V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (2024)

V Rising is a uniquely visceral survival action game from Stunlock Studios where you claw your way through the gothic stylings of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Read our review to learn what it did well, what it didn't do well, and whether it's worth buying.

V Rising Review Overview

What is V Rising?

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V Rising is a survival open-world game from Stunlock Studios where you rise through the ranks of the vampiric hierarchy as you eke out an undead existence among the human cattle. You establish your dominion by building your own sanguine keep, subsisting from increasingly dangerous prey while expanding the influence of your might as an agent of the night.

Will you ascend to the status of the full-blooded high born or will you burn in the daylight as a meager spawn?

V Rising features:
 ⚫︎ Incredible combat system that incentivizes skill
 ⚫︎ Superb base-building mechanics
 ⚫︎ A uniquely vampiric survival crafting experience
 ⚫︎ PvP and PvE dedicated servers
 ⚫︎ Massive online multiplayer

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about V Rising's gameplay and story.

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (2)V Rising
V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (3)Steam

V Rising Pros & Cons

Pros Cons

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (4) Deep and Skillful Combat

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (5) Unique Vampire Survival

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (6) Simple and Effective Base-Building

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (7) This Game Has Actual Upkeep

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (8) Definitely Not For Casuals

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (9) Server Woes Remain

V Rising Overall Score - 90/100

V Rising is a fun and uniquely visceral survival RPG experience that goes straight for the jugular and doesn’t let go. While its combat has a high-skill floor, those who can keep up with the superhuman speeds will be captivated by a satisfying combat loop filled with magic and melee in equal measure. The game’s base-building and survival mechanics are no joke either, rounding out an impressive list of accolades that can put even the Count to shame.

Despite its name, V Rising doesn’t have much rising left to do when it’s already on the top.

V Rising Story - 8/10

V Rising’s story has a compelling premise, consistent build-up, and a pretty good payoff as far as open-world survival games are concerned. The idea of hunting and building your way through the vampiric hierarchy served well as a premise, supplemented by the game’s great visuals and thematic game mechanics through every playthrough. The payoff of achieving a high status as an agent of the night makes for an appropriately grandiose goal in a genre that’s otherwise completely lackluster when it comes to endings.

V Rising Gameplay - 10/10

V Rising’s gameplay is a perfect blend of combat, exploration, and survival that doesn’t sink its fangs in any of its main facets more than it ought to. Although a noticeable focus was given to the game’s punishingly enjoyable combat, its survival, base-building, crafting, and exploration mechanics were just as fleshed out. At no point does the game ever feel unfair nor does it ever feel like you’re hitting a wall in terms of progression. As far as open-world survival crafters are concerned, what more can you ask for?

V Rising Visuals - 9/10

V Rising paints a clear picture of the dark gothic vibes it was going for through its heavily stylized assets, stellar cinematics, and great art direction. Almost everything in this game looks like it popped out of Bram Stoker’s imagination, with a few Castlevania-esque inspirations thrown in there for some undead razzle-dazzle.

V Rising Audio - 8/10

This game’s audio is an immersive suite of evocative background music and great voice-acting performances. Although there isn’t much variety in terms of dialogue apart from the oddly undead tolerant peddler, what little dialogue we do get sounds great, as do the SFX bites for your spells and weapons.

V Rising Value for Money - 10/10

Some might consider this game’s $35 price tag a little steep, but make no mistake, you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. As is often the case with survival crafters, the game is worth it through sheer playtime alone, but it supplements that bang for your buck by never having a dull moment. There’s a fair bit of DLC to be had, but honestly speaking, the base game alone is more than worth it.

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V Rising Review: Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (10)

I’m confident that almost everyone knows what a vampire is, what with centuries of folklore and decades of steamy internet fiction surrounding its mythos and all. We’re all familiar with the image of a dashing vampire lord with illustrious hair and pearlescent fangs glinting in the moonlight but have you ever thought about how they got there?

It honestly depends on the setting, but have you ever considered how a vampire could rise through the ranks of the undead and eventually seat themselves at the apex as a lord? Well, V Rising is exactly that—a desperate bid for survival turned into a power struggle as your not-so-nameless nosferatu rises in power. Let’s sink our fangs into the meat of this game and go over everything that makes it tick.

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As an open-world action survival game, V Rising has a bunch of gameplay mechanics to go through, so let’s start with those. We’ll talk about the game’s claim to fame first: it’s punishing combat. Unsurprisingly, rising through the ranks of the undead isn’t a peaceful affair and you’ll be getting more than your fair share of combat encounters. As a vampire, everyone, even the wildlife, is out to get you, so hacking and slashing through another torso is just part of the deal.

I’ll be clear from the get-go: this game is difficult. I’ll refrain from calling it a Soulslike because that word has lost all meaning nowadays, but trust me when I say that you’re going to die within the first hour or so if you’re not prepared.

Combat is quick and deadly, consisting of split-second dodges and manic dashes. Attacks are usually telegraphed but they come in fast and hot, so you better have an answer or you’re kissing a quarter of your health bar goodbye.

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Your vampire is armed to the teeth (literally) with various weapons, spells, and powers, each with their respective applications, effects, and frame-perfect start-up times, so you’re not going in naked. The difficulty comes with the sheer ferocity of your quarry and, honestly, you’re not much different.

This is easily my favorite aspect of this game because a lot of care went into the balancing, complexity, and execution of the game’s main combat principles. Ferocity and versatility take center stage, evoking a uniquely vampiric rush that one might expect from…well…a vampire.

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The game also has a unique Blood System that lets you sample your adversaries’ life essence and gain unique bonuses depending on the purity and type of their blood. It’s integrated well into the basic combat, comprising a section of the main combat loop as a passive way to heal and an active way to switch your combat style.

It’s innovative and appropriate to the game’s themes, so hats off to Stunlock Studios for coming up with a novel combat idea that’s not just a slap-job attempt at being unique. Speaking of great mechanics, let’s move on to crafting and base-building, the two other pillars of V Rising’s robust network of features.

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As an unholy creature of the night, you can’t go without a castle or keep to shield you from the sun’s rays. Unfortunately, not everyone has a Castle Dracula, so you’re going to have to build your own castle from scratch. This game equips you well for that endeavor with harvesting tools that double as weapons and a starting area that’s 90% building materials.

Building the base itself is as simple as setting down prefab walls and foundations in one of many pre-determined building areas around the map. Some might consider this to be limiting, but I think this was a deliberate design choice to prevent this game from becoming Minecraft. That’s not to say that your base looks fugly either, as the assets for the walls, floors, doors, pillars, and windows all look great regardless of their material.

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Crafting is even simpler—just have the necessary materials and you’re all set. There’s a crafting time to keep in mind though, but it’s nothing too annoying. It’s a couple of seconds at most, likely to discourage crafting consumables while in a fight, though I never let that stop me. Better recipes require better materials and better materials come from refining basic ones. This is where the facilities come in.

Your keep is more than just a roof over your head, it’s a base of operations consisting of facilities to refine materials, storage solutions, and a means to respawn closer to where you died. You’ll be operating in and around it throughout the day because, again, you can’t be walking around in daylight. It’s an integral part of what it means to be a vampire and I’m glad that they gave this facet of the game’s gameplay as much attention as they did for its combat.

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Moving on to various other mechanics, the game has a day and night cycle that determines what you can accomplish depending on what time you’re out and about. There’s also a massive map for you to explore and tiers of resources to find and harvest within it, which is par for the course for an open-world survival game.

Now that we’re done going over the game’s mechanics—we’ll elaborate on them later on—let’s talk about what makes the game tick. V Rising is more than just the sum of its parts because there was a deliberate and noticeable effort to balance the game’s main pillars.

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Combat is skill-dependent and exciting, but it’s the weapons, armor, and consumables that you crafted that will give you the leg up. Base-building is simple and satisfying, but you can’t just make a castle forever, you’re going to need to head out and feed before long. Exploration is a must to gather new materials, but the day cycle and enemy difficulty force you to keep your proximity to your base and your combat skill in mind, respectively.

It’s this symbiosis between this game’s features that keeps it moving forward, never once leaving you with a dull memory even if you’re just refining your materials or doing some ill-advised sunbathing. It also helps that the game’s visuals are congruent with its gameplay’s themes and beautifully stylized to boot. Together, they create something that is unequivocally vampiric.

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Just throwing this on the end here, the game’s audio is pretty darn good, especially for its cinematics and background music. I never thought that "vampire music" would be a genre that I’d be interested in, but here we are. The voice acting is top-notch too, although there isn’t much of it to go around. What little we do get is well within the industry standard and is very beneficial with the stylization and theming of the game’s setting.

And that’s all Bram Stoker wrote for V Rising. It’s an excellent game held up by its well-executed mechanics and great visuals. I’d call it the greatest vampire experience there is but I ain’t no bloodsucker myself. Despite its name, there isn’t much room left for V Rising to rise into, seeing that it’s already at the top.

Pros of V Rising

Things V Rising Got Right

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (19) Deep and Skillful Combat

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (20) Unique Vampire Survival

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (21) Simple and Effective Base-Building

Deep and Skillful Combat

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I appreciate a simple hack-and-slash as much as the next vampire but V Rising really chose to go all out with its combat system. Not only is it complex as hell but in no way confusing, it’s also responsive and deeply satisfying—qualities that are basically required to supplement this game’s crashing difficulty.

The neck hole goes deep with this game’s combat, allowing players to choose what weapons, spells, powers, gems, consumables, and abilities they have equipped, all on the fly.

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Just the spellcasting feature alone has pages upon pages of spells sorted by their schools of magic, each one having tens of possible gem modifications to create a truly variable loadout for you to customize.

It’s amazing how different your character operates based on their loadout, even more so when you consider how easy it is to access all of these options. I haven’t been invested in a combat system like this in a long time and I’m happy to have spared the brain cells to think about what goes into my builds, especially when it’s this rewarding.

Unique Vampire Survival

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I’m sure we’re familiar with the cornerstones of the survival genre with its hunger and thirst meters and need for shelter, but have you ever thought about what a vampire would need to survive? Well, Stunlock Studios did and it’s in V Rising’s uniquely vampiric survival system.

Here, you can’t heal if your blood levels are too low, forcing you to risk combat and go on the offensive. You’re double screwed if you do so in the daytime because, big surprise, vampires can’t travel during the day, and pushing your luck will literally kill you.No survival game would ask you to go hunting when you’re already injured but this isn’t just a survival game.

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All that aside, though, my favorite part about this game’s vampire flavor for its survival is its low-level healing, which is composed of…rats. Yeah, that’s right, you use rats as blood capri suns in this game and I’m all for it. This ain't Vampire Survivors but this vampire sure is surviving.

Simple and Effective Base-Building

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I’ve talked about it earlier, but I’ll elaborate on the V Rising’s simple but effective base-building here. Simply put, it’s just the right level of complexity to not be boring, but not so complex that it distracts from the game’s other features. The fact that you can only build in certain areas and with certain prefabs means that you can focus on surviving and fighting without creating something half-baked.

That’s not to say that you’re forced to build these Minecraft dirt house-level creations either, as the prefab assets themselves look great, and the footprint of your pre-determined build area evokes castle construction more than modern architecture. Even the facilities themselves look positively gothic, creating a believably livable vampire’s lair in an otherwise fictional setting.

Cons of V Rising

Things That V Rising Can Improve

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (27) This Game Has Actual Upkeep

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (28) Definitely Not For Casuals

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (29) Server Woes Remain

This Game Has Actual Upkeep

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (30)

This has been one of the fanbase’s bigger gripes about the game, but yes, V Rising requires a little bit of gaming upkeep to play. What I mean to say is that you’re going to have to keep playing V Rising every few days or so because your castle will deteriorate otherwise. It isn’t like every other survival game with base-building where you can just pick up from where you left off.

You need to top off your Castle Heart with Blood Essence every now and then, otherwise your dominion over that area is removed and your castle is destroyed. It’s not a bad feature, per se, but real life has a tendency to be inconvenient, and you might be one busy week away from losing all progress to no fault of your own.

Definitely Not For Casuals

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As stated earlier, this game is rather difficult, especially with its combat. As such, the skill floor required to play it is rather high, and not everyone has the time or luxury to "git gud", as it were.

This isn’t a strict downside as many players do appreciate the punishing difficulty and the learning experience of getting the game’s combat system down pat. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury to honor the grind, and casual players may reconsider, especially when they take the game’s $35 price into account.

Server Woes Remain

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This has been a problem plaguing the game since its Early Access release, but V Rising garnered more than a few bad reviews for its server woes. The game still has a few server capacity and connectivity issues to deal with. Thankfully, the single-player PvE mode has been implemented as of the game’s 1.0 release, which has been on many Early Access players’ suggestions list for the longest time.

Is V Rising Worth It?

Definitely, You’re Going To Want to Pay This Game Tribute

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Although the game retails for a slightly hefty $35, V Rising offers tens, if not hundreds, of hours worth of sanguine fun, easily getting you your money’s worth and then some. The sheer amount of content available in the base game is astonishing, doubly so when you consider what fun can be had in multiplayer.

The only players I wouldn’t recommend this game to are those who aren’t afforded the luxury of time. In addition to the constant upkeep of your castle’s demands, the time investment required to get better at combat might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or blood, if they’re of the undead persuasion).

V Rising Release Date and Preorder Info

Digital Storefronts
V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (34)Steam
Price $34.99

V Rising FAQ

Is V Rising A Single-Player or Multiplayer Experience?

According to the game’s developer, V Rising was designed to be both a solo and multiplayer experience. Solo players can create private worlds for them to build their castle in and explore. Meanwhile, players who prefer the multiplayer experience can choose to join multiplayer PvE and PvP servers that can hold up to 50 vampires at a time.

Can You From Clans in V Rising?

Yes. Depending on your current server’s settings, you can share a castle and form clans with up to 10 players (default of 4 players for all public servers).

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V Rising Product Information

V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (39)
Title V RISING
Release Date May 8, 2024
Developer Stunlock Studios
Publisher Stunlock Studios
Supported Platforms PC, PS5
Genre Action, Adventure
Number of Players 1-10
ESRB Rating T
Official Website V Rising Website

Comments

MasonFor2 months

Salut, ech wollt Äre Präis wëssen.

Aaron Bruce Albert..A massive fan of roguelikes, turn-based RPGs, and open world adventure games. His gold standard games include The Binding of Isaac, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Dragon Quest Monsters Joker.
V Rising Review | Enthrallingly Visceral Vampire Survival|Game8 (2024)

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