V Rising review

by on May 15, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

May 8, 2024


Vampires, generally speaking, are pretty cool, and video games have made a lot of scratch over the years leaning into this. No one wants to play a spindly old Nosferatu-like stuck in a gloomy castle, feeding on idiot travellers. We want to do the exciting stuff: the shapeshifting, glamouring, sucking the blood from our weakened enemies. The vampire hunters are always painted as complete bastards so we feel morally obligated to drain them like a strawberry smoothie. V Rising, after leaving early access, does the vampire fantasy better than most games – and that’s not a low bar to clear.

In the past games like Blood Omen, Vampire: The Masquerade, and, more recently, Vampyr, have let us live out multiple different versions of the same power complex, but V Rising might well be the best of the bunch in terms of letting us revel in our own coolness.

V Rising

It’s a survival crafter, first and foremost, though it has prevalent RPG elements that help to flesh it all out. Though you can choose to play multiplayer, either cooperatively or competitively (or both), I chose to play in a private server for the review. I played a good chunk of V Rising in early access and was happy to play host to griefers raiding my castle and gankers attacking whenever my back was turned, but playing solo is a no-less challenging, but much less stressful way to go.

It begins with you waking in a crypt before heading out into the nearby graveyard to reduce some skeletons to slightly damp grave dust. You’ll collect their bones to fashion your first set of armour and weaponry, then go and establish a base for your eventual castle. Placing a Castle Heart kickstarts the process, but it takes a lot of hours before you’ll have anything Dracula would be proud of. But then, this is the appeal of V Rising. The castle sculpting mechanic is exceptional, with entire themes you can build in, a potential height of anything up to six storeys, your own torture prison for the entertaining the locals, weapons rooms, display cases, and, of course, machines designed to press the life fluids out of anything you put in it like juicing an orange.

V Rising

Industry is a huge part of V Rising, and you’ll quickly establish a fairly strict working day routine. You can gather raw materials quite easily by hitting objects in the environment with an appropriately powerful weapon, but then must build machines to refine those materials. Logs become planks, ore becomes ingots, hide becomes leather, etc. It’s precisely as complex as it needs to be. You automate everything by running your Castle Heart on blood orbs, which you acquire by slaying pretty much every living creature you come across. Sadly, though, simple industry will only carry you so far. To expand and progress you’ll need new recipes and rare ingredients, and for that you’re going to have to go further afield.

Heading out into the world is a dangerous proposition even for a vampire. From wolves and bandits to huge golems, giant spiders, and killer plants, everything outside the castle wants you dead, not least the various vampire hunters roaming the wilds. As dangerous as these creatures are though: you’re worse. A spread of vampire abilities, magical spells, and weapon arts make you a formidable foe, and the bulk of the campaign involves hunting and feeding on almost 60 world bosses from vampire hunters and bandit lords, to beasts almost as terrifying as you. Slaying these bosses rewards you with new blueprints, items, treasures, and spells to add to your growing arsenal. Selecting one in the menu conjures a blood scent for you to follow, though you’ll find dozens of points of interest on the way.

V Rising

While I struggled a little with the mouse and keyboard combat during early access, the controller support in 1.0 is fantastic. Combat feels smooth and impactful, and evoking special attacks and magic is simple and uncluttered. You can only equip a limited number at a given time, but that just forces you to think about where you’re going and what you need to take with you. This is especially important as you can only use the primary method of fast travel when your inventory is empty. Thankfully, you’re a vampire, so you can shapeshift into a wolf or bat, which speeds you up until you get your own mount.

Your biggest enemy is the sun, whose blazing light can (and will) immolate you in seconds if you’re caught out in it. To outsmart it, you’ll need to stick to the shadows, avoiding anything that draws you out. Death will drop your inventory and necessitate a corpse run, so try to stay in the dark. The visual effect is something else, though, filling the screen with murderous light that utterly blinds you as you burst into flames. There’s still a bit of an issue in the early game with finding stuff to do when the sun is out as the days can feel long, but that doesn’t have to be a problem any more.

A massive suite of server options in V Rising lets you customise the game to a huge degree, changing the length of the days, how long resources take to respawn, and how much you can carry. You can even turn off the inventory limit for fast travel, or alter the health and damage values of yourself and enemies. It’s an almost unprecedented level of freedom and feels hugely welcome.

V Rising

V Rising is an exceptional game, one that puts as much emphasis on building your castle as strengthening your character. The difficulty ramps steadily, allowing you to tackle tougher challenges while maintaining the ever-crucial power fantasy. Played with others, especially in a PvP server, it becomes a different beast. Now you need to worry about your corpse being looted or your castle being invaded – or you can team up with others to trade, build, and quest together.

It’s hard to criticise a game that’s so well balanced across all aspects, and allows you such freedom to tinker with its difficulty. It even runs superbly on Steam Deck, with progress saving in the cloud between your Deck and desktop. It says a lot that my only real gripe is that on controller you have to hold down a button to rotate the camera, but pressing that button snaps the camera behind you anyway, which works smoothly.

If you’re into the survival crafting genre, action RPGs, or vampires in general, V Rising is an absolute blast, alone or with others. It looks great, there’s tons of customisation, and just building up your castle will keep you mega busy without all the questing and hunting on top. This one is absolutely worth your time.


Building your castle is awesome
Enjoyable combat
Great atmosphere
Tons of options


Camera is a bit finnicky on controller

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

If you're into the survival crafting genre, action RPGs, or vampires in general, V Rising is an absolute blast, alone or with others.