• "V Rising" is a survival game with Stunlock Studios' signature style of isometric combat
  • The game's early access release was met with rave reviews
  • "V Rising" is surprisingly well-polished for an early access title

Early access games tend to receive plenty of flak, especially if “open world,” “survival” and “crafting” are included in their tags, but “V Rising” managed to swerve away from this stereotype through an impressive level of polish and a satisfying action-combat system that not many isometric RPGs can pull off.

“V Rising” is a survival game in which players take the role of a newly-awakened vampire who’s on a quest to re-conquer the land. It can be played solo or online in public or private lobbies where players can band together in PvE or decimate each other in PvP.

The gameplay loop is very similar to other games in the open world survival crafting genre. There’s a nigh-endless loop of gathering, looting, crafting, base building and fighting that gets exponentially complicated the more players progress through the game, which, again, is much like every other survival crafting.

It may sound tedious at first (and at some parts, it is), but “V Rising” manages to keep things engaging with its combat. Stunlock Studios, the developers of “Bloodline Champions” and “Battlerite,” know exactly how to make fighting from an isometric perspective fun.

V Rising features solid isometric combat with fast and responsive controls
V Rising features solid isometric combat with fast and responsive controls Stunlock Studios

Controls are handled with the mouse and WASD keys, and players can sling vampiric magic, use unique weapon abilities and parry or dodge away from telegraphed attacks.

Combat-wise, “V Rising” truly does play more like Stunlock’s other games instead of obvious comparisons like “Diablo” or “Path of Exile.” The closest somewhat recent game to this would have to be “Tribes of Midgard,” but with heavier and punchier fights.

Instead of leveling up, progression in this game is tied to gear score and ability unlocks. Players will have to go out and explore to unlock crafting recipes and new vampire powers by going through a hitlist of well-designed bosses scattered throughout the gigantic world.

Despite being less than a week into early access, “V Rising” has already garnered over 46,000 players on launch day, according to Steam Charts, and it has over 30,000 viewers on Twitch.

The game does suffer from the tedium of resource gathering and manual long-distance travel, but most of “V Rising’s” problems are mere nitpicks compared to some other early access titles released in recent years.

With a strong and almost bug-free launch, Stunlock Studios now has a solid foundation to work on. Now, it’s only a matter of time before “V Rising” gets more features and content that will hopefully help it get all the attention it deserves.