V Rising Early Access preview

by Lars
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V Rising has been on my radar since the halcyon days of Valheim, a game I assumed I’d still be playing daily even now. That might not have been necessarily true; but V Rising is finally here, and it’s fun as hell.

I was desperate to get my hands on this game. I’ve been watching development like a hawk (or bat). I took part in every beta I could. When the review key finally hit my inbox, I was all over it. I got friends involved, we set up our own PvE server, and got to work building the vampire castle we’d always dreamed of.

V Rising bandit confrontation

I’ll be honest. At this point, you probably don’t need to be told V Rising is good. It’s currently sitting at Very Positive on Steam with over 30,000 reviews. But I’m going to do it anyway.

V Rising is Diablo meets Valheim

That’s the easiest way I could sum it up, although it’s probably not entirely accurate. If you imagine an action RPG like Diablo with an emphasis on base-building and gear crafting, you’ve got V Rising. Every resource-gathering tool you can use doubles up as a weapon that deals different types of damage. Alongside that, you earn spells and abilities from killing bosses, and this doesn’t feel entirely balanced yet.

Combat is a joy – ripping through a crowd of bandits using the same axes you were using to chop down trees feels glorious – but at the moment there are some spells/weapons which are definitively better than others, and that kind of corrals everyone into using the same combination of stuff to get by. I’m gonna be straight with you – I have not played V Rising in PvP, and I don’t intend to. It’s just not for me. I was stuck in a few PvP servers during the first beta and it was grief city.

What I enjoy about V Rising is the slightly quicker pace. Where Valheim has a handful of big bosses you spend ages preparing for, V Rising has a boss fight around every corner. Wandering through a bandit camp? Boss. Casually chopping down trees? Boss fight. There’s so many boss fights you can build machines to spawn them in your own home. It’s crazy. Every boss grants you new abilities and crafting recipes. Some of them will be absolute game-changers, some will be little cosmetic items you can use to personalise your lair.

That little trickle of progress feels really good, and definitely suits V Rising‘s PvP ambitions. It was really fun to go after these bosses together, although the level of challenge varies incredibly wildly. It’s definitely a case of quantity over quality when it comes to the fights – there aren’t really any standouts in terms of mechanics, they just get steadily harder. The most satisfying thing I experienced was finally being able to take down an incredibly powerful vampire hunter inexplicably wandering around the low level zone all the time. Screw you, Tristan.

So there’s already a very enjoyable survival game here. The combat is entertaining, the buildings are magnificently grandiose, and you’re constantly being introduced to new ways to have fun with the world. A lot of the issues I experienced with the game can be addressed quite simply by tweaking your server settings – these are flexible enough to accommodate any playstyle.

As for things server settings won’t fix, though, there’s a handful of gripes. Starting with those server settings – they’re worded in a slightly obtuse way and it’s not always obvious what a setting/slider changes, which is awkward because they’re not easily adjusted after saving. It can be done, but it’s not convenient. Everything is done in technical increments with decimal points when it should really just be an easy “less/more” slider.

The same goes for a lot of the user interface. It probably feels like the most unfinished part of V Rising – menus are clunky and unintuitive. There’s a few little bits that are rough around the edges. The various forms and spells you acquire are in need of some serious balancing before the game hits full release. Right now there’s a handful of viable options if you decide to play in PvP, and everything else is just inventory/menu clutter.

V Rising Early Access: Is it worth it?

Honestly, it feels like this is basically the entire game already. There’s a clear, extensive chain of bosses to work your way through. A ton of building options and gear upgrades to unlock and craft, and hours of multiplayer fun for under £20. It is excellent value for money, and while there are certainly areas in need of refinement, the core V Rising experience is already here – and it’s bloody good.

All Stunlock Studios need to do is polish this game. There’s already plenty of content for the price point. All the existing gripes with it are surface level and will hopefully be fixed over time. My only concern is how fun it’s going to be long-term for PvE players, but if you’ve spent £15 on something and had over fifty hours of entertainment out of it… that’s a pretty good deal.

V Rising is available now via Steam’s Early Access program. Check out more of our content here.

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