Is V Rising, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
V Rising proves that the survival genre still has room for innovation, even as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Action
Developer: Stunlock Studios
Publisher: Stunlock Studios
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8 May 2024
Supported Modes:

Stunlock Studios are known for their excellence when it comes to creating isometric combat systems, with titles such as Battlerite and Battlerite Royale having some of the best combat mechanics that the genre has to offer with a huge variety of combat abilities that make even the most mundane encounter something memorable.

Now, they have proved that this system works well for other genres, with V Rising showcasing that Stunlocks Studios’ signature combat system is in no way inferior to the type of systems you would expect to find in major titles such as Activision-Blizzards’ Diablo 4 or Grinding Gears Games’ Path of Exile 2. Truth be told, in some ways, it is even better than the systems used in those games.

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It’s Overall A Very Solid Game.

Combat mechanics aside, V Rising is mechanically very sound, with well-thought-out building, crafting, exploration and questing mechanics,

While not every mechanic is perfect, and at times, the crafting system is a little unbalanced, such as a single floorboard requiring 20 logs to create or twelve stone boulders being required to create a single stone block, there is no single aspect of V Rising that is mechanically inferior to the point that the entire experience is unpleasant.

After spending several hours playing V Rising, I have to admit I am very impressed, as while it may not be a traditional survival builder such as Rust, Ark Survival Evolved or Conan Exiles, it is an excellent survival game and one that allows players establish a home base, before setting off on their nefarious nocturnal adventures, which brings me to the main thing I disliked about V Rising, the ever blazing, flesh scorching sun.

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The Sun, It Burns!

I understand why the player character cannot go out in daylight, and I acknowledge that the developers have included ways to mitigate this once players level up. However, this mechanic makes travelling during the day far more difficult than travelling at night would be in any other survival game.

While other survival games may have limited visibility without a torch or slightly more hostile enemies at night, the sun in V Rising literally bakes you alive in seconds as a low-level character, forcing players to slink around in bushes or wait at home for long periods between dawn and dusk.

I feel that making sunlight reduce stats/damage or increase enemy ability in some way without literally cooking the player character alive (undead?) would make the early game more enjoyable for new players. I found travelling during daylight hours far more difficult than any of the low-level bosses I encountered at night, and I am sure many other players felt the same way.

Another major issue with V Rising is balancing; while it’s possible to complete the game (and have a great time doing so), it’s easy to see when playing as a solo player that V Rising was designed to be played with friends.

Many mid-level encounters and camps are balanced around small groups, meaning solo players will have a far more difficult time levelling than a four-player party would.

While this isn’t that bad while playing on a PvE server, on a PvP server, it means solo players are forced to either be perpetually behind larger clans or spend 4x more time online each day to migrate any advantage gained by playing as a group.

If I had worked on V rising, I would have found a way around this by buffing solo players by, say, 50% when facing two or more attackers or gathering resources.

This simple change would allow solo players to remain somewhat competitive without giving up all semblance of a real-life outside of the game.

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It’s A Very Pretty Game.

While V Rising is rather dark, it is beautiful in the way that gothic cathedrals have a charm and beauty all of their own. This praise applies not only to the base game but also to the Castlevania DLC (pictured below), which is probably the best-looking survival game cosmetic DLC I have ever seen. I seriously considered purchasing it despite having never played a Castlevania game (but I have a few in my backlog!).

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It’s Rather Dark.

V Rising’s dark tone will be offputting for many, and honestly, I know many people who would not even consider playing it for a variety of reasons, including religious ones, while I am a follower of Jesus Christ and make no secret of that, I feel that video games have a lot to teach us, or rather, sometimes they can be a medium to spur further discussion of topics worth understanding and do not automatically write off a game as “evil”, just because it contains elements I disagree with or find offensive.

The Power of Blood.

Most of V Rising’s core mechanics are based around blood in one way or another, which is to be expected as Vampires are literally famous because they love drinking the stuff to survive. Needless to say, this is a very taboo subject for most people, and rightly so.

Healthy circulating blood is what separates us from physical death, but the power of Blood does not extend purely to what we can see with our eyes.

While people do not like to speak of creation, the fall of mankind, or the corruption of human bloodlines, just one look at the world today and we see the evidence of fallen humanity; while there is some remnant of the creator’s goodness in most people, far too many people allow their darker natures to control their actions. Humanity is a flawed race, and we (as a race) made it that way.

Yet God, in his goodness, not only granted us free will but provided a way back to him, knowing that we would abuse his gift of free will and destroy his creation in the process.

I feel too many people do not grasp the gravity of just how bad a place humanity was in; mankind had surrendered their power and authority, the power of a race of demi-gods, to Satan, the very source of evil itself.

By the nature and cost of free will, humanity was now his, and only a price far higher and greater than anyone could imagine could settle that debt, which was owed collectively by every man, woman, and child for all eternity.

The very soul of humanity was lost, and it was all our fault.

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The High Cost of Free Will

A core mechanic in V Rising is the ability to dominate the will of enemies and make them mindless servants bound to your will. After seeing this mechanic in action, I could not help but think of the great lengths God went to ensure humans had free will and the tremendous price he paid to secure it.

Honestly, If I were God (and Thank God I am not!), I am not sure I would have given my creation free will to begin with, but if I had, and had also specifically warned my creation not to eat from a single tree (Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil) because it would kill them, and they had chosen to do it anyway even when there was a literal garden full of trees, including another tree that was literally called the Tree of Life they could eat from instead, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to save them.

Heck, I would have probably moved on and created a whole new race elsewhere (I am God, after all, in this scenario; I can do whatever I want!).

But God, unlike what many of us would do in that place, had already made a plan for redemption.

Freedom and, by extension, free will aren’t free; freedom is the most costly thing in existence, and God knew that better than anyone. For humanity to truly have free will, we needed to have the freedom to choose to turn away from God and decide for ourselves to love or hate him. Yet God went a step further and made a way for us to return to him, and that way was and is Jesus Christ.

I can almost hear people saying, “Well, I don’t believe in Jesus”, and you have a right to say that, just like people can say they don’t believe in round earth or the sky existing, just because you have chosen (unfortunately) the wrong path, it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus was and is the Son of God, and without the shedding of his Blood there is no salvation.

In the time before Christ’s birth, the blood of animals year in and year out was shed to cover sins, but only the Blood of Jesus could pay the debt off; the blood of goats and lambs could barely cover the interest on our debt, let alone the debt itself, and yet by his sinless life, death and resurrection, Jesus created a way back to the Father, a way to become all that they were born to be, children of God, demi-gods, who instead of being slaves to the devil, had the power to not only free themselves but to liberate others in the name of Jesus Christ from the hold on his life.

Don’t get me wrong; you are free to live your entire life without making him your Lord or acknowledging him as your Saviour, but there is no other way to the Father, and you will not enter into eternal life.

While all roads may lead to Rome, the only road that leads to the Father (God) is Jesus Christ, and without him, there is no salvation.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6

The necessity of salvation in no way takes away the reality of free will; in all things, both natural and divine, freedom of will and freedom from consequence are two separate concepts.

I could choose to drink myself half-blind and drive 100 MPH towards incoming traffic. However, I would face the consequences of that action, which could be anything from being arrested and losing my licence, losing my own life or even worse, taking the life of someone else due to my foolish actions.

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The Use of Holy Magic/Relics.

The use of holy relics in the horror genre is an established trope that dates back to 1897 (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)! We know how it works: a hero holds up a cross, and the vampire cowers in fear and retreats into the shadows of the night.

While this is a nice thought, it’s based in error, as the strength of a holy relic such as a cross is not based not the cross itself but the strength of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and the Son of God, who died upon it, and who in doing so shattered the hold of satan over the earth, and when he rose from the dead three days later, restored communion between imperfect humanity and a perfect creator so that whosoever believes on him could have everlasting life.

That right there is true power, the power of a God, not a vaguely cross-shaped staff or necklace; no matter how cool it looks, it is pure fiction.

While some people take offence at the inclusion of holy relics, honestly, their usage is so far from the truth that it’s ultimately harmless fantasy fluff that has no basis in reality. It’s not worth getting upset over. However, if you find such inclusions upsetting, then perhaps V Rising isn’t the game for you (and that is perfectly fine).

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Portrayal of Church Corruption.

While some will undoubtedly take offence at the portrayal of the church in V Rising as corrupt, ineffective, greedy, and power-mad, unfortunately, that is how many see the church today, unfortunately for for a good reason.

When the Words of Jesus Christ stopped being the core of Christianity, it became something else entirely.

One look at mainstream American Christianity (and places where it has spread), and you will see pastors and churchgoers more concerned about politics than following the words of Jesus, which has led to a weak and ineffectual church that seeks money and power instead of living in accordance with the words of Jesus.

Jesus told his followers to love everyone, even their enemies, and yet we see people calling for the death of their enemies and encouraging others to hate people based on their religion, nationality, the colour of their skin, gender, or sexual identity.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus told his followers to care for the poor, the hungry, the strangers, the prisoners, and you see Christians rally against welfare, migration and prison reform.

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; I needed clothes, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

- Matthew 25:35-40

Jesus told his followers how difficult it is for a rich man to find salvation and how that man could not serve God and money, yet we see entire ministries built on becoming filthy rich. God is not opposed to his children having money; however, he is opposed to money having an ungodly hold on his children.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

- Matthew 19:23-24

No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. - Matthew 6:24

Jesus told his followers that his kingdom is not of this earth, yet Christians waste time trying to “take control of governments”, while a God-fearing government that acts in accordance with the Gospel would benefit everyone (literally everyone, including unbelievers and other religions) we are told to pray for Godly leaders and show love to those around us, not preach politics from the pulpit.

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world. - John 18:36

The problem with the modern church is not that Christians are following the bible too closely but rather that many are ignoring the words of Jesus entirely.

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me alone, but in the One who sent Me.

And whoever sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness.

As for anyone who hears My words and does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words: The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.

And I know that His command leads to eternal life.

So I speak only what the Father has told Me to say.” - John 12:44-50

While this all sounds rather bleak, thankfully, this is not the case for all believers, and untold millions of Christians live a life of love and charity toward others; it is just unfortunate that the louder voices are those who seek power and fame instead of those who seek to do the will of their Lord in all things.

If you love me, obey my commandments. - John 14:15

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We Need Factions.

With all that being said, I feel that V Rising would be a much more palatable game with even better PvP and wider acclaim if they introduced a three-faction system, with players having the opportunity to play as either a vampire, werewolf or human, with each faction faring better under certain circumstances, such as vampires who are weakened by sunlight earning greater rewards during daytime for daytime activities, while the reverse is true for human characters, who are weaker at night but earn rewards for nocturnal activities than their vampire counterparts.

As a third option, I would include werewolves, who receive no such buffs/debuffs but rather perform equally at any time of the day or night while earning rewards at a standard rate. This is perfect for players who wish to play the game without worrying about checking the clock before heading out to raid an enemy castle.

Many of the assets and abilities needed to create human and werewolf factions already exist in the game. Honestly, it would not take too much work to convert them to player characters, especially for a team as talented as Stunlock Studios.

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V Rising FAQ

V Rising is a action video game developed and published by Stunlock Studios, it was released on 8 May 2024 and retails for $34.99.

Platform Availability.

V Rising is available on the following platforms: PC, and Playstation 5.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

V Rising offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

V Rising is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Gore
  • Violence

Final Verdict.

V Rising is a fantastic game that long-time fans of the genre will enjoy; however, its reliance on horror and occult themes and overall dark tone will make it unpalatable for some, which is a real shame, as while V Rising is very dark, visually and mechanically, it is a work of art.

I would love to see the developers introduce other playable races and factions in the future and make adjustments to solo play to ensure solo players are not just pretty for larger clans, as by doing this, they would make making an already excellent game into a near-perfect one.

Do I recommend V Rising, “yes”; however, if you feel you have a weakness when it comes to dark or occult matter, then I strongly suggest you look elsewhere, as while to most it can be harmless fun, to some, it could be spiritually damaging and lead them down a road that ultimately ends in ruin.

Is V Rising Worth Playing In 2024?

7
Honest Video Game Reviews has given "V Rising" a rating of 7/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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