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Video Game / Vampyr (2018)

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Cursed be the choice.

"Twelve dreams for the red queen under crown of stone. Eight voracious beasts born from eight restless nights. Four nails piercing the flesh of the sinner. One prayer for the summoned called by this song."
Mysterious Entity, Opening Monologue

Vampyr is an Action RPG developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Focus Home Interactive. It was originally slated to be available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in late 2017, but was delayed until June 5th, 2018. Then it came to Nintendo Switch on October 29th, 2019, ported by a team at Saber Interactive.

The year is 1918. Jonathan E. Reid is a brilliant doctor who served during the Great War and became familiar with a brand new blood transfusion technique that's saved many lives. When the game begins, he's just returned home to London from the front and wakes up after an attack by a mysterious assailant. This attack was the cause of his transformation into a vampire. It seems that his status as a specialist in human blood is of interest to the vampire society that hides in the shadows.

Jonathan's thirst for blood compels him to kill. To do this successfully, the player must gather information about his targets, study and change their habits, collect clues, and maintain certain relationships by communicating with the inhabitants of London. If one so chooses, anyone in the game could be a target, which will have consequences that affect the story. Feeding on human blood will unlock new vampiric powers in addition to providing nourishment. On the other hand, one can also choose not to kill anyone, as they're under no obligation to do so in order to progress within the game. At the same time, Jonathan has his hands rather full in his professional life, as The Spanish Flu epidemic ravages Europe and his skills as a doctor are in high demand.

Has nothing to do with the 1932 horror movie by the same name.

The game provides examples of:

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  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Jonathan will have to navigate one, following Sean Hampton's lead only to find a village of wise and peace-loving Skals. Some late-game sidequests also involve delving into the sewers.
  • Aerith and Bob: Due to being set in early 20th century London, the game contains a cast mixing first names which are still common in modern setting and strange-looking ones. Examples of the former include Jonathan, Edgar, Mary, Thelma, Harriet, Benjamin, Tom... Examples of the latter include Thoreau, Waverley, Ichabod, Booth, Archer...
  • A.K.A.-47: None of the guns are referred under their real name. The "revolvers" are Webley, the Parabellum is a P08 Luger, and Joe's Semi-Automatic Pistol is a M1911.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Subverted with the Skals. Upon first impression, it seems all of them are ravenous and mindless monsters incapable of being reasoned with. But then it turns out that a whole Skal community lives under London and they are outcasts of the 'proper' vampire society and their leader Old Bridget becomes a valuable friend and ally to Jonathan. Sean Hampton can try to be a good Skal, but he will fail due to being infected by the Blood of Hate. When you get down to it, Skals are more victims of their condition than true monsters.
    • Played straight when you discover the Blood of Hate which is what happens when a Disaster – the Red Queen's chosen – or a vampire tainted by a Disaster passes their blood on. The descendants of Harriet Jones, Doris Fletcher, and Lady Ashbury are all destined to become beasts.
  • Always Night: Being a vampire, you naturally cannot wander during the day. Justified in that you’re a night-shift doctor and you sleep during the day. Subverted in the very beginning and in the epilogue both of which happen as the dawn breaks.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Ascalon Club is a society of extremely old, rich and powerful male Ekon as well as humans who are occasionally rewarded with vampirism. They might be aiming for the protection of the British Empire's interests and they're not evil, but they're certainly self-centered and disdainful of anyone who doesn't belong to their association.
  • Ancient Tradition:
    • The Brotherhood of Saint Paul's Stole and the Guard of Priwen are both these, though the Guard of Priwen is a darker take on it. They are organizations that study the supernatural and fight the supernatural respectively and they also used to be one organization before splitting up in 1801.
    • The Ascalon Club acts like this but they're really an Ancient Conspiracy as noted above.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The preorder DLC, Hunter's Heirlooms, includes an alternate outfit for Jonathan to change to in his office at Pembroke. Although all it does is switch his default grey overcoat for a black one with a detachable cape, adds black leather gloves and a black bowler hat.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • You're immune to attacks while feeding on someone in combat. While you're mostly ignored when you are, you can see this if you begin feeding as an attack is coming your way.
    • Moral choices that are shown to require a certain amount of XP to perform can still be performed with less than the required amount at the cost of your XP going into the negatives. This can come in handy in the Docks and Pembroke Districts, as the best outcomes for each require hefty XP investments.
    • Although the game quite cruelly leaves you with only a scrap of blood when you respawn after a death, forcing you to run off and refill yourself before you can even re-try the spot that killed you, many respawn points have a few rats nearby, so you can usually at least refill a portion of your blood right away.
    • If you were killed by a boss who had a cutscene before the fight, the next time you engage, the game will automatically skip the corresponding cutscene without you needing to press anything.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The player can come across several documents like these. Right at the start of the game Jonathan takes refuge inside an abandoned house, he finds that the original owners are dead with a diary near their bed showing how things went from bad to worse. The wife became a Skal and the husband locked himself in a room to wait for her to starve to death, while he shot himself in the head. The wife's body disappears later; presumably she had revived or was dragged off.
  • Appropriated Appellation: In a self-deprecating way, the Skals have adopted their label (which means "slave" in other languages) as if they accepted their status as lesser beings.
  • Artistic License – History: According to William Marshal, the Great Fire of London began in St. Paul's Cathedral first, and he had been the one to set it. According to historical accounts, the fire started in a bakery in Pudding Lane and did not spread to the Cathedral until two days afterwards. The bakery is mentioned in the conversation as the hideout of the 1666 Disaster, however, so this is likely a literal case of Artistic License.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: There's an outright splash screen when you start the game that displays this disclaimer:
    Even if based on proven medical knowledge from 1918, Vampyr sometimes takes liberties when establishing possible links between scientific theories and supernatural creatures, for theatrical purposes. In other words, Don't Try This at Home.
  • Artistic License – Religion: A minor case. The "Sad Saint" Sean Hampton was brought up in a Catholic orphanage, but all the icons that adorn his night shelter are painted in the Eastern Orthodox style.
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few of the supporting cast is pretty flawed, but a few stand out:
    • The first person Jonathan is prompted by a mysterious voice to Embrace is Clay Cox, introduced to us while stabbing a man and then kicking him into the canal. If you choose not to kill him and later investigate him and his background, he turns out to be a murderer, a gang leader, pretty rude to boot, and the guy you saw him kill had his brother murdered by Cox. On top of all that, he's got zero social connections to anyone. Literally nobody will miss him; he has an estranged wife in the Docks who runs his gang in his absence, but she's already with another man.
    • Whitechapel has Cadogan Bates, a churlish slumlord who rents to the "filthy immigrants" (quote), squeezing every last penny – and then some, with female tenants – while also trying to make use of Dr. Reid's medical expertise to help him profiteer off more prospective tenants. Jonathan is so disgusted by Cadogan, that the player can feel his rage bubbling to the surface when he speaks to him.
    • Again in Whitechapel, Fr. Tobias Whitaker is an intolerant preacher who insults Dr. Reid for being a scientist, shows open disgust at doctors and nurses for not treating people with prayers (and holds Nurse Crane in particular contempt), is a misogynist, insults the local vicar, openly expresses that he would solve the Spanish Flu epidemic by having London burn to the ground (again), and if you choose to look for his apprentice, find out that he's actually burnt people alive to “cleanse” them, and doesn't regret it.
    • For the Docks, we've Seymour Fishburn. He's a remorseless Serial Killer who justifies his crimes by saying he has these 'demons' in his head. Unlike Clay and Cadogan, Seymour has a good trait about him: his love for his mother. Yet even that love is bordering on petty jealousy that compels him to make a young orphan's life – for whom his mother cares for – a living hell.
    • West End has Venus Crossley. Outwardly, she's a pleasant friend married to Jonathan's friend Clarence and offers to check in on Emelyne during the day. However, she's really a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing poisoning him in the hopes of killing him and taking control of his money. And her motivation is that since her husband is mentally damaged, it's causing her social snubbing. Keep in mind that Clarence is Jonathan's fellow veteran, best friend and was his best man at Clarence's wedding.
  • Aura Vision: One of Jonathan's vampire powers. He can see someone's cardiovascular system, can determine whether they are sick or healthy, and, if sick, with what disease(s); convenient for a doctor. This power also allows him to eavesdrop on conversations (as citizens' hearts start to emit a bright glow that alerts him).
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The Ascalon Club was founded by Lord Redgrave, Progeny of William Marshal (see below), and he only accepts the most blue-blooded male Ekons as members. In truth, Redgrave's lineage is so weak that he can only sire Skals himself.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
    • William Marshal, the famous 12th-century knight, plays a key role in the lore as Britain's most ancient vampire.
    • At the end of the game, Myrddin reveals to Jonathan that King Arthur had been one of his previous vampire champions. An annoyed Jonathan then shouts out a list of other notable English figures (Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Alfred the Great, Francis Drake, Thomas More, and Guy Fawkes) and asks if they're also Myrddin's Progeny. The response? One of the men on Jonathan's list is indeed a vampire.
    • And in a situational version, the Spanish Flu pandemic is portrayed instead as being a vampiric plague – at least in London's case.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Going on a rampage as an evil vampire will invariably result in your Love Interest burning herself to crisp in shame for unwittingly playing her part on the epidemic. Best exemplified in the ending where Jonathan doesn't get over her death and crosses the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Being Good Sucks: No vampire pun intended. It's possible to complete the game without draining any non-combatant civilians, but your level will be far behind your enemies. You still get some experience for fighting enemies (most of which are infected) curing illnesses, and completing investigations, but it's a fraction compared to what you'd get for chomping on an NPC. You also have to resist the temptation of going full-vigilante on civilians. On the other hand, playing as a good vampire earns the happy ending; to get the best ending you have to avoid killing any non-hostile characters, even the ones who are Asshole Victims, outright murderers, or generally awful human beings. You can get the next best ending by limiting your killings to only a few select people.
  • Big Fancy House: The mansion where the Ascalon Club resides. Also Aloysius Dawson's mansion.
  • Bittersweet Ending: There's a tinge of this to every ending you can get – save for the worst one. Jonathan defeats the Red Queen and saves London from the epidemic, but his sister is still dead, his mother can also potentially die, and Elizabeth can commit suicide if he's been over-indulging.
  • Blessed with Suck: Being a vampire grants one many useful abilities, but the need and thirst for blood compel one to kill and feed on anyone nearby, including innocents. The game explores the dualism of being a vampire; that in order to live forever, you must take the lives of others. This also comes into conflict with Jonathan's Hippocratic Oath of “first, do no harm".
  • Body Horror: Skals are afflicted with hideous deformities, as seen in this concept art. That said, they are nothing compared to Ichors, the living embodiments of disease mixed with vampire blood since they are even more mutated than the average Skals.
  • Britain Is Only London: Played largely straight as the story takes place in the post-WW1 London, with the exception of the epilogue which takes you to rural Scotland.
  • Brain Food: As in some Anne Rice-inspired works, feeding on someone doesn't just drain their life but transfers memories. You hear the dying thoughts of every citizen (barring Sean Hampton and Edgar Swansea) you chomp on, for example. Anyone you've Embraced will have a full biography in the menu because you now know all their secrets (sometimes this is the only way to get a unique weapon or a key to a locker they own). This is also why learning hints about the citizens boosts the XP gain because you understand the memories you've absorbed better.
  • But Thou Must!: While the player can choose whoever Jonathan feeds on someone, at the very start of the game he has to in order to continue, whether the player likes it or not. The victim turns out to be his sister.
  • Cain and Abel: A tragic example, as the very first victim that Jonathan kills is his sister Mary. She returns mid-game as a vampire herself, and is very pissed off about her condition.
  • Cessation of Existence: Several characters in the game hold no faith in the existence of life after death. In particular, Aloysius Dawson desires to be turned into a vampire because he is terrified that there is nothing waiting for him when he dies. His entire motivation is that he's terrified of death.
  • City Noir: 1918 London is a dark and devastated place. Most of the people are hiding because of rampant influenza, the hospitals are full and telling people that are sick to go back home, and there is a vampire infestation going on at the same time. And depending on Jonathan's actions, he can send the entire city into complete anarchy and chaos.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Played straight for probably the first time in decades, albeit Dr. Reid is a Downplayed Trope example. He is a dark, sinister-looking European aristocratic gentleman with a coat that strongly resembles a cape with a High Collar of Doom. He is cursed with a Horror Hunger and lives in a time just after the Victorian Era. He possesses mesmerism, is affected by crosses, and is chased by vampire hunters. Indeed, the other vampires in the setting also possess many classic trope examples. Indeed, the primary influences appear to be Dracula (for the Ekons), Nosferatu (for the Skals), and Carmilla (for Lady Ashbury).
  • Common Place Rare: Reviving the plant in Jonathan's office requires finding water. It can only be found in a single place, which isn't accessible until quite late in the storyline (a shop in West End district)...while Jonathan's office is in a hospital that is literally right next to a river.
  • Compelling Voice: Jonathan can use two different versions of this.
    • The Hint system allows Jonathan to very lightly compel a person to tell them secrets and information that they wouldn't normally give up which is shown by a slight warping of his voice when he compels his target. He also uses this to convince people who normally would refuse his medications to take them.
    • A much harsher version is the Mesmerize power, which allows Jonathan to directly control his victim's mind, getting them to move to hidden locations so he can feed on them.
  • The Corruption: The Blood of Hate, which is spread by the Red Queen, corrupts the vampires tainted by it into bloodthirsty monsters. In the past, William Marshall discovered a cure for it and used it on Elisabeth, but it didn't quite work.
  • Council of Vampires: The Ascalon Club is an elite of the richest and most powerful vampires that shape society and keep their kind's existence a secret. Curiously, not all their high-ranking members are vampires since they allow humans as equal partners so long as they are wealthy and influential enough. Also curiously, this particular cabal is dedicated to protecting the British Empire; they're much more nationalistic than vampires are usually depicted.
  • Crapsack World: The real world of 1918's Britain has suffered the one-two punch of World War 1 and the Spanish Flu. In addition to the massive amount of dead young men in the trenches, two hundred thousand people died of influenza. It's also a place full of racism, sexism, classicism, and other social conflicts. That's in the real world. Now add roving gangs of blood-crazed Skals, vampire hunters, and the fact the British Empire is heavily influenced by a bunch of vampires.
  • Crisis Point Hospital: Pembroke, obviously. Before Dr. Reid enters, stage right, the hospital's faring fairly okay, sitting at a comfy 94% Health — the highest of all the boroughs (even the quarantined West End). Nevertheless, like with the rest of London, Jonathan can plunge the hospital into chaos, resulting in its closure.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: A rare linguistic example. The game obviously borrows a lot of ideas and concepts from Vampire: The Masquerade, including the term "Embrace". However, in Masquerade, the expression is used for the comparatively less overtly harmful act of creating a new vampire, while in Vampyr, it refers to killing a mortal for sustenance. This is likely to trip up VtM veterans a lot and has the side-effect of making vampires sound a lot more benevolent than they actually are.
  • Dark Reprise: Each borough's theme will transform as its Health Status declines. By the time the Status hits 'Critical,' the accompanying music will have become excessively moody and foreboding.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Embracing" sounds less lethal as it actually is.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The game is set in London in 1918, a time when misogyny, racism and homophobia were common in society. The player will meet both victims and perpetrators of this in the course of the story. It is perfectly possible for Jonathan to condemn those who perpetrate it or display sympathy for its victims.
  • Demonic Vampires: The vampires are supernatural creatures with power over both blood and shadows. The real demonic aspect comes from their weakness to Holy items, and are unable to enter churches. Furthermore are the primordial vampires.
    • Jonathan initially believed that when his vampire sire, Myrddin Wyltt, appeared before him, he was using an apparition or an avatar to speak from afar. Only to learn that no, he's been directly speaking to him every time, face to face. Meaning he actually does look like a humanoid figure made floating pieces of glass made of blood.
    • The mother of Jonathan's vampire sire is The Morrigan. An Eldritch Abomination who causes devastation by waking up, who's dreams cause literal Hate Plagues, and is the progenitor of all vampires. Not even her son truly understands what she is, and you only meet and fight a shadow made of blood. Despire being able to have a full personal conversation with others, she's explicitly described as not being fully awake when doing so.
  • Developer's Foresight: In the "Night Shift" main quest, you're tasked with retrieving a few chemicals in the old morgue in order to use alternate ingredients to craft potent remedies. The remedy you need to craft is Fatigue Medicine, a generic medicine for a one of the generic ailments NPCs are affected, some of them may even be encountered before starting the quest. Also, the items you need to retrieve are actually generic crafting ingredients already available for free in the open world. If you craft Fatigue Medicine while the quest is active but before being prompted to by the current objective, the quest directly advances to the step where you need to bring the medicine to Nurse Crane, which skips a dungeon and a boss fight.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Turning Aloysius Dawson into a vampire results in every single citizen in the game catching a disease once you sleep to the next night. That's not too bad if the districts where previously in good shape and if you have a sufficient stockpile of medicine ingredients, but being unable to catch-up results in the ill citizens' diseases worsening once enough time passes, which in turn worsens the district's health (and make prices higher, which in turns make buying supplies harder), until the district falls into anarchy. Making this choice while not prepared enough may result in the districts' health spiraling down out-of-control until NPCs and game content becomes lost forever.
  • Don't Try This at Home: At game's launch, the first screen is a disclaimer stating the writers made their research about early 20th century-era medicine but its depiction has been simplified for narrative reasons, and the plot also links diseases with supernatural elements, so this game shouldn't be used as a model to perform medical acts in real life.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Downplayed. While Jonathan is never given the chance to straight-out tell the gullible Londoners what he really is – Clarence Crossley being the only exception – he can take on the tasks that could increase public awareness of vampires if completed properly e.g. putting Ichabod Throgmorton's anti-vampire posters around the Docks. Naturally, at the same time, he can disobey, burn the posters and say they were taken down by militia. The irony amuses him as shown in his journal entries.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The amount of characters who don't have significant issues with their lives or relationships are completely dwarfed by those who do. Those that don't are probably just entirely mysterious to the player in general anyway.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Managing to beat the game as a vampire who hadn't Embraced anyone will earn you the best ending where Jonathan and Elisabeth migrate to the U.S. and live peacefully for centuries to come.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing in Story Mode (the easiest difficulty setting) briefly adds a "Story Mode" label on the HUD when loading a game, and permanently adds one in the save slot. Story Mode also prevents you from getting an achievement when finishing the game without embracing anyone, though the best ending is still available.
  • Exact Words: Unusually, it's the interface that does this. Notice how all the loading screen hints say that draining civilians is the easiest and fastest way to gain XP? Not the best?
  • The Extremist Was Right:
    • While the Guard of Priwen is guilty of Van Helsing Hate Crimes, they do have a point about the majority of vampires in general; some are corrupt beings fueled by the Blood or Hate while others are arrogant and domineering individuals like the Ascalon Club. Jonathan can also be played as a total monster, leaving Elisabeth as the sole good vampire, and even she has to kill to sate her thirst (though she takes no pleasure in doing this). Even Jonathan's basic capabilities rather externally justify their zealotry - even if he never actually does it, who would abide by an individual that can just Mind Control people at will?
    • Fr. Tobias Whitaker is an old priest who believes the epidemic to be The Scourge of God, sent to cleanse London, and advocates using fire to eradicate it. Not only is he correct about the plague's true nature, he is the first character to hint at the Big Bad's existence when he mentions "a laughing Queen dressed in blood" during his ramblings.
  • Faceless Mooks: Pretty much all of the Guard of Priwen enemies are this, wearing either a bandana over their face or in the case of Chaplains, an entire full-face and featureless solid mask that's red. Given that the Spanish flu epidemic is occurring in London, them all covering their faces is Justified.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Ascalon Club is basically based around Ekon supremacy with a ritual that talks about blood purity and tradition. Lord Redgrave states his plan for resolving the crisis is to kill every Skal in England.
    • Unsurprisingly, the Guard of Priwen want to annihilate all vampires.
  • Fantastic Slurs: The Guard of Priwen refer to vampires as "leeches" and "vermin".
  • Fighting a Shadow: The game's final boss in a nutshell. After killing Harriet Jones, the Red Queen's avatar emerges from her body and attacks Jonathan. However, she is not destroyed when defeated but merely agrees to go back to slumber when asked by her son Myrddin. She does this only after telling everyone that she will return.
  • Flash Step: One of Jonathan's vampire abilities that allows him to save time zipping about.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: The nighttime scenes in London are quite foggy.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Skals are assumed to be brainless Always Chaotic Evil beasts until we discover a community of Skals living peacefully under London. We can find clues proving that they're smarter than they look right at the start of the game with the very first Skal we face, William Bishop, stopping by a bar to have a drink.
    • A small subtle one regarding weaknesses to religious items: it's shown that they can paralyze Jonathan. However, Sean Hampton, even after becoming a Skal, is never hurt by the one he wears which foreshadows William Marshal's immunity as well. In the end, he tells Jonathan he received immortality from Archangel Michael (Myrddin), revealing he remained a devout Christian even after being turned.
    • When talking with Harriet Jones in the Skal sanctuary, she says she can hear voices, which Jonathan believes are just her mind playing tricks. It's actually the Red Queen talking to her.
    • Jonathan asks Lady Ashbury how vampires are made, to make sure to be cautious and avoid accidentally turning people. It turns out that's what happened when he fed on his sister.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Several traders in the game such as Rakesh Chadana and Milton Hooks are Pembroke staff that sell illegal goods, while Edwina Cox is this trope by default (being a gang member that sells you weapons). Depending on your choices, Dorothy Crane can become this if Jonathan spares her, offering to buy medical supplies and serums to fund her illegal dispensary. There are legitimate traders (like Carolyn Price) in the game, but they are comparatively fewer.
  • Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire:
    • Possibly invoked, as one can complete the game without killing a single non-hostile NPC. However, this makes the game a bit more difficult, because you can't get new abilities without consuming blood and so must farm the hostile mooks if you want to become more powerful.
    • Lady Ashbury, Jonathan's friend other than Dr. Swansea. She feeds on the sick and the dying, but takes no pleasure in killing and is, otherwise, a perfectly nice and friendly person.
    • Sean Hampton is a tragic subversion. He is turned into Skal after being infected by Bishop at the start of the game. Initially, he manages to keep control instead of losing his mind like other Skals and takes it upon himself to protect his flock (homeless humans) and the Sewer Skals. If Jonathan chooses, he can spare Hampton and leave him to his devices, and when he returns to the Docks in the following night, Sean Hampton has turned into a high-level mini-boss, forcing Jonathan to put him down.
      • Played straight if Jonathan asks around the Docks about Sean before confronting him. This awards the player all of Sean's hints and unlocks for a third option that allows him to safely continue his work.
    • Sir William Marshal might have been this kind of vampire – if being remembered as a hero by the Ascalon Club is any indication. When reminiscing on his own past, William mentions he drank from the "throats of the unworthy" which, at least, paints him in a ruthless light.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Sometimes the side investigation "A Cherished Souvenir" suffers from a bug that forces you to make a bad choice at the end, though said bug is not always replicable. In the end, you complete the quest by bringing Cristina's scarf to either her or Clayton, but you lose two hints if she's the one who received the item. If the bug does happen, it removes the choice of giving the scarf to Clayton which permanently prevents you from getting those hints – though one of those hints can be bought by asking Usher Talltree to scry. Walkthrough
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • One-way gates dot the map of London and the West End district is inaccessible to you until Chapter 4. This is justified as the in-universe LLC Board of Health had placed the city under curfew – Jonathan can walk around the three main areas because he’s a doctor – and only those with official passes can gain entry to the quarantined West End. In Chapter 4, Lady Ashbury procures you such a pass.
    • The game justifies the standard RPG trope of characters blurting out their deepest life secrets to a random stranger after only a few minutes of conversation by explicitly indicating that this is Jonathan using his vampire mental abilities to compel answers from the people he's talking to. Such dialogue options are marked in blue and the people he's talking to will often speak with a mildly dazed voice when answering such questions.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The best ending has Jonathan proudly declare that he hasn't taken a single life aside from Mary. He says this even though you've most likely slaughtered hordes of Priwen by this point. Also, Jonathan is clearly capable of drinking blood in combat without killing his victim, which would make one question the vampires' stated need to kill in order to feed.
    • At one point, Jonathan is advised by Lady Ashbury to go and pray for Mary’s soul at the Whitechapel church. The vicar with whom Jonathan converses will always be there and very much alive even if Whitechapel itself had fallen – an act that kills every normal citizen and floods the streets with rabid Skals. If the player overlooks the two Skals that loiter right near the church doors, be prepared to listen to their screeches even as Jonathan has a soulful discussion with the vicar.
  • Glamour:
    • Most of the upstanding Citizen NPCs don't have a clue about the horrendous ghouls and thuggish vampire hunters roaming the streets at night, assuming the former to be just crazies and the latter to be some kind of militia. A particularly egregious example is the lost citizens threatened by Skals trying to eat them and then they are saved by a stranger that moves like a shadow and bites their attackers, and they never question what he is.
    • Especially noteworthy is Louise Teasdale, whose abduction by an Ekon With A Crush leaves her well aware that vampires exist. Despite this and the above, she manages to reason that since Jonathan managed to kill one, it shouldn't be that hard for her to become a vampire hunter as well.
    • Invoked with the Ekon, who naturally project an aura that hides their appearance from others, unless one is properly trained to notice the difference, like the Guard of Priwen. If they spot Jonathan from a distance, they will believe he's a normal citizen and simply tell him to leave as the area is too dangerous. It's only when he gets close to them or draws a weapon that they realize he's a vampire.
  • Glamour Failure: Ekons are capable of disguising themselves from mortals, including Jonathan if he's gotten red eyes and pallor from feeding too much. That being said, few humans like the Guard of Priwen (vampire hunters), Dr. Swansea (a human scholar in vampirism), and Charlotte Ashbury (adopted and raised by a vampire) can identify them on the spot. Charlotte implies that Ekons can project some kind of aura that hides their nature and humans can be taught a trick to see past it.
  • God Is Good: Myrddin refers to the Blood of Hate as a wish "to spit upon the eye of God." Given the implication, one could infer that not only does God exist in the game's universe, but He is also probably a pretty great guy.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While the player can abstain from feeding on innocents, there is no penalty for biting and draining opponents in the middle of combat.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't get to see how Jonathan executes an emergency tracheotomy on a patient. The camera stays on his face for the entire time of the operation.
  • Guide Dang It!: Aplenty.
    • Giving the correct answers during Dorothy Crane's surgery scene. There are no in-game clues that tell you how to perform surgery. The general correct path involves being assertive rather than differential towards Dorothy (because you're the doctor, she's not, and it's an emergency situation), and using some common sense and general knowledge of how surgery is performed. Walkthrough
    • Choosing the wrong dialogue options will permanently lock you out of reforming Dawson before he dies. If you turn him (2000XP), he will go on a rampage, causing everyone in London to become ill if they aren't already sick, and potentially destroying entire districts, all in a single day. Of course, you could just kill him, but that will lock you out of the no-kill run.
    • Investigations that are linked to hints are sometimes counterintuitive e.g. in Whitechapel, do you give the keepsake scarf to Clayton Darby or Christina Popa? Turns out, returning it to the owner will void one of her hints, as well as one of Clayton's hints, and that's not counting the Game-Breaking Bug which removes the option to give the scarf to Clayton if you skipped the quest's lines, slept, or quit the game while the quest was active.
    • Hints are this in general. Wrong dialogue choices will permanently lock you out of getting them.
    • Feeding on the Vicar during Mary's boss fight will lock you out of the best ending and ruin your pacifist run, even if he's not listed as a civilian on the Citizen Menu.
    • Collecting all, well, collectibles is mostly a simple case of picking up items from the world. A few require you to buy them from merchants and one is permanently missable by not following directions correctly on a minor side-mission. This will also lock you out from getting the Infinity +1 Sword for that playthrough though you can still brute-force the associated puzzle.
  • Hate Plague: How the epidemic started, as Harriet Jones' mere presence was able to transform her daughter into a full-blown Ichor and a would-be Disaster.
  • Hidden Elf Village: There is a small community of mentally-stable Skals hiding in London sewers. According to Old Bridget, as long as there have been vampires, Skals were also nearby which implies there are other Skals communities spread across the world. They don't survive Harriet Jones' rampage.
  • Historical Domain Character: William Marshal was a real man and is, in fact, widely considered the greatest knight in history.
  • Horror Hunger: A common problem that Jonathan will have to deal with. At the very start of the game, he succumbs to it shortly after being turned and claims his first victim. Skals don't drink blood, but are instead driven to feast upon flesh like ghouls, so they're even messier.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Played with in all sorts of ways.
    • Downplayed with Jonathan. Jonathan pursues his mysterious Maker demanding answers and possibly revenge for causing his sister's death. Turns out his Maker is no mere vampire, but a godlike Eldritch Abomination that chose him to be his champion. Over the course of the story, he becomes something of a Trickster Mentor to Jonathan, who grows exasperated with him and his riddles, but by the endgame they part ways on more-or-less civil terms.
    • Played straight with Mary who loathes her brother for accidentally turning her into a vampire and begins targeting the people all around him as revenge.
    • Subverted and inverted with McCullum and Swansea if you opt to turn them into vampires. Jonathan wishes to punish both of them for their crimes. However, despite initially begging to not be turned due to regarding vampirism a Fate Worse than Death, McCullum adapts to it quite well, continuing his job as before. Upon meeting Jonathan again, he is a lot more civil than before. Swansea, on the other hand, is positively overjoyed with becoming a vampire despite Jonathan's original intent and soundly thanks him if Jonathan comes to speak to him again,
    • Averted with Elisabeth and her Maker William Marshal whom she loves as if he was her own father.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Jonathan is allowed to wield improvised weapons such as hacksaws, which can be upgraded through a crafting system. There are also wooden stakes and cudgels you can use in your off-hand which stun enemies rather than do direct damage. Another class of off-hand weapons are surgical knifes, which allow to drain blood with each hit.
    • Mary Reid uses a makeshift wooden cross that marked her grave as a melee weapon for her boss fight.
    • The Guard of Priwen also like throwing garlic grenades at you.
  • Irony:
    • The Guard of Priwen holds King Arthur in high regard. He was, after all, a defender of Britain and his blood is a sacred relic with McCullum using a serum made from it to fight against vampires on equal ground. Jonathan finds out King Arthur was a vampire, and not just any other, but a vampire champion just like him sired by Myrddin to fight against the Red Queen.
    • Jonathan comments on the fact that he, a renowned blood specialist, got turned into a vampire. Subverted when Myrddin reveals that he was chosen specifically for his expertise in hope that he can develop an antidote.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The True Dragonbane sword, optionally unlocked near the end of the game by solving a complex cryptology puzzle in Usher Talltree's lair using hidden documents found throughout the city, used to be this, being easily the most powerful melee weapon in the game. However, it was heavily Nerfed in a patch to be only slightly better than the game's other blade weapons, which is rather disappointing considering the amount of effort you go through to get it.
  • Interface Spoiler: When you encounter Nurse Crane in the first chapter, her character sheet doesn't state she is a standard citizen of Pembroke Hospital but the Pillar of another district, which unsubtly announces she's more than she initially seems.
  • Karma Meter: The districts sink into chaos if you kill their pillars. You also get different endings depending on the amount of characters you embrace.
  • Karma Houdini: Jacob Blackwood never appears in the game aside from possessing Carina to tell Jonathan to mind his own business and so he never pays for mesmerizing and mentally damaging a woman to make her feel compelled to eat rats.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Fire is the biggest weakness of the undead. Vampire hunters who shoot you with regular bullets reduce your health, but it is easily regenerated, while the ones who shoot you with incendiary rounds cause damage to your maximum health. Torch-wielders are the same deal. The player can get in on the fun too, with white phosphorus upgrades for the firearms which deal bonus damage to vampires.
    • This is Tobias Whitaker's method of dealing with the plague. He also does it against the living, not even giving the victims a mercy kill before burning them.
  • Kill the Ones You Love:
    • Jonathan has to kill his sister (again) at the cemetery, heavy-heartedly so.
    • In the final chapter, Elisabeth's mentor William Marshal asks her to end his life, which she does.
  • King Mook: Mini-bosses found throughout London are regular enemies with a unique name, boss life bar, more health, and various unique attributes such as special damage resistance, enhanced weapons, or the ability to summon infinite reinforcements. They're often found on a critical path blocking your way to the next mission objective.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: If it occasionally sparkles, you can loot it, no matter who's room it is and who it should logically belong to.
  • Knight Templar: The Guard of Priwen fancy themselves as being “good”, but in one sidequest you find out they stole money from the Docks' Trade Union and let the member holding the money take the blame. They also break into the Whitechapel dispensary and shoot helpless patients in their beds – presumably because they might have been infected. They're also not above Cold-Blooded Torture as Dr. Swansea finds out later on.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If you turn Dr. Swansea, he marvels that he can diagnose patients just by looking at them. By the time he says this, the player has already been using the in-game interface to keep track of each NPC's health status without needing to talk to them.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: At least on some systems, the game takes a long time to load, even compared to modern loading times. Even if it's something as minor as a death, which respawns you in the area you died in.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage:
    • Pippa Hawkins and Milton Hooks, a white woman and a black man respectively, are secretly dating. Downplayed somewhat in that while Hooks says racism prevents them from openly acknowledging it (he even mistakes Reid for a racist when he inquires about it), they have other reasons to keep it hidden, like exploiting patients together.
    • Sabrina Cavendish is half Indian and is in love with Tom Watts, but she feels that Tom gets overly upset when people say racist things about her, so she hides her feelings.
  • Man of the City: Each district will have an important citizen referred to as "Pillar", who are responsible for keeping their regions healthy and stable. Just like every NPC death will affect the area in some way, killing the district's Pillar will affect it in a huge way, reducing its health and making all citizens fall more ill. Some Pillars are worth more than others in terms of Health Status.
  • Meaningful Name: Several associated with British mythology.
    • The Guard of Priwen lift their name from King Arthur's shield, which represents them as guardians of the land.
    • The Ascalon Club was named after Saint George's lance/sword used to slay the dragon, since they view themselves as the British Empire's steadfast weapon.
    • The Pembroke Hospital is revealed to be named after Lady Ashbury's father, William Marshal, the first Earl of Pembroke.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Priwen Guard and hostile vampires will fight each other as well as Dr. Reid. From Chapter 4 onwards you'll start to witness almost non-stop street-fighting between Priwen Guard and vampires as the situation in London spirals out of control.
  • Mind Rape: Mesmerism is noted to work like this, enabling a vampire to implant thoughts, erase memories, or simply force people to do things. It's also just as likely to break a person's mind if the vampire doesn't know what they're doing, as demonstrated by Nurse Crane, should Jonathan attempt to erase her memory.
  • Mook Chivalry: A partial example. Enemies will happily gang up on you most of the time, but when you combat-bite one of them all his friends will politely stand back and let you go through the biting animation uninterrupted.
  • Morton's Fork: The final choice in the story regarding what should be done with Dr. Swansea after finding out he caused the epidemic by injecting Harriet Jones with vampire blood. You can either kill him, leave him to die of the injuries he sustained or turn him into a vampire. The first two will lead to Pembroke's district losing its Pillar and almost certainly descending into chaos – with the second option earning you no XP. The third option will allow him to live but he will become a Karma Houdini who is very content with his new condition and while the district will remain stable for the game's duration, no good will come with the hospital administrator being a vampire since it's heavily implied he will prey upon the staff and patients. While previous choices gave you a third option, there is no good outcome in this one. The sole consolation is in your final conversation with him, Myrddin implies that Talltree will deal with vampire Swansea if he steps out of line.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on how Jonathan was played, how many of London's citizens survived and what decisions he made, there are four distinct endings after the final boss.
    • Walking the Earth: If Jonathan managed to go on without Embracing any civilians, Jonathan will succeed in talking Elisabeth out of killing herself and vows to find a cure for the Blood of Hate. The two then travel across the world and visit America. Myrddin will be proud of Jonathan and wish him peace. Jonathan's eyes must remain clear and human for this ending.
    • Find the Cure!: If Jonathan Embraced one to four civilians, the ending is the same as the above except they will lock themselves up in Elisabeth's Estate with Old Bridget standing guard for them. Myrddin will be proud of Jonathan and wish him luck on his new quest. Jonathan's eyes must be bloodshot with a circularly-constricted pupil for this ending.
    • Despair Event Horizon: If Jonathan Embraced anywhere from five to nine civilians, Elisabeth will incinerate herself despite his Anguished Declaration of Love and he will never get over her death. Myrddin will express pity towards Jonathan for having lost his way. Jonathan's eyes must be bloodshot with a slit pupil for this ending.
    • Fully-Embraced Fiend: If Jonathan Embraced more than ten citizens, the ending is nearly the same as the above, except Jonathan will not be too affected by Elisabeth's death. He then becomes a monster with no sympathy for humanity that kills indiscriminately. Myrddin will express disapproval over his fallen champion. Jonathan's eyes must be red with a slit pupil for this ending.
  • Mundane Fantastic: You play as a vampire physician who, nonetheless, can scrawl prescriptions to his patients.
  • Must Be Invited: One of Jonathan's vampiric weaknesses is that he can only enter others' homes if he's invited (although the only thing stopping you from mind-controlling them into inviting Jonathan in is his mesmerize level, which is increased by doing story missions). Note that this only applies to occupied homes; he can freely enter unoccupied homes, houses with Skal residents, or buildings with multiple occupants or "public" places without invitation. Probably also useful from a developer standpoint since this gives them an excuse for him to not be able to go through every house in London. During one citizen investigation, Jonathan lampshades this.
    Jonathan: (steps inside) No invitation is needed to enter this building? That can't be a good sign.

  • Non-Standard Character Design: Vulkod vampires like Fergal Bansha and Leon Augustin have unusual body proportions, with oversized torso and upper limbs which looks just off next to others.
  • Notice This: Collectable items will sparkle from a distance.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing:
    • Playing as a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire means you will leave everyone alive, no matter how loathsome and despicable they are. In fact, quite a few characters can only improve their lives if the people in their social circle having a detrimental effect on them are killed by you. That said, it's possible to get the second-best ending by only targeting a select few victims, meaning you can still get away with killing the worst of the worst if you want a good but not perfect ending.
    • Playing vigilante judge, jury, and executioner is a slippery slope, especially when you're a creature of the night that can steadily get addicted to blood, and lose your humanity while you're at it. Is it not ideal in the slightest? Yes, but think of what happens when Jonathan's bodies start to pile up, he becomes more inhumane and remorseless, and starts to shift his ideals and who counts as "innocent" or "guilty," if he even bothers to make that distinction any more. In addition, killing people that might deserve it like Aloysius Dawson and Dr. Swansea will cause their districts' health to plummet.
    • This is also utilized by dialogue choices, ranging from something as minor as saying "looks aren't everything" to a disfigured patient in Pembroke – who immediately calls Dr. Reid a hypocritical pretty-boy – to major choices where sparing someone instead of outright killing them will lead to disastrous consequences in the same way like mind-controlling Nurse Crane or believing Father Hampton will lead to both of them becoming rabid and their districts taking a hit to the Health Status.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • The Red Queen is technically doing this on a massive scale. She is one of the progenitors of vampires, and her general reaction to them is "I should cap off my omnicidal plague with a duel to the death against one of my descendants".
    • Dawson plans to kill his family so he can keep his wealth to himself.
    • If you embrace Avery Cork, the Reid family butler, Jonathan's mother Emelyne will (if alive to this point) wander off and get infected by a Skal; the clarity of Skal insanity will make her realize what kind of monsters her children became. Then she tries to finish the job Mary started.
  • Orderlies are Creeps: The staff at the Pembroke are an interesting take as they are almost, to a man, crooks of one sort or another. However, they are written as deeply flawed human characters rather than caricatures, and are still all volunteering their time and risking their lives to deal with the tragedy of the Spanish Flu.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Lady Ashbury tells you to forget what you know about vampires, calling the pop culture ideas about their nature to be the product of "penny dreadfuls and drunken hacks", but nonetheless the game's Ekon vampires are generally close to their Gothic portrayal: they're undead, repelled by holy symbols and places, have to feed on blood, despise sunlight – though it cannot straight-out destroy them – are immortal and do not age. Feeding on mortals is unavoidably fatal, and in doing so, the vampire uncovers all of their prey's secrets. Turning happens via ingestion of vampire blood or an intravenous injection, but vampires of ancient lineage can also sire someone by Embracing (draining). Turning isn't always successful and the candidate can die in the process. Vampires can feed on other vampires, and lower caste vampires can be transformed into a "higher" caste if they find a willing donor. While not inherently evil creatures, vampires can fall victim to the Morrigan's Blood of Hate and become remorseless monsters unless they vaccinate themselves against it.
    • Skals and Vulkod differ more greatly from the gothic stories and are more similar to other vampiric folklore that didn't become pop culture. Skal are hideous flesh-eaters who must skulk around outside of human society and are considered vermin by the Ekon. Vulkod are huge, monstrous humanoids who blend vampire lore with werewolf lore.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Once a district's health has fallen into "Hostile" status, the area will be irreversibly overrun with enemies and any sidequests will become unavailable due to all civilian NPCs being dead. Also killing civilians will make any possible hints unavailable. Peculiarly, the Pillars – if your story choices warranted their survival – are not affected by this and remain where they've always been. They do have interesting things to say about you and their fallen district, however...
    • Picking the wrong dialogue choice during the "Y" conversation options will often cause you to permanently miss out on a hint about a citizen (generally you have a 2 out of 3 chance of giving a "correct" answer). Completing some of the side quests in the wrong way also has the same result.
    • Progressing through the main quest occasionally make spawn "events" on the world map. Those events are unique dialogs which disappear if your complete the next main quest's objective without visiting the related NPC first. Two of Dr. Swansea's hints can only be acquired through those missable dialogs.
    • It's normally impossible to get each hints, weapons, and collectibles in a single playthrough. Depending how you complete Usher Talltree's sidequest, reading the notebook gets you one of his hints but make impossible to acquire one collectible and the game's best weapon.note 
  • Plot Armor:
    • Essential NPCs that cannot be Embraced through conventional methods have the Mesmerize Resistance of higher than 5 while Jonathan's Mesmerize power peaks with 5. Some characters have a resistance of 20.
    • While you can kill or cause the death of almost every named character in the game, McCullum, Lord Redgrave, and Old Bridget will always still be alive by the end of the game no matter what.
  • Politically Correct History: Played with. There is a significant number of non-white characters and while some discrimination is referenced, little is depicted onscreen. Jonathan has 21th Century sensibilities towards a gay couple (Newton Blight and Oswald Thatcher) and mixed-race couple (Pippa Hawkins and Milton Hooks). At the same time, it makes it clear that both couples are afraid of backlash, and women are unfairly treated in a male-dominant society, especially among vampires.note  Characters with bigoted views are also viewed negatively instead of being a product of their time.
  • Posthumous Character: Jack Gillingham, an inhabitant of the Docks district who has been murdered by the Wet Boot Boys (an investigation starts when you find his corpse). His story and his fate are tied to several other inhabitants, notably his mother Enid.
  • Rape as Backstory: Asking around at the Docks allows Dr. Reid to learn this about Mr. Hampton, the "Sad Saint" of the East End. He was not only abandoned by his parents at the doorstep of an orphanage, the priest there later went on to molest him. Unusually for this trope, this strengthened his belief in God, rather than diminishing it.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: The 1666 Great Fire of London was caused when vampire knight Sir William Marshall fought against a witch responsible for The Black Death in the city the year before (in reality, she was a Disaster, another of the Red Queen's minions. The battle lasted for hours to a stalemate, so Marshall was forced to trap her under St. Paul's Cathedral and set it on fire to make sure she was dead.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Jonathan can catch and eat rats off the ground to feed. They don't provide XP, but at least they can restore blood points and heal aggravated wounds. There is even an achievement for eating ten rats. Jonathan will usually comment on how disgusting it is.
  • Regenerating Health: Being a vampire, Jonathan regenerates his health when out-of-combat or when using the Autophagy skill. That said, there is a limit to how much health he can regenerate while he sustains aggravated damage, indicated by a red square closing bracket limiting his maximum HP.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Guard of Priwen were originally members of the Brotherhood of Saint Paul, which was just dedicated to studying the supernatural. The Guard decided to take up arms to defend mankind against vampires, and while that goal may seem noble (especially if you play as an evil vampire), the ones we see in the game are merely bandits and thugs.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • Dorothy Crane is revealed to be correct over Elisabeth killing patients at Pembroke Hospital. She is wrong as to the reason why, believing that Elisabeth kills for sport and pleasure when in fact, she only kills to sustain herself and she takes no joy in doing so.
    • McCullum suspects that the Skal epidemic was started by Edgar and Jonathan as they were hoping to emulate William Marshal trying to unleash a Disaster like in 1666. It's revealed he is right about Edgar, at least; Jonathan had no idea that his friend was experimenting with vampire blood on a person that turned out to be a Disaster personified and Marshal actually was attempting to stop the Disaster in 1666.
  • Robbing the Dead: Jonathan is appalled by some characters going through dead peoples' pockets. Apparently he's better because the useful objects from his kills just appear on the ground by their corpse.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When speaking to Charlotte Ashbury, Reid can tell her that he could easily mesmerize her, lead her to a dark corner, drain her blood and leave her corpse on the cobblestones. But since he ends his threat with a quip, she assumes he's just joking. The player can promptly do exactly as Reid threatened.
  • Save Scumming: Thoroughly averted. You are incapable of reloading to an earlier save in order to make your choices more consequential. Meaning, if you decide to feed on someone just to see what happens, or picked the wrong dialogue option which locks out the rest, well tough luck. You will have these consequences playing over for the rest of the game, and the only way to fix them is to restart the whole game. Tough luck playing the game blind.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Each available shotgun is one, which allows Reid to fire them off-hand while wielding a melee weapon in his preferred hand. The first one available, the "Lupara", can be found as early as in chapter 1's first quest.
  • Secret Passage: Jonathan has to find one at the castle in order to reach Elisabeth.
  • Shout-Out: Most are dedicated to other vampire media.
    • The achievement for watering a plant (with water which can only be found by carefully searching the West End) is an extended one to Life Is Strange's infamous Guide Dang It!; the achievement itself is called "Unlife Is Strange"; the plant takes 3 in-game days to revive (a plant in Max's room in LiS Season 1 will die or be thriving in Episode 3, also three days later in-game); and when it revives, Jonathan decides to name it Lisa, (the same name Max gave her plant).
    • On observing the revived plant, Jonathan will cry "It's alive! It's alive!"
    • The achievement for upgrading a weapon to level 5 is "Solid Metal Gear."
    • The achievement for deciding Dorothy Crane's fate in chapter two is called "Interview with the Vampire."
    • To Dracula:
      • A signed copy can be found in Elisabeth Ashbury's mansion. Apparently she's the actual source of the ideas therein.
      • The classic yellow-and-red paperback is an in-game item that can be found in the environment e.g. on a bench near Pembroke Hospital. You cannot pick it up, however.
      • Dr. Jonathan Reid could be an allusion to Jonathan Harker.
      • Lady Ashbury's patient, only named once before his death, is called "Mr. Renfield".
      • Turning Aloysius Dawson and then talking to him will make him mention how he can sense "rats running around in [the Ascalon Club's] attic".
      • Jonathan can literally invoke this by referencing the novel when speaking to Dr. Swansea:
        Jonathan: [referencing vampire blood-related experiments] And why not! What did Stoker say about the children of the night? Well, using my blood I could create a whole army of vampires!
    • At one point, Jonathan refers to the docks as a "a wretched hive of scum and villainy".
    • One item that can be obtained is called "Old Blood," which has the following description: "We are born of the blood, made vampire by the blood, undone by the blood."
    • During his first visit to her mansion, Lady Ashbury offers to smuggle Jonathan to her secret manor in Scotland by hiding him in her luggage.
    • The staff-wielding Priwen Chaplains bear a striking resemblance to the Brotherhood of Light Clerics, down to attacks and comebacks.
    • During her boss fight, Doris Fletcher will occasionally shout "You killed my father. Prepare to die."
    • Two NPCs are brothers who agree on nothing and are waiting for somebody. Who? You don't find out in the game, but it's likely they're Waiting for Godot.
    • Dr. Tippets' appearance is meant as a shoutout to Peter Cushing – specifically his role as Van Helsing in the Hammer Horror films.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The game has a "Story Mode" that makes combat easy for those who want to focus on the story and characters.
  • Suicide is Shameful: One of the hints for Mortimer Goswick reveals that he's been hospitalized because of attempted suicide. While Jonathan doesn't judge him too harshly, it's noted that it's still a crime in Britain during the years the game's set in, and seeking help for his depression could, ironically, doom him.
  • Sword and Gun: Firearms are a class of off-hand items, which means they can be wielded along a machete, a saber...
  • Take a Third Option: In regards to the major choices in the storyline, a third option becomes available that allows a compromise to players wanting to keep the districts stable and not kill any NPCs, provided they made the right dialogue options:
    • Do you Embrace Sean Hampton to prevent him from becoming a monster, or let him live so he can become a monster later on? Instead, you can cure him with your blood.
    • Do you tell Dorothy Crane to resign from Pembroke or kill her to silence her? You can use Mesmerism to erase her memories of all the transpired events. Subverted in that this is actually the worst option since she is later attacked by Skals and is turned, leaving the district without its Pillar. Turns out telling her to resign is the best option.
    • Do you turn Aloysius Dawson into a vampire and create a depraved monster or do you kill him yourself? You can convince him to give up on the idea of immortality and accept death.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: You'll see very few citizens roaming London, though it's justified due to both the time of night Jonathan roams around and the plague keeping people indoors.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Old Blood is a powerful serum that will fully restore your health, blood and stamina; as well as increase your stamina regeneration for a time. There is only one in the game. Serums in general can be this, given that you have other options for healing and you don't get them back when you die.
  • Tragic Monster: This is the possible fate of some of the citizens depending on Jonathan's actions throughout the game e.g. if you killed the loved ones of Thomas Elwood and Newton Blight, they will go missing and be found later as rabid vampires requiring you to put them down. If you pick the wrong choice regarding Nurse Crane and Father Hampton, they will become high-level Skals and can be fought as optional mini-bosses.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The "Devil" trailer outright shows the Morrigan and the Blood of Hate at the very end.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The game's hint system operates this way. Unlocking hints on various citizens frequently requires specific actions to be executed in a specific sequence, and sometimes it depends on specific dialogue choices that cannot be revisited within a single playthrough. Very often there will be no clues within the game that offer players any insight as to what were the correct choices in these situations, though in many choices common sense and observing the attitudes of the people you're talking to helps in making the right guess.
  • Universal Ammunition: There's two types of ammo: bullets and shotgun shells. All pistols fire the same bullets, despite being based on guns which didn't in real life (the revolver should be in .455 Webley, the Parabellum should be 9mm...).
  • The Unmasqued World: Zigzagged. Some are very much aware that the supernatural exists among the civilian population, but are either ignored or made fun of. On the other hand, community leaders are occasionally Welcomed to the Masquerade and some organizations like the Guard of Priwen and the Brotherhood of St. Paul Stole deal with these creatures on a nigh-daily basis and keep track of their whereabouts. One attempt at exterminating all British vampires was made in the 1850s, but it is unclear if the battle had or hadn't caused a national uproar.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Dying reduces your blood points to a small fraction of the maximum, and any bullets and serums you used in the fight are gone. Blood is easy to recover, either by stabbing mooks or eating rats; and serums can be crafted. You can only purchase a limited number of bullets each night, they're scarce on the streets, and the hideouts store any excess bullets from your very limited personal stock. Better hope you didn't use them on a boss, because you're going to have to fight them up close the second time if you did.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Guard of Priwen mooks' weapons can't be picked up from their corpse (they sometimes drop ammo). Also, some of their weapons (torch, chemical grenade, crossbow...) never become available for Jonathan.
  • Unwitting Test Subject: Regarding Harriet Jones, Doctor Swansea has been doing this for months.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Jonathan can bite his opponents mid-combat if they're stunned. Vampire-type enemies can use a lunge attack to grapple Jonathan and bite him back. The damage you do is minor (unless you upgrade your bite) but your blood refills which lets you use skills and you also regenerate a bit. Enemies will regenerate a large fraction of their health bar if their grapple bite succeeds. Out of combat, draining a citizen for their XP sucks them so dry you absorb their memories. And we can't forget his sister Mary dying fairly messily soon after Jonathan first woke up as a vampire...
  • Vampire Variety Pack:
    • Ekon, the conventional Dracula-type vampires, the crème de la crème of the species, are near-indistinguishable from humans and mingle with mortal society, though they can be spotted by trained humans. They typically have red eyes, pale skin and pronounced veins, but their glamour hides their presence and humans that can see through this disguise are either vetted as potential progeny or dealt with harshly. The local British Vampire organization is the Ascalon Club, which seeks to protect and serve Britain, but is sexist and elitist, only allowing purebred British Ekon vampires, British high-nobility, and Fiction 500 executives to join their ranks, all of whom must be male. They specialize in shadows and blood manipulation.
    • Skal, the monstrous lesser bottom feeders, are regarded as slaves by the Ekon. While they were seemingly created by the Spanish Influenza, they are in fact older than the epidemic plaguing London, and nobody knows all the ways they can be made. Most Skals are created as the failed progeny of low-lineage Ekon; it's been theorized they were 'denied' by their makers. An even more dangerous sub-variant of Skal are the Ichors, plague-bearing monstrosities which spread disease wherever they go, with power superior to the average Skal and equal to Ekons, even more physically mutated than their kind. Their condition twists their bodies beyond recognition to the point Harriet looks nothing like her previous self after being turned.
    • Vulkod are tall, simian vampires of great physical strength. They are highly territorial and will attack anyone entering their space. Much like the Skal, they are incapable of fitting in due to their monstrous appearance, though they're sometimes hired by the Ekon as personal bodyguards. Some of them apparently take the form of huge "Beasts," which resemble (and are said to originate the myth of) werewolves.
    • Nimrod are vampires that dedicate themselves to hunting their kind and are so effective at hiding they can even disguise themselves from the Ekon.
    • And then there is the Red Queen, an otherworldly abomination and mother of all vampires. Her Blood of Hate is the basest of instincts that incites all of her children to kill. Fortunately, her "most amusing son" Myrddin is there to stop her from wreaking havoc. To this end, Myrddin is capable of creating highly powerful Ekon that can fight on equal ground to the Red Queen's manifestation.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Guard of Priwen are a gathering of zealots who target all vampires: from ghoulish Skals to masqueraded Ekon. Not helping is when they start burning the infected to prevent them from turning.
  • Vein-o-Vision: As part of Jonathan's powers, he can detect all blood nearby. This vampire sense lets him find any living beings nearby and even see the blood pumping in their veins. Useful for hunting, finding NPCs, and avoiding enemies. Interestingly, he can also see spilled blood, allowing him to track other vampires, Skals, and the Guard of Priwen.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can kill someone in a social circle and leave the other members to go insane with revenge or get infected and turn into Skals. Every person you Embrace (read: utterly drink them dry of their blood) grants you more experience.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Eat too many civilians, and you get the worst ending, but gameplay-wise you're severely punished when the Final Boss levels up from all the human sacrifices you've made, and can go from level 30 all the way to level 51, one level higher than Jonathan's max level. Naturally, since your weapons don't scale with your level, This Is Gonna Suck.
  • Villain of Another Story: The Wet Boot Boys are a gang which indulges in extortion and graverobbing, among other things. In other settings, the gang would be an antagonist in-game (if not the main enemy), but its impact in Vampyr is mostly offscreen, limited to a few Bit Characters and information learnt through quests and hints for various characters (some of those hints being tied to the fate of a Posthumous Character). None of the mooks or bosses are members of the gang. The Wet Boot Boys are also completely unrelated to Jonathan's investigation on the origin of the plague.
  • The Virus: Vampirism in general is considered a disease on par with the Spanish influenza. Drinking fresh vampire blood is a sure way to turn you into a vampire (although there's a risk the transformation will fail and kill the person horribly, and old vampire blood still grants the drinker superhuman strength as seen with McCullum). In addition to vampirism is an infection known as the Blood of Hate, which is the imperfection that gives all vampires the urge to kill. This is why vampires like Lady Ashbury make sure her victims stay dead after she is done with them.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The game's text is absolutely littered with errors, possibly because the game developer is French. These include:
    • Transcription errors: The dialogue subtitles often do not match the exact words spoken by the characters.
    • Grammatical errors: Punctuation is all over the place. One common error is the use of periods or semicolons rather than ellipses.
    • Typos: Numerous simple typos found their way into the game text, primarily in in-game notes and letters.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Your Aura Vision not only lets you see blood but blood vessels pumping in nearby civilians. And the game helpfully puts a placard over everyone saying exactly how much EXP you'd get for killing them, so the game manages to cleverly tempt both the player as well as the player character at the same time. Jonathan may be able to stave off the hunger with a few rats but he'll never get strong enough to face powerful enemies without chomping on someone.
  • Weakened by the Light: Sunlight can burn vampires and cause aggravated damage to Jonathan though it's noted that while sunlight can fry a vampire to a crisp, they'll regenerate when the sun goes down, so it's not fully lethal. When crosses are pointed at Jonathan, they manifest as blinding lights that are impossible to look at directly.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Besides Jonathan (who can be played as a ravenous predator that feeds on civilians, his ultimate goal is still to save London), there are other examples:
    • Nurse Dorothy Crane runs an illegal dispensary in Whitechapel distributing medicine she stolen and plied to help the district's citizens as best as she could. She is also not above using blackmailing against Lady Ashbury after discovering she is killing hospital patients, but to her credit, she doesn't use it for personal gain but to help the people of Whitechapel.
    • The Guard of Priwen want to protect mankind from vampires and to this end, they are willing to perform pogroms against them all over London.
    • Jonathan's mentor is an ultimately benevolent being that wants to protect Britain by any means necessary against his mother's wrath, even if it means siring a vampire that can potentially cause London to fall into chaos.
  • Wham Line: The revelation of the true start of the Skal epidemic.
    Dr. Edgar Swansea: All I did was administer vampire blood to cure old Harriet.[...]
    Dr. Jonathan Reid: You did what?
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: While civilian deaths will have consequences no matter how unimportant they appear to be, generic enemies such as Guard of Priwen are not held to the same standard and can be killed freely. For example, if Jonathan feeds on Nurse Hawkins, the Pembroke Hospital district will be affected with one of their staff members dying and patients growing sicker. However, even if Jonathan starts killing the Guard by the hundreds, it doesn't affect any of the districts. Usher will even claim that Jonathan's not killed since his vampirism drove him to kill Mary if you meet Usher without having Embraced any citizens...but all of the Guard of Priwen he's offed up until that point, not even necessarily in self-defense, apparently doesn't factor into Usher's words.
  • Wretched Hive: Pembroke Hospital turns out to be this as all of the staff are hiding something (with, ironically, the exception of the one doctor who's a complete Jerkass from the beginning). These include things like extorting patients, robbing the corpses of unclaimed dead, drug addiction, covering for drug addiction, unethical experiments on patients by not one but two of the doctors in unrelated incidents, and one of the nurses robbing the place to fund her own illegal clinic. Oh, did we mention the hospital is at maximum capacity and the morgue is overrun with the undead? That too.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Vampyr



Vampyr is set in the 1918 London, during the Spanish flu pandemic and its protagonist is a genius doctor who gets involuntarily transformed into a vampire.

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Main / GothicHorror

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