Bohemia Interactive doesn’t really need an introduction, the dev from DayZ and Arma is behind Vigor. A free-to-play loot shooter that doesn’t really focus on the combat part but actually trying to avoid them. It was announced at E3 2018 and came out in early access for Xbox soon after. It has been a while since an online game hooked me as much as Vigor, but as you will see in this review not everything is as expected. Don’t be scared by reading this, it is free-to-play so test it out yourself to see if this is something for you.
What do you do? Vigor is an online only loot shooter. You are dropped in medium sized environments with 11 other players trying to gather resources. Getting first to the safe and airdrop will get you the most rewards, but at a cost.. collecting them makes you an easy target. You will have to reach the exit to get every resource back to your shelter. Get killed and you will lose everything! With those resources you improve your shelter and make weapons or health potions.
- Level design: One of the strong points from Vigor is the dense environments, maps are relatively small but big enough to explore all kinds of unique post-apocalyptic places. It features snow locations, very jam-packed forests, small houses, mountains. The diversity is really impressive and Bohemia are honestly one of the best world builders. Vigor at heart is a very repetitive experience but the map selection and details really help to keep things fresh for a long time.
- Visuals: Vigor is a looker, it is gorgeous how the great level design works together with the lighting engine. Despite some world-class visuals, the performance is great too, so running around highly detailed environments while battling it out against other online players is really impressive. Buildings inside are realistically made with all kinds of stuff you would expect to see and especially the snow effects look good enough to be photorealistic.
- Loot mechanic for your shelter: Must say that improving your shelter with the stuff you collect from playing the game feels fresh and fun. While it is a little annoying to have a real-time countdown before things are made it still feels realistic. Things aren’t built in a few seconds in real too, right? So while you are out and try to avoid other survivors (or kill them for their loot) the time meter continues (even when you shut down your Xbox) it keeps you motivated to go out and find resources, even when the actual rewards are quite useless.
- Shooting: The heavy recoil and hard to control weapons will be a massive frustration for many players, it just isn’t optimized for a controller. It takes some time to really get a handle on how guns shoot, it feels real but the hitboxes on players need to be addressed as soon as possible. You do have a decent selection of firearms, but it will take a while before you unlock everything.
- Shooting range challenges: Great for learning all guns but half of the challenges are impossible to complete because the targets don’t pop up. Also, good luck with hitting a target 45 meters away with a Shotgun. As I will explain later in the bad part of the review, this is a clear example of how broken they launched this game. A damn shame because the potential for Vigor is huge.
- Toxic community when playing duo: Playing with a random is a 50/50 chance of being killed in the back. It is utterly frustrating how many bad apples this Vigor community has when playing together. This has multiple reasons and while Bohemia can’t be blamed for the community it does has some responsibility as to why it happens. First, you can take the gear from your teammate, secondly, it counts for the killing enemies challenges, there is no punishment whatsoever and there is even an Achievement for killing your teammate, I mean SERIOUSLY BOHEMIA??! At one point, some random dude even messaged me afterward saying “Sorry but I needed a gun”
- Melee combat: Oh boy.. what the hell. Combine terrible hitboxes and clumsy animations and BAM! Voila, you have Vigor’s melee combat system. Not once did I experience a more awful way to randomly try to hit another person.. even when he is standing still and is standing a foot away from me. This is a known issue for DayZ too and sadly found its way into Vigor too.
- Many bugs or unfinished parts: The atrocious launches for Fallout 76 or PUBG can all step aside because we have a new shameful king when it comes to most buggy game on Xbox. The stuff I experienced while playing Vigor is quite something. First of all, getting stuck in objects and doorways or getting stuck while crawling over the floor, it is frustrating but happens many, many times. Leaving you with no other choice than quitting the game and losing your precious gear and resources. As I mentioned the shooting range before it is really laughable what happens there, targets that don’t show up for half of the challenge’s targets that suddenly spawn multiple times for no reason.. and no I’m not done yet. Let’s start with writing about the unfinished parts, walk through water and you’ll see that the animations are completely missing, you have a food collection possibility but no reward or reason as to why even the duo matchmaking feels unfinished because of the team killing the issue. I’m honestly a little shocked and disappointed that Vigor released, with more cooking time this could have been really awesome. And yes, I am aware that more content is coming but the first impression is important and they totally screwed that up.
Score for Vigor: 53%
I played this game for more than 20 hours and I’m sure that I will invest even more hours in the future, I absolutely love it. But at the same time I have to be honest with you guys and give a fair review. Vigor could have been so much better, it is infested with annoying bugs and unfinished parts. It is completely free-to-play so give it a try for yourself!