I’m hoping that the story of the game is expanded upon and doesn’t take a backseat in the final release because the premise is great. This is definitely a title that you’ll want to keep an eye on if you’re a fan of hack and slash games and crafting survival games.

Andrew’s Impressions

V Rising has an interesting premise. Rather than the typical underdog-hero-saves-the-world-from-overwhelming-darkness shtick, you play as a recently revived vampire in a world that your ilk once ruled. A human uprising all but defeated your kind, and now it’s time to re-establish a presence and rise to power, either working with or against other vampire players. It’s an intriguing setup, told through a flashy opening cutscene, that unfortunately represents about as much of a plot as you’ll find in this beta build. Now I appreciate I’m in the minority when it comes to wanting narrative context, irrespective of the genre, but be warned – the Diablo-esque gothic setting and ARPG combat do not come with an equally grandiose narrative. At present, you’ve got a slowly expanding checklist of crafting jobs and, once the required structure is built, several beasts to hunt to consume their power-infused blood.

When it comes to gameplay, V Rising is unlikely to surprise anyone fond of the farm-craft-grind-repeat loop. There’s an extensive list of crafting recipes to unlock for both character gear and your settlement – and that means resources. Mercifully, V Rising does away with the common approach of resource-specific tools – think skinning tools, axes, and picks – and you simply accrue lumber, stone, and fibre by bludgeoning natural resources with your equipped weapon. As a result, I found myself merrily slashing my way about the world, slaying creatures for their parts and felling trees or shattering rocky outcrops in between. When it comes to crafting or building basic gear, or powering basic structures, it’s easy to stay stocked up. The biggest problem was finding a clear spot without another vampire’s settlement on it.

Of course, the name of the game is increasing your gear score and expanding your settlement, which means ever more complex crafting recipes and rare resources that you need to harvest from powerful creatures or refine using crafting facilities (which means shuffling around inventory resources and waiting on timers). As much as I enjoyed the abundance of resources that allowed me to quickly establish and expand a basic settlement, V Rising quickly ramps up the requirements and you’ll find yourself engaging with the fluid but – at least on lower levels – unremarkable combat. A bit of positioning while holding down the left mouse button will get you through basic (and respawning) mobs, but you’ll need better gear and careful use of your powers on cooldowns to survive against tougher foes and – if you’re on a PvP server – potentially other players.

If the beta is anything to go by, V Rising has a solid enough foundation in place, which should satisfy those who love the idea of a daily mission or two to grind out new crafting recipes, increase your gear score, and maybe expand a settlement. However, it feels unguided at present, with no clear overarching goal and little incentive for interaction with other players. If V Rising could make its tasks feel a little more organic or narratively significant, allow you to draw on a global pool of resources within your settlement, and provide tangible bonuses for teaming up with other players, it would make for a more compelling addition to a saturated genre.

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