Vampires suck but that doesn't mean their games do so let's play the spooktacular bloodfest that is Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars.
I usually enjoy PC games that are adapted to console and few companies do as good of a job at porting them as Kalypso so when I saw that they had a new vampire-themed SRPG, I just had to play it. The gameplay within Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is basically divided into 2 phases: 1 where you command your armies to traverse a Risk-style overworld map and another where you fight your foes within a classic grid-based SRPG battle system. Meanwhile, cards play a very important factor in both of these phases as they allow you to recruit party members, enhance your abilities, heal, equip new gear, perform special moves, and more. At the same time, you'll have to manage your supply of blood, allocate points to an upgrade tree, manage towns so you have enough villagers to feed off of, and take advantage of many location-specific features such as wishing stones that provide boosts and libraries that let you trade blood for cards.
If this sounds like a lot then you are correct. Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars has a very steep learning curve and getting used to all of its complexities requires a ton of patience and practice. Once you get to the point where it all starts to make sense then the gameplay turns from overwhelming and perplexing to somewhat rewarding and enjoyable so if you're willing to put in the necessary work then you may end up having a good time. However, there's no denying that the controls haven't been adapted well for playing on consoles. Issuing commands and navigating the menus often requires odd button sequences and on top of that, sliding the cursor around is quite slippery so it's sometimes tricky to point at specific things. I sincerely hope there will be a patch that makes the controls more bearable.
On the plus side, I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars which remains consistently dark with sprinkles of humour every now and then. The animated artwork and voice acting do a great job of fleshing out this ghastly world and the overworld visuals complete with fog of war help lend an air of mystery to the epic battle. With all of that being said, there are frequent visual oddities that took me out of the experience such as seeing your army disappear only to rematerialize a second later and watching them run around in herky-jerky zigzag patterns is pretty funny. Also, the audio is generally well done but there are clips that loop too often such as when you interact with a location and that quickly got on my nerves. Overall, the presentation is all over the place.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars features a huge array of content to master. For starters, there are character-specific campaigns and each one features a collection of chapters that often take hours to complete. Additionally, you can play around in sandbox mode and set up skirmish matches. There may not be any multiplayer content but there is a lot to sink your teeth into if you like going it alone.
Finally, I just wanted to say that the formula of changing between an overworld map and turn-based SRPG battles reminded me a great deal of the recently released Brigandine The Legend of Runersia. However, unlike Brigandine, the battles in Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars aren't particularly exciting and one factor that makes them rather monotonous is that whenever you reach an exceptionally tough fight, you can roam the map while figuring out ways to grind in order to recruit a full party, enhance your abilities, etc. Doing so takes a lot of time and it can be extremely tedious. In fact, it made me wish there was a beat-a-game button so I could just move on.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars certainly doesn't suck as much as vampires do but it can be quite a monotonous game. The moments when you overcome challenges and cover the map are rewarding but they're fleeting and all you're left with is an anemic experience.
- + Once you learn its ins and outs, the gameplay is pretty rewarding and fun
- + Cohesive vampire-filled game world
- + Plenty of content to enjoy
- - Steep learning curve with controls that aren't well-optimized for consoles
- - Graphical glitches and audio issues
- - Parts where you have to grind are annoying