Vampyr is a game about… vampires. Not very surprising, of course, but what is surprising is that it has some very prophetic content.

Vampyr’s story

It is 1918. You are Jonathan Reid, a surgeon just returned from the Great War. Yet, you don’t make it home. You find yourself awaking on a pile of corpses somewhere in London. You stumble out of the mass grave, bloodlust overwhelming you. A woman wanders through the dark and you attack her, drinking her blood. The woman looks up at you and says your name… It is your sister Mary.

With that, the dramatic story Vampyr starts off. I was hooked. From the mass grave, Jonathan escapes into the bowels of London. London, as it turns out, is in the middle of a quarantine because of the Spanish Flu. However, Jonathan quickly learns there is more to it than that.


Vampyr is a mostly a roleplaying game, where you play a newly created vampire. Like any RPG, you slowly level up and gain abilities. In this case, vampiric abilities.Those range from more health, to claw-rakes and spears of blood to hurl at your opponents.

You also gain a range of weapons, from sabres to stakes, and from revolvers to shotguns. These weapons can be leveled up with gear you acquire throughout the game world. As stated: RPG mechanics.

Vampyr takes place in London. The Game world contains four districts of the city: the Docks, Pembroke hospital, Whitechapel, and West End. As the game progresses you unlock more of this map.

The game adds the interesting mechanic of ‘district health’. Each district has a number of citizens. You can interact with them, and get to know them. You can also suck them dry of blood. However, if the population loses members, the district health status deteriorates. Even if you don’t feed on the people, they will still fall ill. So you get to nurse them back to health. Either out of altruism, or to ensure they make a good snack later.


The above mechanics are all fun, and the story is good. However, the combat is less so. I quickly grew really frustrated with how combat works. The controls feel clumsy, and timing your attacks is nearly impossible, especially not if you also wish to aim them. If you time attacks wrong, or aim wrong, you can only watch helplessly as the the animation blocks your input while the enemy lines up their own hit or shot and hurt you.

I grew so frustrated, so fast, I switched the difficulty to story mode. The combat was tedious and annoying. Even in story mode it is still tedious and annoying, but at least survivable.

I’m glad the game has a story mode. Apparently, it didn’t have one on at launch, but the Playstation 5 version I played does. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t know if I’d finished the game.


One of the interesting things about the game is that it is from late 2018. It was released a little over a year before the Covid Pandemic hit. The game gets some of the trappings of a pandemic wrong, but a lot of it very right. Parts of the city have been quarantined, some people walk around with face masks, and so on. It’s just that all the doctors go about their business as if nothing’s the matter, maskless and all.

Like with Covid, some people deny there is a problem, think it will pass them by, while others hide in their houses in fear. Given with what I know now, I was impressed with Vampyr’s ability to predict the future.


Vampyr is a fun game about being a vampire. It is not a great game. The combat is horrible, but overall the game is fun to play.

If you hate playing a game that almost exclusively takes place at night, this is not the game for you. It does not have happy bunnies and unicorns, but vampires and nasty people. That said, it has more… soul than many other games I’ve played.

I can recommend it, if only for the story. But: don’t make yourself suffer and play it on story mode.

Martin Stellinga Written by:

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands