We've played a lot of V Rising over the past week in the wake of its first big expansion, Secrets of Gloomrot. And it might be one of the best multiplayer experiences we've ever had. Here's our V Rising Review in 2023.
**Review Copy provided by the Developer**
Explaining the appeal of V Rising will be a bit difficult. Because depending on what version you play, what server you are on, and if you're alone or playing a private game with friends, your experience will be very different.
And if I had played the game coop or alone on a private server, I probably would've gotten tired of it fast. But after seeing the wealth of organic stories its big multiplayer servers can provide, I may have found my next obsession.
V Rising: Vampire Simulator 202x
V Rising is an open-world Action-RPG Survival game that doesn't do anything new with either of its genres. But the way those two come together under the guise of being Vampire Lord Simulator is quite refreshing.
You start as a humble wannabe Dracula with innocent dreams of homeownership and world domination. First, you need to scout out a fitting location for your manor from which you terrorize the local villagers and bandits.
At first, your home is just a few wooden palisades, a smoke machine, and an eldritch altar that needs to be fed with the blood of mortals. But give it some time and murder and your humble shack can be transformed into a home that hosts servants that can do all the things you don't want to bother with anymore.
The progression and how it links into getting new equipment and building out your home is simple yet satisfying. Things start out simple, turning wood into planks or stone into bricks but just like the best “Factorio-like” titles, these crafts become more elaborate and complicated.
Sooner or later, you'll need to build a facility or craft a resource you don't know how to make. So we do the next logical thing, find someone who does know how to make the said thing and suck them dry. It's called V-Blood and is obtained by killing bosses in the gigantic open world.
These boss fights start out very simple, half the time the challenge is getting there more than fighting them but later on those boss fights become more elaborate.
On that note, combat is relatively simple and functional. If you've played something akin to Diablo or Path of Exile, you'll feel right at home here. It's spiced up, however by a great selection of weapons and skills/spells (of which there are a ton) that you unlock by hunting down bosses and upgrading with even more elaborate means.
The way everything just feeds into each other is fantastic, at times the game feels more like a Vamipre-themed Factorio with good combat and world bosses. But if it was single-player or coop, I would've burned out pretty quickly. That's why I hopped on a big RP-focused PvP server.
While progression is pretty satisfying, it is the pressure of competition that really made V Rising work for me. I joined a PvP server with three established vampire overlords that had subjugated some of their lessers, turning this into a more social experience.
And as an avid fan of the new Castlevania anime, I couldn't say no to vampire politics.
Now knowing how many warring factions were on my server, I was sure that my lone-wolf mercenary playstyle wouldn't pan out too well. So I took to the in-game chat to scout out the competition which I would then usurp and conquer!
But upon realizing how difficult that would be, I chose a more political path. Which would then see me suck up and work for a lady who served the biggest vampire king on the server.
My betters were very interested in getting me up and running, so they fitted me out with equipment that would see me blast through the early game.
It was then that I learned that being a vampire was about more than just stalking through the woods at night and hiding in your castle when the sun is out (A lifestyle I'm all too familiar with). It's about making grand shows of power and owning the biggest, most lavish castle imaginable.
I was invited to a ball at our kings' castle, whose entrance hall was bigger than my humble abode. Here we strolled through his gardens, discussing made-up politics, and watched several lords and ladies offer tribute.
Sadly I wasn't invited to the part at which they held a war council, but apparently, we're going to war with the rest of the server at the end of next week, just in time for the server to wipe.
And I love that V Rising is able to give you that kind of experience. Sure elaborate roleplaying isn't for everyone it seems like the kind of game V Rising encourages you to play. If it weren't for the surprise visits from others, I would not have cared to build my mansion like a mansion and not an efficient production facility.
This is something I didn't read much about in other reviews. Because if you just take the basic gameplay, V Rising is a kind of RPG you progress through one, maybe do some PvP, and never play again just because the way progression works is fairly linear.
But I think the multiplayer component, especially in PvP (or PvE if that's more your speed), really adds to the game's flair. And I wanted to highlight what kind of playground V Rising can be and I hope there is even more content in the future that encourages this kind of gameplay.
Quick Note on Secrets of Gloomrot
Secrets of Gloomrot is the first major expansion of V Rising. It adds a new endgame area to the game, which has a very fitting Frankensteinian vibe and a slew of updates, adjustments, and new features.
I can not really speak much about what has changed with the expansion, but it let me wield two flintlock pistols and I'm very happy about that. And being able to build elaborate, multilevel castles with imposing decor to impress your neighbors is great.
So if you haven't checked out V Rising in a while, now is the best time to come back, now that the team at Stunlock Studios has completely overhauled the experience.
V Rising's Early Access is already Very Good
Writing this was incredibly hard because I kept getting sucked back into the bloodsucker life.
V Rising, as of writing, even if you aren't into the vampire RP fantasy, is a very compelling RPG that doesn't reinvent the wheel but has a very satisfying gameplay loop. You're always running low on something, there is always something you can do.
And the way the game builds more and more in its various ways of progression, even if it's a little linear, is fantastic. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment once you can make someone else do the stuff you don't want to do.
Even in its Early Access state, V Rising is a more complete package than most full releases and its various multiplayer environments promote various ways of play. Personally, I'd recommend finding at least someone to play with or joining a PvE server since the game feels a bit lifeless all on your own.
The art direction is amazing, the soundtrack is compelling and I'll stop typing now so I can go back to being a vampire.
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