Bohemian Interactive definitely has a preferred genre. Though with Vigor, a free-to-play extraction shooter, they expand their horizons toward the future of gaming. Realistic shooters, specifically extraction shooters, are the next step in gaming. Anyone who’s paying attention has surely noticed. Bohemia Interactive did. That’s why they scraped 100 dollars together and made an extraction shooter of there own. Stick around and watch me tear this game apart and tell it that I wished it took better care of itself.
In Vigor you play a survivor of a war that ravaged the world, sparing Norway. You scavenge weapons and materials to bring back to your shelter for upgrading and development. Other players are doing the same, scouring the handful of maps in search of loot, or blood.
Vigor’s primary game mode. Twelve players spawn on the edge of an average sized map, there goal being to collect supplies to further their shelter. There are multiple points of interest scattered across the map to compensate for the lack of loot. These places will be hotspots of player activity. There’s the barred house, timed safe, locked container, comm station, signals detector, disruptive tower, and the buried cache.
The barred house is a sealed house with a safe inside. The safe will take time to unlock and will need to be guarded. This POI has been pretty high intensity in my experience. Inside are weapons and other high value consumables/materials.
The timed safe is a safe with two switches that must be flipped within a certain amount of time. This was often a head scratcher for me.
The locked container is a sealed shipping container with three combination lock puzzles.
The comm station lets you change the airdrop to either be easy for you to carry or dangerous for others to interact with.
The signals detector will show the position of others on your map.
The disruptive tower will jam the radar of others within a certain radius.
The buried cache is shown on the map after finding the key randomly.
All of these will alert other players once interacted with, so keep that in mind. Near the end of the match an airplane, or Santa, will drop an airdrop that will mark your position on the map upon retrieval. Shortly after a cloud of radiation will move in from one side of the map, eventually covering it. At this point you have either died or extracted.
There are locations covering the map where you can reliably look for loot in small quantities. If you discover them all and learn the loot location you can make some progress with your shelter, though this route can take much longer.
A 5v5 deathmatch mode. Last team standing wins, unless the timer runs out first, after which a flag can be captured to win the round. Loadouts are selected from five premade options before each round, one for each player; each of them will be different. The first team to win five rounds wins the match.
A free for all mode where the highest amount of points yields the highest rewards. Kill other players and respawn until the timer runs out and respawn is disabled. You will spawn with a random weapon and can find other weapons in crates scattered about.
The shelter is what gives Vigor it’s longevity. It is the main hub where you will enter matches, collect and build weapons, and much more. You build you shelter bit by bit, starting with a dilapidated shack. You will eventually begin producing materials for crafting. To do this you will need to pump materials and time into it.
There are a few things to do in at your shelter. Collecting records during encounters lets you choose your ambience at the record player. A shooting range waits outside, having five challenges for each weapon. Finally, my favorite feature, the Hitman 2-esque armory where you can admire you weapon and weapon blueprint collection.
Vigor’s gameplay is flawed at it’s core. It’s an extraction shooter, a notoriously hardcore genre, trying to pander to the casual player, losing what little edge it had it the process. Shooting and looting are two of it’s biggest aspects, but shooting looses tension in the forced third-person perspective, and looting is almost non existent without paying for it. Looting for an entire match yields very little compared to what is needed for building your shelter.
There is a big risk/reward balance issue in Vigor that make encounter, the main game mode, almost not worth playing. In encounter you risk weapons and equipment over the possibility of beating the 10 other players that likely have you outmatched, the two lesser modes, however, have no risk and give comparable rewards. This does not stop people from filling every encounter, but it is a shame that the “extraction mode” of the “extraction shooter” is not half as fun or rewarding as it could be.
The worst aspect of Vigor is the amount of little paywalls between you and the fruits of your labor. To be able to rat around and loot in peace, you first must pay a small amount of purchasable in-game currency, The same applies to the airdrop and the rewards for the other game modes. This would not be an annoyance if there were more to find during encounters. You are funneled to the points of interest where you will have to battel other players. This limits the choices the players have and draws a lot of joy from the experience.
Graphics and Sound
Vigor looks ok for what it is. The maps are dense and pretty lived in with a lot of little details. Each house kind of looks the same and the characters are a bit stiff, but it’s a mile better than DayZ. There are enough maps to provide some variety in scenery and Europe is beautiful, snow or shine.
The sound mechanics are made to play with. Cars have alarms, there are sound traps to build, crows swarm when enemy players are near an extraction. It adds some atmosphere and tension to the encounters. Footsteps are also audible, but are wildly unpredictable. Enemies have often sounded like they were behind me when they where actually in front of me.
Vigor is a step in the right direction, but it’s execution was below the bar. The low time to kill, stealth, and sophisticated arsenal would imply a gritty, skill driven experience; what you get is an almost cartoonish battle royale where the whole lobby doesn’t have to lose. I see this game only as a stepping stone toward a well rounded console extraction shooter. Perhaps Vigor will inspire something greater.
- Fun combat
- Very large arsenal
- Loot crates