Review: V Rising

V Rising may well be the vampire game that people have been waiting for, although if I were to describe it as a ‘vampire base builder survival combat game’ it may well put a few people off. Don’t be put off. It’s great.

You start off waking after many centuries of being entombed in a coffin. Naturally, the first thing you do is create yourself (ok, so this is you creating your character but whatever) and then venture out into the world. As a basic vampire, you can kill things but quickly learn that you can enhance yourself by drinking the blood of various creatures, and also that sunlight is super bad.

There are a lot of different mechanisms thrown at you fairly quickly. Played as a top-down action game a bit like Diablo or Hades, V Rising introduces combat, the blood mechanic, sunlight, resource gathering and then base building really early on. It took me a fair while to actually understand what sort of game this is.

The core loop of V Rising is essentially doing some stuff (random killing, getting some resources, building some stuff) but each ‘amount’ of things you can do are locked behind bosses. There are a TON of bosses (over 50 I read although I’ve not got close to that yet) and defeating each one gives you the next step. Upon killing a boss (who, so far, has been excellently varied by the way) you drink their blood and get some magic. There are many different magic types, and unlocking all of these links makes you decide on your build (as well as unlocking more options for your literal building). 

You are limited to a certain number of abilities at any one time, so you are going to be selecting the right thing for the right time. Much like abilities are limited in Diablo, you really need to ensure you have the right stuff equipped for what you need, but more importantly how you want to play. 

The blood-drinking mechanic is really important, as the blood of each enemy (that has blood) has a purity level. In essence, the higher the purity, the better the buff that you get from drinking that creature’s blood. Essentially better purity allows you to hit harder, run faster etc and you will get a handle on what enemies deliver the best liquid for your needs, and won’t bother with guzzling the less pure ones. 

Every time I played V Rising, it felt like a different game. You’ve got the combat and boss fights as I mentioned, and the building and speccing of the character, but at times I’ll find I’m just grinding resources in order to build out my base. And my fear initially of it being just spread over an area of the map – a coffin here, some dark paraphernalia there – quickly subsides as walls and roofs become a huge castle, with machinery and multiple floors, so setting up your own vampire economy can become a thing, in-between all of the hunting.

Then there is online. I’m still not really clear how this works. There are servers you can play on, and each can have modified versions of rules and difficulties. There are other players walking around who can help (or hinder and steal!!) your stuff, but the game doesn’t really hold your hand or explain the mechanics of this especially well so I’m a little unclear on exactly what I should be doing. Read: I’m scared to invest a load of hours then get my blood drained by a meanie. Nonetheless, I think there’s a lot of depth here and replayability to explore different worlds and servers as there’s a large variety of experiences to glean from this.

V Rising is a bit of a few different things, but it seems to do them all rather well. Plus you have the benefit of being a badass vampire. What’s not to love?

Reviewed on PS5