One of the novel things about Vampyr is that it creates an ecosystem that can easily fall apart based on your actions. If you rush in teeth out and feed on every Tom, Dick and Aloysius in London, you’ll basically bring ruin to this game world. You have to know when to talk and when to fight, what to say and how to kill. It might be easy to feel overwhelmed by its various systems and the many decisions you have to make, but it shouldn’t be. Let us help you out with a few basic, overarching tips to help you enjoy the dark world of Vampyr as much as possible.
Conversation is the real life’s blood of Vampyr. The relationships you develop with the game’s many citizens—and the relationships they have with each other—are the most interesting thing about Vampyr, and it all hinges on conversation. A certain amount of communication with specific characters is required to advance the main story, and there are also character-specific investigations and side quests that both flesh them out and provide you with a solid source of experience points. Even if your eventual plan is to go full evil vampire and kill everybody, you’ll still need to talk to them and uncover secrets about their life to maximize the experience points you’ll get when you bite into them. If you don’t like the sound of long, sometimes repetitive chats with NPCs, Vampyr may not be the game for you. And as part of this conversation, you should also…
You’ll find various letters, diaries and other scraps of paper scattered throughout the drawing rooms and trash bins of Vampyr. The rarest of these are bits of lore that explore the game’s backstory; these appear within their own separate page on the menu screen, and aren’t what I’m talking about right now. The notes that appear under your standard inventory screen might seem more mundane, but they often unlock hints about citizens throughout London. If you want to open up every dialogue screen and maximize the XP level of the game’s characters, you’ll have to uncover all the hints about them, and many of these can only be found in those notes in your inventory. Don’t forget to read them.
It’s in your best interest to keep the people of London as healthy as possible, even if you just plan on eventually sucking all of their blood. Whenever you’re at a work bench, make sure you’re stocked up on medicine for the nine different sicknesses that can befall citizens. You can use that medicine to heal minor issues like fatigue, colds and headaches, or even more serious problems like bronchitis and anemia. The more people in one neighborhood are sick, the less healthy the entire district becomes. Eventually a district can collapse entirely, with all of its citizens and their side quests disappearing for good. Keeping people healthy and alive will stave off that disaster.
You’ll find various hideouts throughout London, each one with a work bench and a bed. Sleeping is the only way to use your XP to unlock or upgrade your abilities. Obviously that’s something you’ll want to do often, as it’s the only way to level up and keep pace with the increasingly strong enemies you’ll have to face. Don’t sleep too often, though; every time you sleep a day passes, and every day more citizens will grow sick. It’s not uncommon for you to heal every sick person in a district one night, take a nap to level up, and then wake up to find that just as many people in that district have gotten newly sick overnight. And since there’s no fast travel in the game, if you’re determined to keep districts as healthy as possible, you’ll spend a solid amount of time running across the game’s entire map every day just to keep people fit. Only sleep when you have a lot of experience to cash in, and if most citizens in every district are healthy.
XP can be used to boost a variety of passive and active skills. You can permanently increase your health, the size of your stamina bar, how much damage your vampire bite inflicts, etc. It’s also used to unlock a variety of offensive and defensive abilities that are incredibly useful during fights. If you want your Vampyr character to be a well-rounded combat machine, you should unlock at least one blood attack (I’m partial to the claw strike, where I pop Wolverine-style claws made of hardened blood for a single deadly strike) and an Ultimate (which is a massively powerful attack with a long cool-down period). You’ll also want to make liberal use of the ability to tap into your blood meter to regenerate health. Even if you master the rhythms of traditional melee combat in the game, you’ll need to mix these special skills into your battle strategy to handle the most powerful enemies.
The Souls-style combat in Vampyr is a tough challenge at first. You’ll feel underpowered for much of the early part of the game, especially if you don’t reap massive XP boosts by killing citizens. A great equalizer during fights is the ability to stun your opponents, which gives you a moment to sink your teeth into their throat and simultaneously deal damage while replenishing a bit of your health and blood meters. Early on you’ll probably want to equip a one-handed weapon like the hacksaw or machete, and then use a pistol with your other hand to stun your enemies. Later on you’ll discover melee weapons that deliver stun damage, and you can also permanently increase the stun damage of certain weapons as you upgrade them. Along with your special vampire skills, making smart use of a weapon that stuns is a crucial key to combat success.
You don’t really buy new weapons in Vampyr. You can, but mostly you’ll just find new ones throughout the game, and then upgrade them when you can to increase its stats. You’ll need a variety of crafting items to upgrade a weapon’s level, but most of them can be easily salvaged (see below) or bought from various merchants. Upgrading a weapon’s level will usually boost the damage it deals, and then for every new level you can also add one of two possible upgrades to add a specific new perk. Those can be additional damage increases, a boost to the weapon’s stun damage, a decrease to the amount of stamina it requires to use it, or an increase to how much blood will flow into your blood meter with every hit. You can upgrade the weapons at the work benches found in every hideout, and if you want to master the game’s combat you’ll take care of that as often as you can.
You’ll find lots of random junk strewn throughout London, from watches to bottles to rusty boxes of pills. You can sell them to merchants for a handful of shillings, but you really shouldn’t. All of these items can be broken down at a work bench to provide the raw materials you need to create medicine and upgrade your weapons. You’ll need a steady supply of items to keep up with the health needs of the epidemic-ravaged London, and as I’ve already noted improving your weapon is of paramount importance. Hang on to that random hunk of metal you pulled out of a trash can—it could wind up being the difference between life and death.
Again, the web of relationships between you and the game’s various NPCs is what makes Vampyr such an interesting game. You can do significant harm to that by killing a citizen, especially those that are considered pillars of their community. Sometimes the results of your decisions can be unpredictable, with dire consequences, so think long and hard before taking anybody’s life or letting them become infected. In Vampyr what’s done is done, with no way to undo it by reloading an older save file. Whatever decision you make, you should prepare yourself for unintended and unforeseen complications.