Oh boy this is a doozy! I’ve been looking forward to this game since it was announced, I really liked Battlerite and the Royale version of it despite I was not good at all in neither of them but the presentation and the atmosphere was just always really cool and fun, naturally I was curious what they did with the survival genre.
To be honest the choice of the genre combined with the whole vampire setting was a bit awkward or at least unconventional at first but I like the mythology and also survival games that are heavily reliant on gathering and crafting, however the sheer amount of these games makes one hesitant to spend any money on them because it’s easy to pick a shit game. I’m very happy to say it is not the case with this one: after putting 7 hours in, I’m enjoying it even more than in the beginning - the inverse of the usual pattern when buying/trying games for me.
Now I assume there are bugs, I only found one and only once: I was standing inside, opened a chest that was clipping outside the walls thanks to my unplanned building habits and it caused me to get burned to bits by the sun. Other than that I had no other problems (performance or otherwise) I can report which after a pretty intense 7 hour grind is not bad at all.
The other complaints I heard were about how the private server lacks configuration options regarding length of days, gathering yield, etc. but I assume I got to the party late because I was able to set everything up for my ruleset right after launching the game and even save it which was a huge bonus point for the developers! Having said that I decided I’ll try the default settings as people said the gathering and refining takes too much time, so I wanted to take a peek. The only change I made to the ruleset was decreasing the length of daylight hours - I feel like this is the hardest aspect of the game especially since the sunlight can be absolutely brutal if you don’t pay attention.
Gonna say a few words about yields and refining times. As I mentioned I started my private server with - more or less - default settings. I’m not sure if these have been tweaked at all, resource collection and refining does take a good bit of time but I felt like it was worth doing it, I’m not just mindlessly punching trees for 3 hours to build a single wall, I made visible progress and I felt like I achieved something. Actually I think it added a lot to the amount of fun I’m having with the game. But hey, if you don’t like that sort of stuff now you can change it when starting the server. Everybody wins.
Now about the good shtuff! There’s a few mechanics I just adore in this game. It has a similar system of progression to Valheim where you unlock new stuff by beating bosses. Here they aren’t as much bosses as “bounty targets”: you track them, you kill them, you drink their blood and there you go, new abilities and new crafting options available. The combat abilities can be assigned to a shortcut however you want and you can experiment with them as much as you like to find the combination that suits your needs. The vampiric abilities (shapeshifting, healing, etc…) can be used from a wheel UI, very convenient.
The other gnarly thing in the game is the class system. Enemies who can be fed on have a class and a percentage assigned to them. If you drink the blood of a rogue for example, your blood changes to that type and you get the bonuses for that class according to the percentage. Don’t like it or want to use a different one for that target you picked? Find a brute or a warrior and feed on them, now you’re a brute or a warrior. They all have different bonuses so it’s worth checking them all.
The building mechanics in the game are not super groundbreaking but they work. There are some interesting and novel things you can build and craft, like the tomb that spawns enemies of a certain kind to farm resources or the servant coffin that lets you convert enemies into servants. It takes a while but it’s totally worth it, depending on the class of the servant they give bonuses on dropped loot or resource yield in certain areas and much more. Again, another thing that’s just fun to experiment with.
And I think that’s the game’s biggest selling point: it has several mechanics that encourage experimentation and trying different combinations, not to mention personal preference. You like the aesthetics of chaos magic? Do that shit! Wanna mix it with some blood ritual? Nobody’s stopping you! The game is just a lot of fun! I’m glad I picked it up and haven’t felt an ounce of regret about it. I just crossed 8 hours and I’m planning to spend much more in this fantastic game and I wholeheartedly recommend trying it to anyone who likes these kinds of games.