Bohemia Interactive’s fun gunplay and survival game has come to the Nintendo Switch as a free-to-play loot and shoot title. Now, it’s turning on the Switch and taking players on the go as a worthwhile title for their bug-out bag.
+Delivers the intense atmosphere as previously seen on Xbox One and PC
+Absolutely gorgeous despite cutting down on graphic fidelity
+Easy to learn and play
+Connectivity is sound and doesn’t find itself hit by lag
-Sensitivity needs tweaking in order to lose over-responsiveness of the game
-An absolute battery drainer
It’s cold, it’s dank, and I’ve been crouched hiding in this ditch for nearly five minutes, watching two guys duke it out in the street with their knives. One of them finally gets bored, pulls out his pistol, and guns down the other. It’s a shame really, it seemed like a pay-per-view fight worth buying had the world not gone to shit in a handbasket.
We’re stuck here in Norway, one of the last safe havens in the world despite the periodic radioactive clouds moving in and out of the regions. Except, here we are, I’ve got my rifle scoped in on the back of this guy’s head, watching him patch up his wounds before desperately digging through the other guy’s loot, taking what metals, food, and ammunition he can.
Before he knows it, there’s a crack of thunder, a bullet to his abdomen and now I’m running up on him with my knife drawn, only to get the last few blows I needed in. This is the reality of Bohemia Interactive’s free-to-play loot and shoot title, which is almost as good as what I had hoped it would be on a very underpowered piece of hardware compared to David’s PC and my Xbox One.
Vigor is a survival-focused game where only the best of the best will succeed in surviving
Each match depends on your ability to watch your surroundings, just as you would in games such as DayZ or Ark. All the games require several things: Paying attention to your surroundings, keeping an eye on your exit points via your map, and ultimately knowing when to cut your losses so you can duck out while you can.
Your rewards are clear in the end as you will obtain building and crafting materials. Both are critically valuable sources as they essentially are a 1:1 ratio aspect of the game. You need the materials to build new items, in order to build new items, you need the building materials for your Shelter so that you can upgrade it.
As you upgrade it, you will find new weapons, new healing items, and new utility items are at your disposal. It’s a game that takes to very different genres that conflict with one another and makes them work. One is the idea of Battle Royale elements while the other is a looter aspect, using survival elements to help you progress in the long run.
There’s not really a story, which is a damn shame and it leaves Vigor really needing one for longevity sake
One of the things about Vigor is that the story is very slim pickings. It uses Norway and its multiple biomes to its favor, giving players snowcapped mountains to scale to lowered down farmlands that feel authentically lived in and abandoned after a nuclear war devastated all of Europe, leaving it in a decaying state of collapse.
The narrative itself has the potential to be absolutely heavy-hitting as players take on the role of an Outlander, a scavenger who seeks to do one very simple thing: Survive. While it isn’t the most groundbreaking piece of narrative design around, it works, and it also adds to the idea of the fact there is always an ever-present feeling of doom and despair lurking around.
The idea of players fighting against one another to survive works, it pushes forth the idea that everyone is trying to survive, everyone is fighting against the other in order to get the resources that they need for a chance at living over fighting for survival. You will find that some players don’t want to loot, they just want to take out their opponents and venture forth into a world that has abandoned them.
You’ll often find these players through the sound of gunshots ringing out in the distance or crates where a player died scattered across each and every map as time goes on. The downside here is that the narrative and gameplay elements eventually become wrapped up with a sense of redundancy that doesn’t have a way to alleviate itself.
The biggest strength Vigor has aside from being free-to-play and it’s atmosphere: Map designs.
If you’ve EVER played a game from Bohemia Interactive, then you know that Map Design is one of their strongest points. They are good at it and they are no way holding back their punches here. Vigor comes out swinging and exploring each little mini section of the Norweigian landscapes is rather interesting.
Each map has points of interest you can explore, some that will contain greater amounts of loot the further in you go, but also brings in a heightened sense of danger due to the enemies that lie in wait. The only downside here, Vigor does suffer visually from being on the Nintendo Switch.
It’s not their fault either, the Nintendo Switch just wasn’t made for a game as graphically demanding as Vigor actually is. It’s game that really, really, takes a lot out of the Switch and it shows in the battery life you will get between each and every handheld session. Often times, you’ll find your charge only last between 1.5 to 2 hours tops, sometimes slightly longer depending on your model.
But where Vigor does begin to fray at the ends is longevity. While the battle pass is a nice addition, one I’ve maxed out in the very first season for the Switch (Season 4), I can’t help but feel that Vigor’s lack of game modes, encounters, and cooperative content draws back from the game itself. While it is nice to run in, scavenge things you need, and then booking it – is fun, it also becomes redundant and a weak point for any game.
It’s an inherently shallow game, but it also has plenty of room to grow with time. It’s just a matter of Bohemia Interactive looking at ways to grow it whether it’s cooperative modes where you invade Outlander bases or even a PvE mode where players defend their homes.
It would take away from the simple fact that Vigor uses a real-time countdown method for crafting. You end up waiting anywhere from 5 minute all the to 35 minutes to several hours. It’s seriously insane and really makes you wish there was a different kind of system surrounding the upgrades being available. You’d already think it would benefit from not having one since resources after a certain point get extremely hard to come by in the amounts required.
Sadly, Vigor is simply a pick up and go title, one you’ll probably play when you’re waiting on downloads to finish or simply waiting on your train, Uber, Lyft, or mode of transportation to arrive at your stopping point. Even with how intense matches can be, they’re not always guaranteed to be intense and it’s a real damn shame as the game has a lot of potential to really knock things out of the ballpark this time around.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: Free-to-Play | Founder Pack’s: $19.99 (starting)
However, if you want a great free-to-play title that is continually getting updates, new Seasons, maps, and content to enjoy, this is one that’ll be right up your alley, just don’t expect tons of content at once as they are ushered in with every season.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!