V Rising Review – Blood Pumping Action

V Rising Review - Blood Pumping Action

V Rising taught me something about the way I play games, and the way I think about Early Access. When it first launched, I eagerly set up a dedicated server for my friends and we all jumped in to tackle the challenges. When the Gloomrot patch came out, servers were wiped so we did it all over again. Then, when 1.0 came around and servers were wiped again, I just didn’t have it in me to run it through for a third time, only stepping in to complete the new bosses and chapter end bosses. I end up fighting all of them by myself anyway, but that’s a whole other thing.

In case you’re unaware, V Rising is a game about being a vampire and taking out “V Bloods”, bosses that have a fraction of Dracula’s power so that you can get stronger. The entire premise is a faux-boss rush, and everything else you do it towards that goal of taking out the next boss. There’s a PvP and PvE layer across things too, but it’s never a hybrid.

In the 1.0 release they’ve completely changed up the ability system. Instead of bosses dropping a set ability, you’ve got some flexibility on where you spend the point you get after killing them. Skills are broken into three segments; Tier 1, Tier 2, and Ultimate Spells. The flexibility to buy what you wanted out of these tiers meant you could use that cool gem you got that augmented the ability you just got. It doesn’t feel like any of the bosses are really skippable, due to the fact they unlock new furniture or items that are critical to updating your gear.

This is actually one of the things that annoyed me the most. In reality, my group of 6 would have done it PvE style, maybe split into different clans; but this locks us completely out of PvP in case we every wanted to have a lil’ fun duel to pass time. On the flip side, PvP setting meant that if anyone else ever joined in a boss fight, then you’d be doing damage to them. There are PvP settings around this, and we had altered them but I also wish there was a manual toggle to just say that it was PvP duelling time right now.

The other part of this is around balance. PvE is just the bosses, PvP is the bosses plus fighting other players. It feels very much like PvE is tacked on, and once you’ve cleared the bosses there’s nothing to do. No group of enemy sieges your castle, there’s no special cool thing to try or anything, you’re just done. It feels a bit at odds with the core design philosophy of the game.

All of this being said, the core design is very good. The new Brutal difficulty was a really pleasant surprise, expanding upon many boss fights with new moves in a very fun way. I think the final boss is probably a bit more challenging than it needs to be, but it definitely was a memorable and challenging fight.

Flexibility though, is were V Rising shines. Most of the settings could be changed on the server side, and this allowed us to customise our experience to the way that we wanted it to be. This was incredibly important for us to remove some of the grinding of materials, the time for certain things to create or research, or day length for example; stuff we found that didn’t add to the game experience for us. There’s still a few settings I’d love to see changeable, but on the whole it’s a really nice feature.

Other than all of these things and the addition of new areas, the game feels largely unchanged. This is good though, the core of the game has always been fun. Combat is fast and challenging, and the options to alter it make it more so. Building bases can be fun, even if in PvP you need to build for defense. The abilities are very cool, and the augments feel satisfying to use. They actually do change up the game pretty drastically when needed, even if the lack of loadouts means you need to respec manually for different bosses.

Some part of me, some part I don’t particularly like looks at V Rising and wants more. More regions, more options, more spells. Especially if I didn’t have to restart all over again. I dislike this part of myself because it’s an injustice to V Rising; I think it’s achieved exactly what it came to do. It’s a game with a lot of bosses, a lot of fun and if you’re into the PvP side of things, lots of official servers for people to get their fix on. It doesn’t need to be more than that. It doesn’t need to last for years. Dracula is dead, and we have killed him.

V Rising Review Box

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