V Rising has been described to me as something like an unholy union of Diablo and Rust. In it, you play as a vampire who has recently awoken from slumber and will need to fight, build, and control the human populace to survive. As a vampire skeptic, I quickly came around and found that V Rising was something worth sinking my teeth into. Since it's only entering Early Access this week, plenty of the content is subject to change.
Unlike many games, where the night becomes more dangerous, it's the day you should be worried about in V Rising. You will need to stay out of direct sunlight or take serious damage before burning up. There are various ways to help mitigate this danger. First, you can lurk in shadowy areas provided by trees or structures. You can also build a Mist Brazier to create a blanket of vampiric fog, or you can build a Castle where you can hide away. The latter, which lets you store your items securely, is the best option of the three.
In practice, what this means is that most of your "adventuring" will be nighttime affairs. During the day, I crafted and refined what I gathered overnight into new materials. You can't teleport any raw materials, so relocating your base can be a tedious, slow-going affair. There's no need to distinguish between a weapon and a tool, as they are one and the same. Some tools are more effective than others when harvesting resources, and they must be a minimum tier to acquire things like ores. The crafting menu is very straightforward, and to prevent your Castle from "decaying" you'll need to fuel it with Blood Essence, a common drop from enemies.
Progression and Combat in V Rising
Progression is based on equipment and acquiring V Blood from powerful enemies scattered throughout the map. Each piece of gear affects your Gear Level, representing your general hardiness and power in combat. As you increase your Gear Level, you can take on more difficult enemies, including those that provide your character with V Blood. These bosses grant you new powers, unlock crafting stations, and provide a challenge for you while exploring the world. You can track these special enemies using a Blood Altar, so no need to go hunting every last inch of the map in hopes of an obscure spawn. They're often tanky and come with flunkies or dangerous special attacks, so it's a good challenge once you've upgraded your armory.
Your character can store blood in their body, and this is where things get interesting. By Feeding on creatures, you can acquire some of the power within their blood. The greater the percentage displayed, the more potent it is. Stronger blood confers stronger effects, and they can range from lifesteal on hit to increased movement speed and critical hits. This allows for some prep work when taking on more difficult enemies: find a good source of blood and drain it to acquire its buffs. Given the number of powers, weapons, and blood types, there's plenty of room to strategize and build your vampire to do something specific while still being able to change on the fly.
Combat, despite the numerous strategies you can employ, is a simple affair. Holding down left-click lets you string together a combo. Higher-tier weapons grant you new weapon abilities, and you can slot a movement skill, two active abilities, and an ultimate. Everything is intuitive and easy to grasp. Besides frequently biting off more than I could chew, I never felt I had to fight too much with the controls.
As for what didn't spark joy, I frequently felt bottlenecked by resources and time. It takes quite a while to acquire enough Stone and run it through the Grinder to set up your Castle, for instance. You can ameliorate this with more crafting stations, but that means gathering more resources. It's a common element in the genre, but unlike other games such as Terraria I couldn't simply run out for more materials.
Despite the few pain points, it was easy to keep playing just that little bit more. V Rising has a lot going for it if you like to plan carefully and maximize efficiency, but like many in its genre it's better with friends.
V Rising was previewed on PC with a code provided by the publisher.