V Rising preview – Valheim but vampires?!

V Rising

We did a thorough V Rising preview with commentary, showing off both gameplay and our fresh thoughts on Stunlock Studios’ promising new Valheim-like survival ARPG.

V Rising just launched for Windows PC via early access on Steam, and while it will remain in early access for a year – we found it incredibly feature rich already. Both our main staff Brandon Orselli and newer staff Manny hopped on for a lengthy preview session with the game.

Here’s the video component of our V Rising preview with commentary:

Brandon’s thoughts

From the first trailer I saw of V Rising, I was incredibly excited for the prospect of a real deal vampire RPG where you can level up and also build up your base, conquer the world, and maybe get a few vampire brides. You know, what a proper vampire RPG should be focused on – not what body type you have or identify as.

I had similar concerns to Manny, though, as I really didn’t like the idea of being forced to not only play online, but also play on a server. I’m getting older, so generally I only play games with other people when they’re friends – I don’t like uninvited guests. I’m also hesistant to get invested in survival games that pad out gameplay, making you wait for something to be done.

How pleasantly surprised I felt as now V Rising is one of my most anticipated games for 2023 when it hits full release, and V Rising is one of my most anticipated games across all genres for that matter. Let’s dive into the game that had me playing into the wee hours for the first time in a long time – and not because I had a deadline either.

V Rising started off as curiously as its trailers seemed – the promise of a huge world upon which you find yourself, a newly reawakened vampire, stumbling around and trying to survive. Movement and combat was easy to grab right away and it wasn’t until I died the first time: to an enemy and not the sun, that I started to really dig the game.

From the get-go the premise of dying after prolonged exposure to sunlight will turn off a lot of people – as well as the blood pool that drives your vampire’s hunger. I’m here to tell you that V Rising has an incredibly addicting gameplay loop that makes the survival mechanics actually fun and play into its core mechanics.

While other survival games have you simply eating food or drinking water (that’s boring), V Rising obviously has you playing as a vampire, and you must feed. Whenever you’re fighting an enemy (with blood, there are non-mammal enemies) you can always top off your blood pool. Thus, you never feel like feeding your vampire lord is a chore.

A big mechanic that we hilariously forgot to talk about for awhile in our preview NicheCast is the sun. V Rising has a day and night cycle, and when the day progresses, so does the sun – it actually moves and the real time shadows move. Just because the sun is up that doesn’t mean you have to stop hustling, you’re a busy vampire and you’ve got things to do and people to eat.

Manny and I were constantly exploring, fighting, and getting stronger as vampire lords even during the day. Sure, having sunlight actually kill your as a vampire does introduce an entirely new handicap, but it made survival more fun. You don’t feel like you’re just topping off your hunger and thirst, waiting for your makers to ding when they’re done, all while falling asleep.

V Rising really scratches that base building itch so perfectly you never feel like grinding for resources is a chore, either. Generally if we needed resources to get that next piece of gear or start building that next phase of our vampiric castle, it was never a cumbersome grind. Hundreds of a resource are gathered and then either refined or made into stuff, all of it was easy and fun.

The world in V Rising is meticulously hand crafted and packed full of NPCs to run into and fight, monsters to encounter, and areas for you to build the vampire castle of your dreams. In a sea of roguelikes and roguelites, I am stunned by how robust and planned out the world map is with V Rising.

All in all, I want to reiterate that V Rising is one of my most anticipated games for 2023. It’s actually quite astonishing how well built V Rising is already considering it released via early access. Stunlock Studios should be commended for V Rising, which is a very bold and incredibly promising survival action RPG.

I had a few friends that regretted not hopping on to cooperatively play V Rising with Manny and myself after we started and got far quick. While it’s not some big budget AAA game, you don’t want to sleep on V Rising like a vampire bum. V Rising is an extremely promising vampiric action RPG that I can’t stop thinking about now.

Manny’s thoughts

I went into V-Rising with an open but skeptical mind. On one hand, my love affair for survival games is not what it used to be, and i’d just played a vampire themed game earlier in the week. On the other hand V-Rising looked unique and interesting thanks to it’s isometric camera and the vampire theme.

I really didn’t want to get sucked into another survival game where I spent days grinding materials and making my base only to have some punk log in at 2am and destroy it all while I slept.

V-Rising aims to squash those negatives with it’s “Blood Heart” system, in which your base is protected from enemy players so long as it has a supply of blood running through it. Making most raids not worth the risk, reward or time commitment.

So with that out of the way, let’s dig into it. V-Rising takes a page out of Conan Exiles and a page out of Valheim. You are a Vampire, recently risen and on a quest to re-claim your empire. You must do so by creating a new castle, enslaving the humans and defeating the bosses scattered around a decently large map.

With each boss you kill, you’ll unlock new vampiric abilities leached from the bosses blood, as well as new buildings and craftables to help grow your castle. You can also seduce and convert humans to the dark side, making them your vampire slaves which can be commanded from your throne or sent out into the wild to help you gather and hunt for resources taking away some of the busy work.

The combat mechanics were surprisingly fun too, deep enough for mild variety, but shallow enough for balance, although the preview servers weren’t exactly populated enough to test the PVP. The bosses all have their own variety and unique skills that made them entertaining to fight and the world design, graphics and voice acting fills the game with a level of charm I greatly appreciated.

After playing V-Rising for the weekend I was very impressed with what I saw, clocking in 16 hours of gameplay in just one day. And 22.5 hours in total and I can’t wait to sink my teeth in further and see what V-Rising holds in the future.



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