Available on: Xbox One
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Genre: Shoot N’ Loot, Survival
Version Tested: Xbox One
Official Site: Vigor
Release Date: TBA 2019
Where to Buy: Microsoft Store -$19.99
Surviving The War
What would you do if you were stuck in an alternate reality Norway where the nuclear war had wiped out most semblances of civilization? Why you’d look to find yourself a place to hole up and you’d start looking for other ways to survive. Trying to find a way in a new post-apocalyptic world is the point of Vigor and by and large, the game does a very good job of finding a way to sell its world without going over the top.
You’re not going to find yourself running into mutated zombies or Mad Max-style villains in this game. You’re just going to find yourself with a whole bunch of open wilderness and a few lonely outposts equipped with bits and pieces of equipment you need. There is a degree of difficulty here in that when you are going out looking for bits and pieces of equipment to further your survival, so are other people. Civilization has fallen and there are no rules. Finders keepers isn’t a thing anymore. Might makes right and should someone want to kill you and take your stuff, they can.
Making The Emptiness Fit
Vigor is not a game that ever feels “full.” The survival shooter, which has a PUGB kind of feel to it, is limited by how many people can compete in one “event” at any one time. Only eight to 12 players per lobby. That means you can go through a full stage of looting without seeing another player (if you’re lucky.) Kudos have to be given to the developers for coming up with a story that fits a rather empty world.
By making it an area that is trying to pick up the pieces after a nuclear war, it makes sense that you’re not going to find many people running around. On the other hand, players aren’t going to be seeing shattered rubble or burned bodies. Instead, the aftermath of this war appears to have just left things largely untouched. There’s still a real beauty to running through this desolate winter wonderland looking for ways to build up your headquarters.
The emptiness is also that much more unnerving when you hear someone else’s footsteps padding through the snow. That particular effect is a really nice touch that works especially when you are playing one of the maps where visibility is low. Knowing that someone is coming but now knowing from what direction, or really how close they are, adds to the desire to get in and get out before you get a warning that a radiation cloud is descending on the area. Knowing that if the approaching stranger kills you, you’re going to lose your loot adds yet another layer.
Lack Of Variety Means Lack of Replayability
Vigor is the kind of game that can really hook someone from the beginning thanks to its interesting mechanics and truly impressive graphics. The problem is that it’s also the kind of game that is going to really fight in order to hold a player for hours on end. The first problem is that there aren’t that many maps Vigor players will be able to explore. To their credit, Bohemia Interactive has done a good job of making those maps visually appealing and they aren’t tiny by any stretch.
Still, when you start playing one round after another of running around and grabbing loot, you’re going to start seeing the same hills, bridges, and mountains over and over. There is also the fact that the entire point of the game is to find some loot, and get out alive. The loot allows you to build up your base of operations, but the state your shelter is in is more about being more visually appealing for yourself. Other players never see or venture to your shelter.
Upgrading the shelter does allow players to craft better equipment, but all of that equipment is just there so you have a better chance of getting loot and surviving in the next run. There isn’t an end game to be had here unless you want to see just how much you can rebuild your shelter. That certainly has some appeal, but sooner or later it also gets too repetitive for long play sessions.
When push comes to shove, Vigor has a lot to like. The game is really nice too look and there’s something really interesting about the setting. The problem is that the game feels like an idea that hasn’t carried all the way through yet. The good news is that this one is still in Game Preview on the Xbox One, so there is a chance more could be coming. The bad news is the full release is expected a bit too soon for there to be all that much added.