V Rising Early Access Review: Survival Made Easy For All Types Of Bloodsuckers

V Rising is an early access survival game with a heavy emphasis on crafting and an MMO tinge. It’s developed by Stunlock Studios, the folks behind the Battlerite arena brawler that lifts combat from MOBAs like Dota 2 or League Of Legends and eliminates any tedious buildup. So quite the start? Yes and no. V Rising stands out as its own thing, but Stunlock’s back catalog definitely bleeds in its combat, exploration, and laid-back attitude. This is a game that will sink your teeth, which in turn will make you want to sink your teeth this

Start the game and you will first need to choose a server for your vampiric activities. The biggest are the public PVP and PVE servers, all capable of hosting 40 vampires in total. Whichever you choose will depend on whether you want to fight other vampires or keep things strictly between you and the environment. If you prefer to tackle things solo or create the equivalent of a private island, you can create your own world with its own rules and then invite your friends over too. In short, the options are numerous! And the process of dipping in and out of them is incredibly smooth.

“Smooth” defines the game, I think. Everything from the running animations to the way loot drops to the ground with silver highlights serves its purpose with an almost elegant simplicity. It’s like Marie Kondo combing through the code of the game, wondering if every bit of spaghetti sparks joy, rolling up the extraneous bits with a fork and tossing them in the trash. Yes, it’s a top-down crafting survival game, but it goes to great lengths to get rid of the genre’s finer stuff without necessarily replacing it with anything. The game streamlines vampire life to maximize action rather than boredom.

The small cogs in the big systems of V Rising make even the most laborious things respect your time. For example, the basic act of harvesting materials is no different than giving an enemy a quick smack around chops. Just hold left click next to rocks or trees and you’ll get the resources straight to your backpack. A wolf bites your heels? Just turn around and those same swings will start to reduce his health bar.

The “Massively Multiplayer Online” side of the game isn’t huge; if anything, it’s more “Middling To Minor Multiplayer Online”. While you’re not going to run into hundreds of vampires hanging around and the global threads are full of sales pitches, the busiest public servers can still foster a strong community.

Even crafting items early on is a joy, as the game drops survival stabilizers at a perfect pace. Direction is given at the top right of your screen, with clipboard tasks like “Craft a Bone Sword” and its shopping list just below. Quickly, you learn that skeletons drop bones, and deer drop animal skin, which you can use to craft swords and greaves. You notice that you can craft on the go and even queue jobs, and the new gear raises your level. In, say, half an hour more, you have the beginnings of a house: a coffin (bed), a workbench, walls, all of which are easy to rotate and break on land, with an expansion or a deconstruction child’s play.

Tasks keep coming as you play, but they’re not that simple anymore. In order for A to make B, you have to build C… which leads to D. This is where the game’s crafting loop kicks in, because the prospect of a new oven means you can crack with that other thing that you saw in the crafting menu. . It’s by no means an innovative new take on the survival genre, coming very close to Valheim’s model, but hey, it works a treat.

And one of the biggest takeaways from Valheim’s V Rising is its boss-centric progression. In Valheim, your ultimate goal is to gather resources and gain enough power to take on increasingly difficult bosses scattered across the map. Defeat one and you’ll get the keys to the other. V Rising borrows a lot from that idea, tying a massive roster of bosses to essential – and some non-essential – rewards you need to get more powerful stuff. Again, it’s nothing new, but when the process is a glorified reunification of the belts, it’s hard not to get excited when the tough graft helps you fight your way to the undisputed heavyweight champion of the nocturnal world.

V Rising Alpha Wolf Blood Altar track page, showing an image of the snarling alpha wolf on the right and a list of bosses on the left
You will follow the bosses through the bloody altar of your base. It’s a bit like following your Witcher senses, as a red trail will periodically float across your path and indicate where such a one is hiding.

Boss battles are tense affairs, with heavy influences from the Battlerite era of the development team. It’s about weaving attacks in between dodges and using your vampire abilities to bring down those health bars more. Enemies spit area-of-effect acid pools or spray arrows in an arc, so there’s a strategy to bide your time and hit them with a riposte. But don’t expect MOBA-level combat where positioning is vital and cooldown management is king. As long as you’re careful, hold left-click, and mash your ability buttons, you’ll be fine.

The fight picks up when you’ve tackled a few of the bosses, as you add their abilities to your repertoire once you bite their necks. Big orbs, ice blasts, poison blasts, shadow dashes: yes, they have a good time and reinforce that, yes, you are a vampire. With all the attention given to building sawmills and chopping wood, it’s sometimes easy to forget your identity as the lord of the night.

Forcing you to switch between Shadow Slices is a novel idea that makes the world feel organic, but it’s a little irritating.

Reminders come in the form of the sun, that bastard circle in the sky. Stand too long in its rays and it will burn you. Luckily, the nights are longer, so that’s when it’s best to get out there and do your thing. Forcing yourself to move between Shadow Slices is a novel idea that makes the world feel organic, but it’s a little irritating when you have limited time and just want to push things forward. things.

The world itself is pretty and largely peaceful, which takes the sting out of exploring when the sun is up. It’s a traditional fantasy setting, with oaks and bandits, snow-capped mountains and brown farmland. So no jaw-dropping views or surprises, really, but I like how it at least feels alive. You’ll come across fights between wolves and bandits, or even between two bosses, where piles of loot litter the dirt paths denote poor souls who have been caught in the crossfire.

That said, V Rising is really designed as a cooperative experience. You can do things just fine solo, but there’s a lingering feeling when raiding bandit camps and building things that you’d rather celebrate those surprises, struggles, and accomplishments with friends. Especially since mundane things like mining copper or waiting for ingots to come out of your furnace can – no matter how simple – start to wear you down. Those quiet moments are best filled with the Wagatha Christie cat, that’s for sure.

V Rising player feeding on a bear with creature blood type and 1% blood quality in a dark forest.
Lower an enemy’s health bar enough and you can choose to feed on their blood supply, killing them instantly. Just pay attention to the quality of their blood, because the higher the percentage, the greater the temporary bonuses.

PVP also adds an interesting element of threat to the proceedings, as other vampires can snatch that undisputed title from you. Personally, I’m never a fan of PVP, but I imagine it’s a good time if you can get a clan together and go looting. That said, I don’t really feel like I missed anything. PVE is my jam and the game allows me to play my way, with plenty of options if I want to branch out a bit, and no judgment if I go back to my PVE ways.

V Rising has a little something for every type of gamer and that’s its greatest strength. This isn’t some mega-tough survival sim where you sip your pee to avoid a dehydration bar, or are forced to craft a toothpick to keep gum disease from melting your mouth. Crafting and combat are easily accessible, with a beautiful runway that gently guides you through its interlocking systems before letting you take off on your own, like a Boeing 747, or a giant bat with jet engines furry and a cockpit for a nose. And it’s not even over yet!