V Rising Secrets of Gloomrot Preview

V Rising Secrets of Gloomrot PlayStation 5

V Rising‘s gothic open world is no stranger to us, but its latest update, Secrets of Gloomrot, was so massive that it managed to draw us back in for a second run.

If you are somehow out of the loop, V Rising is an isometric ARPG where players must conquer the night as blood-sucking vampires, while also engaging in open world survival crafting shenanigans.

Before we get to the more interesting bits, like the Secrets of Gloomrot update, let’s retrace our steps when it comes to the main game.

It may sound surprising, but my first experience with V Rising was not good. I was given a closed beta key to test out the Secrets of Gloomrot update, and the game didn’t click with me at all. Not only was I late to the server and couldn’t really find a good spot for a base, but the closed beta also gave you a character with a bunch of weapons and powers from the get-go.

Unfortunately, I bounced off immediately, realizing that the closed beta was meant for people who were already actively playing the game and only wanted to check out the new content, rather than newcomers who wanted to take a peek at the game’s entirety.

Niche Gamer’s founder, Brandon, was the one who convinced me to give the game a second chance, this time starting from scratch on the live build. It’s quite obvious in hindsight why the game didn’t click with me at first, and that’s because the beta server was missing V Rising‘s strongest key element: Progression.

We picked the community-hosted Booty Knights server (may it rest in peace), and promptly started setting up our base. V Rising‘s early game is quite exciting. Not only are the enemies incredibly strong, but the downsides of being a vampire are in full display.

Going out during the day as a vampire is terrible, and to rub salt on this wound, the game simulates the sun’s position throughout the day, meaning that you can’t sit in a patch of shade for too long before being turned into charcoal.

Mechanics like these are what keep V Rising engaging from beginning to end, always making it so you have to maintain a balance between feeding, building, and gathering resources during your very limited night time.

Base building in V Rising is extremely enjoyable, as the game’s entire world operates on a grid, meaning that you don’t have to bother with janky buildings and pieces that don’t fit together. Even adding multiple floors is a breeze thanks to the game’s easy-to-use building tools.

Creating your own mansion is a fun, seamless process, and your ever-changing lair is a constant reminder of how strong your grasp on the land is becoming. Going from a bunch of wooden walls that will barely hold attackers to a massive gothic mansion is quite a journey, and it always feels rewarding to expand a little more.

It is a shame, however, that we can’t admire our towering creations because of the game’s fixed camera, but being able to decorate the inside and expand as much as you can within the confines of your territory does make up for that.

As far as progression goes, the player is constantly given stronger targets to hunt, which when defeated reward you with new crafting stations, items, and more importantly, vampire powers.

In V Rising, the player is given a mixture of vampire powers, weapon skills, and spells, which all combine to make up the game’s incredibly hectic combat encounters. There are multiple schools of powers, and players can mix and match them at will.

Some of the acquired vampire powers are duds, like the toad form, but others end up becoming a core of the game’s mechanics, like Dominate Human. The spells acquired from hunting down V Blood targets also vary in usefulness, but the jewel system added in Secrets of Gloomrot helps with balancing things out.

The player character in V Rising is extremely agile, but always feels like a glass cannon, so combat encounters can’t be simply powered through. Even enemies in older zones or roaming lower level bosses can ruin your day if they catch you at a bad time, really cementing how everyone in the lands of Vardoran hates vampires.

The world in V Rising feels quite hostile, but also extremely alive, thanks to the way that your enemies interact with each other. It’s pretty common to see human enemies fighting against animals or undead monsters, and you can always use these situations for your personal gain.

The most notable example of this is the roaming boss Meredith, the Bright Archer, who hunts undead enemies. Meredith will instantly start fighting the Undead Commander boss if they cross paths, and you can use this situation finish them both off when their health gets low.

Setting the base game aside for a moment, we should probably cover the Secrets of Gloomrot update, even if we are a little (9 months) late to do so.

Secrets of Gloomrot adds a whole new biome, as well as new enemies, items, mechanics, and bosses. The new biome is divided into Gloomrot South and Gloomrot North, and together they make up a big and dangerous center chunk of the map.

What’s impressive about Secrets of Gloomrot is that it doubles as a massive quality-of-life and content update, as many of the features I praised in this preview have been added alongside it. Secrets of Gloomrot added roughly 57,000 characters worth of patch notes to the game, and it really shows.

The Gloomrot biome is a decayed industrial district covered in a bright yellow bile. Pretty much everything has gone out of control in that area, and sickly flesh monsters have started moving around, infecting the wildlife and creating giant mutants that roam around out of control.

Gloomrot is a reasonably late area in the game, and that’s because everything there wants to kill you extra hard, including the environment. The enemies in the area use advanced technology to zap you with electricity, as well as flamethrowers, whose main purpose is to get rid of the fleshy abominations, but they also happen to work great on vampires.

If that wasn’t enough, the area is also constantly getting struck by lightning, meaning that you have to carefully dodge around to not get hit by stray electricity. All of these issues combined make for a zone that is really tough to explore, and that requires multiple trips to see the full extent of.

Possibly the strongest part of the Secrets of Gloomrot update comes from its many quality-of-life additions. I’m not exactly familiar with the game pre-Gloomrot, but Brandon has assured me that a lot of stuff changed for the better, like removing certain teleport restrictions.

Some of my favorite additions are the servant system, which gives you a use for humans with a high blood concentration before you unlock jails, and the Dominate Mount skill, which lets you reliably summon a horse to traverse the game’s large open map. Things like the Dusk Caller item, which let you instantly teleport a charmed human to your base, are also welcome additions.

It goes without saying that Secrets of Gloomrot could very well have been the game’s 1.0 patch. Realizing just how much content was added to the game feels staggering, and the fact that V Rising still has another major patch coming excites me a lot.

V Rising is one of the most entertaining survival crafting games out there, and despite being quite open-ended, it somehow manages to maintain a fantastic pace with its main act progression. There is always a new and exciting goal to work towards, and every new unlockable feels substantial in a way that not many games are able to accomplish.

The visceral combat and fast-paced boss encounters found within the game are some of the best that I’ve seen in both ARPGs and survival crafting titles. It’s safe to say that other games from both genres need to study V Rising‘s design closely.

Even though me and Brandon couldn’t quite finish the game yet, due to the server that we sunk most of our playtime into dying before we killed the last boss (RIP Booty Knights), we are still eager to start again and bring eternal night to the lands of Vardoran when the game’s 1.0 update releases.

Brandon’s Thoughts

After putting in nearly 200 hours into V Rising from its pre-release beta to its current state with the Secrets of Gloomrot expansion, I can honestly say V Rising has been one of my most played and enjoyed games of all time.

When I first saw V Rising a couple years ago – I was instantly attracted to the game between its stylish presentation, its vampire-focused theme, and most importantly: its focus on action RPG and survival mechanics.

I’m somewhat of a sucker for survival and building games and while I know they’re silly in premise-punching trees to eventually smelt iron into powerful weapons-they scratch some kind of primal itch that is hard to explain. V Rising compounds on this by adding a layer of ingenious vampiric themes and mechanics on top.

Stunlock Studios have been consistently improving and adding to the game since its early access release. When I played it to end game content early on I was begging for more. I returned a year later to find the game was even bigger and content-packed than before.

V Rising has been a delight to play from start to finish and I honestly can’t say I have any issues with the game. Due to its focus on a large and meticulously handcrafted world, V Rising is generally more fun to play with or against other players.

Coming from this, there isn’t really a true “single player story mode.” While I’d like to see an offline/single-player mode with a more grandiose story – V Rising manages to balance its survival/sandbox mechanics and story very well in its current form. You’re vying to become the next Dracula, you know?

I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the full release of V Rising when it leaves early access soon, this spring. V Rising is overflowing with content and style – even its soundtrack is fantastic. The announcement that the game is finally coming to consoles is also exciting – though I hope Stunlock doesn’t forget about Xbox players.

V Rising is available on Microsoft Windows (via Steam), and it set to release at some point in 2024 for the PlayStation 5, after its May 8th full release.



Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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