Vampyr and Gravel

Vampyr was one of the games that I highlighted in the June Expansions and it is much better than I was expecting. Vampyr features one of the most interesting level-up systems I’ve seen in a game, challenging but manageable combat, and lightning fast auto-saving so if you screw something up…well, it’s screwed so just try to not screw up. In Vampyr you play as Dr. Jonathon Reid who has vowed to find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens-oh, but you’re also a newly-turned vampire or more specifically an Ekon. This premise creates a slightly hypocritical plot depending on how you play, but let me warn you that no matter how good you try to be, you will still end up killing some of the citizens. Unless you just happen to be a perfect Jonathon Reid, which clearly I am not.

My original plan was to play Vampyr two times. The first time I would be the good doctor who doesn’t feed on the citizens and only heals them. The second time I was going to be the evil vampire who feeds on all the citizens and never heals them. Unfortunately the Docks area went awry because of my decisions and I’ve been forced to fight and kill a number of the NPCs so I decided to feed on the poor soul in the above picture to gain XP. It’s okay though, he was conning a little old lady…I think so that justifies that. Hey, on the bright side I’ve completed sanitized the Hospital district. White Chapel is almost as bad as the Docks and I just reached the West End. Hopefully, I don’t screw up the West End.

To level up in Vampyr you need XP, which can be earned very slowly by killing enemies or rapidly by feeding on the citizens. XP does not automatically level you up, though, instead your XP is put in a stash and needs to be spent at a bed. Leveling up will progress the game to the next night and if you haven’t healed the sick citizens they will get sicker and will die after their sickness gets too extreme so if you care about the citizens you have to make sure to give everybody medicine before leveling up. I really like the consequences to becoming more powerful, because the game feels more immersive and your choices seem more impactful to the game world. Some of your choices in missions will cause citizens to go ‘Missing,’ which means that they’ve likely turned into a vampire, werewolf, or joined the Priwen Guard, so you have to hunt them down and kill them. I have unfortunately had to kill four or five of the citizens because of this mechanic. And don’t think that you can just reload a previous save to fix these mistakes. Every time you make a decision the game automatically autosaves and there is only one save file. A lot of players probably hate this, but I actually admire the developers for designing Vampyr this way, because it makes the game feel even more immersive like I previously stated.

Vampyr‘s combat is challenging, but also satisfying. The combat is similar to Dark Souls or The Surge. Vampyr‘s combat feels a little bit easier than combat in The Surge making combat more manageable and satisfying. You can choose to use two melee weapons, a two-handed melee weapon, or a melee weapon and a firearm. Some of the off-hand weapons can stun enemies. If you whittle the enemy’s white bar empty you will be able to bite enemies which will refill your blood. You need blood to use many of the vampire abilities. The combat is somewhat deep and too much for me to explain here, but the gist is that Vampyr‘s combat is fun and challenging.

In my opinion, Vampyr is one of 2018’s must-play games. Vampyr is available on Steam for $49.99.

View Vampyr screenshots.

Vampires are cool, but maybe you are looking for a casual off-road arcade racer. If that’s the case you should check out Gravel. Gravel is available on Steam for $49.99Gravel is extremely fun and doesn’t require the skill that games like Project Cars and Dirt Rally require. It also doesn’t require an internet connection like The Crew although the driving does feel very similar to The Crew. I don’t have much to say about this game, because it’s essentially just another racing game, but this time everything is off-road. The Alaska races are the best. Just look at this jump:

View Gravel screenshots.

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