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Vampyr review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment/Saber Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

The most impressive thing about Vampyr on the Switch is that it’s pretty much the exact same game that came out on PS4/Xbox One/PC back in 2018. Even playing it handheld, you get more or less the same experience (with a minor drawback or two, which I’ll get to in a few moments) that you would’ve had on those other consoles. As someone who’s craved open-world games on handhelds since back in the PSP days, that’s a pretty cool achievement.

Unfortunately, while Vampyr on the Switch may offer the same experience as you’d get on those other consoles, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement. In fact, much of what my colleague Tyler Nethers wrote about the game back in 2018 is equally applicable to the Switch version: it’s pretty mediocre in almost every way. The story, the characters, the combat — none of it is bad, but none of it is particularly good, either.

The general problem with the game still holds: there’s nothing particularly memorable here. Because the main character is a vampire and everything takes place at night, everything feels dark, but never in a good or interesting way. Rather, take it more literally — everything here feels dimmed, and it’s not long before you’re wishing for something to break up the monotony.

The same goes for the gameplay itself. Even if Vampyr offers an interesting world, it doesn’t give you much to do in it. You’re constantly carrying out tasks that lead into the next ones, and it feels like you’re basically doing the same things over and over again. Even the combat grows stale pretty quickly; while the first kills feel kind of visceral, there’s only so much biting and slashing you can see before it all blends together.

Just about the only area where Vampyr on the Switch really differs from its PS4/Xbox versions is in the graphics, and it should come as no surprise that this isn’t a good difference. Vampyr features lots and lots of dialogue cutscenes, and they give you an opportunity to see how lousy the characters all look up close. You don’t notice it as much the rest of the time — since, again, so much of the game is shrouded in darkness — but when it pauses and you see the people around you closely, it definitely looks like it belongs in the previous generation.

Again, if you think about that in the big scheme of things, that’s actually kind of impressive. And really, if you’re looking for a game on the go that’ll last you a few dozen hours (if you’re the completionist type), Vampyr delivers that. But that also means spending a few dozen hours with a game that’s not particularly interesting, and I don’t know why you’d want to bother with that.

Focus Home Interactive provided us with a Vampyr Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-