Vlad the Impaler - Review

This game is a bit of an odd one, on it’s launch day there was nothing to indicate what type of game it might be.

Just this snippet:

“A city gone mad with violence and the mass murder of its people. Your choices can either lead you to the ultimate destruction of this fallen metropolis, or the demise of a vicious butcher. Will you save this city as promised or will you fall prey to the killer within?”

Along with the system requirements.

Rather baffling I tried looking up the Developer website, only to find that they have no site. Next I tried the Publisher. They didn’t even list the game, so I emailed them just to confirm the game is from them.

As it turns out Vlad the Impaler is a choose your own adventure graphic novel with some light RPG elements. A rather interesting concept to say the least, and instantly made me think of the old Goosebumps horror books I read as a child.

Determined to get into the think of it and create a powerful character I was surprised to find that you only have three classes to choose from, and you’re unable to really customise them in anyway.

You have the explorer, essentially a rogue, the warrior, and mage. A rather standard trio in RPG games. Sadly you’re unable to mix and match them or even their attribute points. Which can only be altered in gameplay due to dialogue choices and events.

The main mechanic is choosing your own adventure by being presented with several areas to wander in, and occasionally have two choices to choose from. Yes, only two. A rather tiny amount for a game that so heavily relies on user choice as its core mechanic.

Even so the game and story is riddled with inconsistencies, and ultimately your choices have little to no true bearing on the game or its conclusion.

I’ve often finished a chapter without realising simply by exploring an area, as the each chapter has a set amount of ‘turns’ or clicks you can make. Thereby shooing you along further into the game while feeling unsatisfied and wanting more of the game world. This is where the inconsistencies hit you quicker and harder than jumping in front of a bullet train. As I entered the palace’s kitchen a man apparently thanked me for saving his son. “I’m sorry, who are you and when did I ever encounter your son or you?”. That’s what I would have asked, if even given the option, but no the game carries on giving you but two options. Either drink the stew he offers as a reward, or don’t.

I don’t ever remember any of the mentioned events, and this could only have happened less than 20 minutes ago in the previous chapter.

More inconsistencies constantly surface, even in the final act of the game. Where you somehow have all the items you need to somehow combat your foes. Such as meeting three damsels in a castle and suddenly having wild roses, which you exclaim wards off and incapacities these vile creatures. Okay, yes. Magical flowers I somehow picked up somewhere. I don’t know where, nor did I ever do so.There are gaps in the game, and it’s a shame. One would think that since choosing your own adventure is the core mechanic the game would be simply packed full of content and choices. Sadly it’s all rather lacking, with barely any content to sate any person’s gaming or reading appetite. It fails on both accounts.

There are different class and character attributes, strength, constitution, agility, magic, and charm. The latter being emphasised throughout the game, and always highlighted. Instantly alerting you to its significance. These ware all affected by in game choices, such as speaking with someone, or witnessing something. In the case of constitution, my character lost a point simply while having his lunch and witnessing a man being executed. This was a permanent loss of one point, rather annoying but nothing series.As mentioned charm is highlighted, and turns out to be the most important, not for simply speaking to people you encounter, but also the final conflict with the stories antagonist. It matters little that my magic points were the same as my charm ones. I was unable to cast a single spell as a mage during this encounter, and simply overpowered and subdued the creature by appealing to their humanity. So, what’s the point in all the previous options for actions, or attributes?

What little there is to Vlad the Impaler was rather enjoyable, but sadly horribly marred by the serious lack of content, and depth beyond merely having a Yes or No option.

The ‘game’, simply rushes you through in about an hour, and despite claiming to have replayability due to user choice changing the story; it’s simply false.

The beautiful and dark art, and music is fantastic and I truly enjoyed seeing and listened to it. Still, I simply cannot recommend this ‘game’ to anyone. Whether they want a dark RPG, or a visual choose your own adventure book. There simply is not enough content to justify the price tag, and makes one wonder if this was not the reason for information and details regarding the game not surfacing on its Steam page until a day or two after launch.

A true waste of what could have been something dark and wonderful.

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