Let’s Review Stunlock Studios’ V Rising
Stunlock Studios’ previous titles like Battlerite and Bloodline Champions made the developer well versed in PvP elements. V Rising’s combination of PvE gameplay, atmospheric world building, and crafting systems represent an enticing change of direction. That head-scratching, eyebrow-raising, and ultimately jaw-dropping experience is exactly what we want.
Slash, Bite, Build, Repeat
The core of V Rising’s gameplay revolves around gathering resources, building your castle, and combating progressively tougher enemies. The game’s replayability comes from its embrace of familiar yet entertaining RPG mechanics set in a fantastical world.
Building Your Castle
In V Rising, you play the role of a vampire on a quest to carve out a little slice of the game world for your castle so you can store, process, and craft materials to improve your stats. We love a good base of operations where we can devise nefarious plans while unsuspecting prey walks around oblivious. By prey, we mean the lvl.1 enemies that patrol just outside the castle.
Your castle can house as many decorative pieces or crafting centers as you have the materials to build them, but the space you have to put all your essentials in is limited by the overall level of your castle. Your castle level is tied to your discovery of new materials as you progress through the game.
Farming materials solely for your weapons and armor seems like it’ll take a majority of your game time, but there’s no shame in investing those same resources towards a decorative room or wing of your castle that’ll put Dracula to shame.
Veterans and newcomers alike to ARPGs like V Rising will be surprised at the speed of the crafting feature. You can leave materials to be crafted autonomously while you embark on other quests.
Examples of crafting processes include:
- Chopping wood for processing into planks
- Crushing stone bit for refinement into stone blocks
- Forging ores into ingots
- Pressing the victim’s blood into essences used in castle upgrades
Many of us are all too familiar with getting prompted to use our own real-life money to make crafting processes go faster. Not with V Rising. You’ll have an easier time progressing towards the late-game because time management is evenly split between gathering, crafting, and combat.
It ain’t all the weapons and armor! Remember when Bear Grylls said, “improvise, adapt, overcome?” We can’t think of a better way to describe combat in V Rising.
- Improvise the way you fight by combining abilities from different tech trees.
- Adapt to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses (both are pretty recognizable) as you encounter them.
- Overcome stronger enemies by using the terrain and camera to get better vantage points.
Combat can be as simplistic or complicated as you want it to be. You can afford to be careless at lower character levels like many ARPGs as you feel your way around the game. Just remember that your enemies will become tougher and more clever as you progress.
Day N’ Nite
When you think of vampires, do you think of Dracula or Robert Pattinson? Either way, familiar bits of vampiric lore make their return to V Rising: affliction to the sun, thirst for blood, and vampire hunters with tall top hats. You get the idea.
In the absence of a long and wildly complicated narrative, look to the game’s atmosphere and environment to help build that missing story. The little things you’ll notice in the game are:
- Separation of day and night, with the occasional appearance of a blood moon that amplifies your power
- Intense battle music in the presence of a superior enemy
- A variety of creatures and enemies both living and dead
You’ll complete a majority of your activities under the light of the moon. However, there are benefits to venturing out when the sun is up. You can use the smallest bits of shade from trees, buildings, and even bushes to shield yourself while you gather much needed resources for your castle. With your resource gathering out of the way during the day, you can devote nighttime to hunting for new victims.
Show the Other Blood-Suckers Who’s Boss
V Rising offers both PvP and PvE game modes with the option to switch in between as you play.
PvP is a good way to connect with fellow vampires and share knowledge about the world. Friends and teammates can also cut down on the amount of time it takes for grindy activities like resource gathering and refining.
When it comes to enemy players, you shouldn’t sweat it. Take the advice we have for combat and you’ll dance around overzealous enemy vampires spamming the left mouse button (your primary attack). Pay-to-play is not a factor here so leveling up towards the best quality equipment is going to take time for everyone.
PvE in V Rising reminds us somewhat of Skyrim, with exploration of the game world tying in with your overall character progression. The notable difference with V Rising is that your character does not level up by killing enemies. Instead, the total score of your weapons and armor determines your current level.
This mechanic is a fun way to inspire replayability. It’d be too easy to farm the same low-level enemies over and over again until we’re basically gods. Combine this with the night and day feature and you’ve got a game that puts a premium on high risk/high reward decisions.
Salad says…play V Rising! It’s a fun game that keeps you coming back for the opportunity to gain higher-quality gear and to show off your castle to friends. Keep in mind that with the game being in early-access, so many elements are subject to change.
The early game grind and travel times can get frustrating, but your persistence will pay off as resource gathering and combat become easier and more instinctual.
Wrap these environmental features with the core gameplay elements, and you’ve got a pretty well put-together game for one that’s still in early access. Who knows what the devs will add next time around! Hopefully, it’ll be Jared Leto descending from the sky while saying, “it’s morbin’ time.”