One of V Rising’s biggest strengths is how it ties its gothic horror theme to its survival/crafting gameplay. Seems like the fantasy of being a vampire was just as important to the developers as the fantasy of resource gathering and base building. These ideals don’t seem to go well together, but they do. Stunlock Studios brings a lot of innovative ideas to the survival/crafting genre, and there’s no better example of that than the sunlight mechanic – a common vampire trope that fits right into a survival game. Sunlight has a huge impact on how you play the game. It determines when and where you can go, it affects the difficulty of combat encounters, and overcoming it speaks to both your mastery of the game and the progress of your character. It’s a smart mechanic that I like a lot, conceptually. In practice, however, I quickly learned to sense sunlight and the obstacles it creates. It’s a good mechanic, but after a while it stops being fun.
Sunlight is pretty much the first thing you learn when you start V Rising. As soon as you step out into the sun, you will see a bright red light descend from the sky and point directly at your head. After a few seconds you will start to burn and you will only have a few seconds to take cover or you will die. The forest is dense with trees, rock formations and structures that provide shelter from the sun, but traveling during the day is never easy. The day/night cycle is always an important feature in survival games, and it’s such a clever way to incorporate day and night into a vampire setting. It makes you feel free and powerful in the dark, like the whole world is your hunting ground, but during the day you become weak and vulnerable.
At first, sunlight poses major problems. It’s hard to work on your base when you can’t move freely, so you have to build mist braziers that create fog to block out the sun. These structures use bones for fuel, so you need to make time to hunt between all of your other tasks. As your castle grows, you’ll build a roof to block out the sun, and you won’t have to worry about maintaining the mist braziers. At this point, sunlight becomes little more than a nuisance while traveling, which unfortunately takes up most of your time in V Rising.
Once you’ve taken care of the crafting base, the main loop of the game is to hunt down bosses to unlock new blueprints and abilities. Leaving at night will help you cover ground faster, but there’s so much ground to cover between bosses that when the sun comes up, you’ll inevitably find yourself walking towards the boss or returning from combat. During the night you can transform into a wolf to move faster, but you lose your wolf form if you take a single point of damage, so using it during the day under the constant threat of sunlight doesn’t help. is generally not possible. At this point, it’s a noticeable hindrance – it slows you down on an already terribly long journey.
The problem with sunlight is that you never get over it. You can craft gear that increases the time it takes to start burning, but you’ll still be slowed by the sun. It does not pose a major threat and you cannot deal with it completely. It’s just an annoyance. It would be one thing if sunlight completely blocked certain paths, or if the time of day had a big impact on the size and shape of shadows, but you’re absolutely not limited to traveling during the day, that just takes longer.
V Rising just launched in early access, and I only saw the first region covered in forests. It’s possible that later development will make sunlight more interesting and dynamic, or that later biomes will change how you’re forced to engage with sunlight. I’ve played 15 hours of V Rising and I’m no longer impressed or threatened by sunlight. I just wish I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.
Next: V Rising Is A Vampire-Themed Mix Of Ark And Diablo
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