The Vagrant (PC) Preview

By Gabriel Jones 06.07.2018

Review for The Vagrant on PC

With a sword as her only companion, The Vagrant wanders the world. Although she goes by the name of Vivian, most don't care to know anything about her. She's just a mercenary after all, and it's impossible to place trust in someone who can be bought. However, even in the heat of battle, Vivian can't ignore the truth. There is a purpose to her life that goes beyond the daily exchange of steel and blood. Is she ready to face it? Even knowing that the secrets she's bound to uncover might result in a fate worse than death? Maybe this is just another one of those cases of exceedingly bad luck. Imagine how many chance encounters could be avoided if opting to sleep in that day.

Much like Vanillaware's library, The Vagrant shows a distinct fondness for gorgeous scenery, hack 'n' slash action, and… barely-covered flesh. Apparently, Vivian decided to forego the bikini armour and just wear a bikini. This is a reflection of the design philosophy that governs this game. Rather than dwell on the subtleties and attempt to explain the lore of the protagonist's questionable attire, the developer decided that it wanted something pleasant to look at. Simple, to the point, and all intentions are crystal clear.

The game itself is a no-nonsense adventure, one that fills the screen with all manner of fiends, so that the heroine can quickly slice them to pieces. Occasional pit-stops for storytelling and world-building break up the monotony. Also, there is plenty of equipment and abilities to obtain. As action RPG tradition dictates, progress is best measured in raw numbers. Still, an adequate level of the player's attention is required, if they want Vivian to succeed. Her enemies can be pretty dangerous at first, so it pays to learn their patterns and "tells." In a fight, every grunt or quip predicates an action, making ears just as important as eyes.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

Although she identifies as a mere sellsword, Vivian is actually a Runewarden. Essentially, she has a technique for every situation. Whether she needs to rain dozens of blows upon a hapless enemy, dash through a crowd with a punishing slice, or swat troublesome demons out of the air, her impressive skillset allows for full control. Although she's invincible while performing these powerful moves, they will exhaust her rage meter, so spamming is out of the question. Be sure to take every possible detour while exploring, because there's sure to be skill-teaching tablet hidden away. Abilities are learned through the exchange of mana. They can either raise Viv's stats or bequeath unique talents.

In an effort to stray from the doldrums that this genre tends to fall into, the common healing potion works on a cooldown system. While there's nothing stopping the mercenary from slamming potion after potion in quick succession, each successive drink is less effective than the last. What was once a full-heal two seconds ago will now only replenish a small portion of life. Naturally, the solution is to avoid taking a ton of damage, which gets to be easier as the game progresses. Indeed, The Vagrant is another one of those titles that suffers from reverse-difficulty.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

Part of this affliction can be attributed to runes. These handy stones are affixed to weapons and armour, strengthening their stats or offering other properties. The right setup tends to revolve around boosting critical hit rate. There are also a few really useful skills Vivian can learn. One of them replenishes her rage meter whenever she takes damage, another restores a little health whenever she lands a critical hit. The skill that fills the rage meter upon a critical hit completes the trifecta.

Once the right combination of runes and abilities are acquired, it's all a matter of abusing the "Tornado Slash" skill as often as possible. As mentioned earlier, Vivian is invincible while performing skills and this one, in particular, can last for quite a long time. While rage is drained very quickly, the critical hit bonuses mitigate it. For longer battles, all the player has to do is pop open the occasional rage potion. Money isn't hard to come by, especially in the late game. Optional boss areas, known as rifts, will result in a ton of cash.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

While there are multiple difficulty settings, they don't make too much of a difference. Enemies will hit harder, but there aren't any limitations on equipment or potion usage. In fact, there's a New Game+ mode, ensuring that most everything up to the final encounters isn't much of a threat. This can leave the game feeling a little one-dimensional. On the bright side, it does take quite a while before the exploits become apparent. The combat is delightfully crunchy and shows a solid understanding of mechanics and design.

It's also worth mentioning that this is quite cheap, even given its Early Access status. As in, it can be purchased for a small sum. Although it should be pointed out that price is never a factor when it comes to reviews; but it is indeed still a pretty good value. The presentation is very nice and there aren't any noticeable glitches. On average, a play-through will last 7 or 8 hours, making for a fine weekend getaway.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

Final Thoughts

Although it struggles in terms of lasting appeal and replay value, The Vagrant does exactly what it sets out to do. Vivian's journey offers plenty regions to explore and foul creatures to slay. Treasure is placed where it's most appropriate, the gear upgrades feel sufficiently impactful, and there's even a little food porn. Any fan of Vanillaware knows that they love their meticulously drawn entrees, and this tribute is no different. Give it a go sometime.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


i like the boobs

How deep is the RPG aspect to this? 


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