GamingReview (Early Access): V Rising

Review (Early Access): V Rising

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When I first watched the trailer for V Rising, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with what I’d seen. This was because I had recently finished a 400 hour-long playthrough of Lost Ark. By that point, I was ready to take a break from the ARPG genre for the foreseeable future. At least, that was my plan.

A friend of mine, in his constant grind to find co-op games to play, decided that we were going to give V Rising a chance. After some fairly light hearted coercing on his part, I finally caved in and purchased my copy. Thankfully, this turned out to be a great decision.

Stunlock Studios, the developers and publishers of V Rising, have created a gothic world full to the brim with content. You play as a Vampire who has recently been resurrected after centuries of slumber. Like other games in the survival crafting genre, you have to gather resources, build up your base and, of course, survive the perils of the world.

Gameplay

Combat

The isometric viewpoint of V Rising allows for gameplay scenarios seldom seen in the genre. For instance, combat sequences take full advantage of the perspective with attacks and projectiles firing at you from all angles. This leads to some intense moments, which, ultimately, feel more rewarding as you are solely reliant on your skills to overcome each obstacle.

What’s more, you never feel as though the game is working against you. All movement options are fluid and seamless. You can dodge out of the way by dashing in one direction, then rotate your camera to sprint towards an isolated enemy. The best description I can give is that it feels incredibly natural to perform.

There are two main ways of fighting in V Rising. You have general weapons like swords and crossbows, each of which have their own attack pattern and style. There is enough variance amongst them that you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.

You also have access to various spell schools. These include blood, frost, unholy, chaos and illusion. They all share similar ideologies when it comes to how they act, but it’s the underlying effect that change depending on the school it belongs too. For example, frost will slow a target making it easier to kite around them, whereas blood will allow you to sap life out of your enemies.

Spells vary from offensive to defensive. They cover everything from fireballs, which do AoE damage, to counters, which stun your enemies upon being hit. You are also free to change your spells out whenever you want, meaning you can always choose the optimal setup for any given fight.

Survival

V Rising does a fantastic job of leaning into the vampire aesthetic. Things like walking into direct sunlight will cause your character to starting burning. You have to avoid this by walking in between shaded spots in the daytime, or waiting until nightfall.

The standard food and water meters, seen in the likes of Ark: Survival Evolved, have been ditched in place of a blood gauge. Preforming any action will cause this to slowly deplete over time. It’s up to you to maintain it by finding victims to feed off of. Thankfully, there are plenty of humans, animals and other creatures around to quench your thirst.

Although the blood gauge is a nice stylistic choice, it also directly impacts your character as well. Depending on the level of the creature you feed from, you’ll be given certain bonuses. These can include things like extra life regain, increased damage, or resistance to the sun. On top of this, you can use your blood gauge to restore some of your health in the heat of battle.

Building

Staying with the vampire themes, V Rising allows you to build the gothic castle of your dreams. The isometric camera makes this insanely easy to do. You start by placing down a ‘Castle Heart’ which provides you with your own plot of land to build on. You then use the grid like system to build your home in any way you desire. The system is very user friendly, and if you do happen to make a mistake, you can simply undo it to gain your resources back.

Gathering materials in this game isn’t a tedious venture either. You often gain the resources you need just by playing the game normally. If it still seems to slow to you, then you can simply up the drop rate in the server options menu.

Progression

You progress through the game by defeating an array of powerful bosses. These reward you with new item recipes, spells, and things like workstations to craft gear on. While you can technically attempt to fight any boss you want at any given time, you’ll find that it is nigh on impossible to do so without reaching that bosses level first.

Levelling up in V Rising isn’t done through the usual XP system. Instead, your level is strictly tied to the weapons and armour you currently have equipped. This means you’re only as powerful as the last boss you defeated. As such, it’s more beneficial to go through the bosses in order to receive your next appropriate gear upgrade.

To keep this from feeling repetitive, each boss has their own unique move set. These sequences include varying mechanics for you to learn which push your character to their upmost limit. You can either play V Rising in a PvP or PvE world as the game does a fantastic job at catering to both sides. You also have the choice to play with friends or on your own, both of which share an equally enjoyable experience.

Art and Audio

The art direction complements the medieval and gothic vibes perfectly. The environments range from dense forests to lush fields, and, in a really cool design choice, change dramatically depending on the time of day. Towns and settlements are seemingly inspired by the likes of Dracula, with cobblestone roads and looming Victorian-esque houses. These all provide the perfect playground to reek havoc on your unsuspecting prey.

Audio wise, there isn’t too much to say. The soundtrack blends into the background and elevates the idea that you’re playing as a heinous vampire. Similarly, the sound effects resonate well with what is transpiring on screen, and have been recorded satisfactorily.

Conclusion

In a market muddled with subpar survival games, V Rising is a noticeable step above the rest. The vampire aesthetic is executed upon phenomenally well, and the ARPG mechanics match the themes to perfection. Progression and base building are intuitively designed, and feature some nice range of depth to them. All in all, this is a superb game and a much-welcomed change of pace. It should only serve to get better once it eventually leaves early access.

SUMMARY

+ Excellent gameplay
+ Intuitive design
+ User friendly building
+ Great graphics
- Slightly repetitive towards the end
- Some minor bugs
(This was reviewed on Steam.)
Lee Fairweather
Lee Fairweather
A lifelong video game lover, turned games journalist and historian. You can find me playing on anything from a PC, all the way back to the MegaDrive.

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Review (Early Access): V Rising+ Excellent gameplay <br /> + Intuitive design <br /> + User friendly building <br /> + Great graphics <br /> - Slightly repetitive towards the end <br /> - Some minor bugs <br /> (This was reviewed on Steam.)