Move Over Battle Royale and Welcome Vigor, a Survival Royale

By Kevin Tavore, 3 months ago
Treading carefully, I slowly check the windows of an abandoned boatshed in search of potential enemies. The air inside is quiet and so I enter, still ready to be attacked at a moment’s notice. The attack doesn’t come, so I begin to check the cabinets and boxes for valuable materials. I find a shotgun, now my only weapon, a few types of ammo, and some other materials that will be useful for crafting. As I begin looking for my next destination, a loud crack of a rifle shot rings nearby and I know I’ve got to be careful. An enemy is near and if I’m killed I’ll lose everything I’ve spent the last ten minutes collecting.

This is Vigor. It’s from Bohemia Interactive, the same team who developed Arma and DayZ. The latter is often credited as the game that triggered the battle royale trend that PUBG and Fortnite have most recently sent into the mass market. DayZ was about surviving a zombie apocalypse and the looters and bandits that come with it, those looters and bandits being real people. The game was fascinating and Vigor seems to be a natural evolution of that concept without the massive negative penalty of permanent death. It’s not really a battle royale but instead more of a... survival royale.

Vigor

I’m an aggressive player and reckless to a fault. When I hear that gunshot outside of the boatshed, I’m drawn to it like a bloodhound. I exit out the back and creep over in the general direction of the shot, ready to see an enemy approach over the hill. It could be the shooter or the victim or even a third party with the same idea as me, so care is of the utmost importance. As I move behind a tree, I see my foe just down the other side looting a camp. I look around and don’t see anyone else making an approach, so I figure now is my time to shine and make my approach. I launch my assault with my shotgun at nearly point blank range and miss. And I miss again. But so does he as he turns around, and the fight is on. We dodge behind trees as we run up the hill but ultimately I make contact twice and he’s down, his loot is now mine.

With the spoils collected, I begin thinking about where to go next when I see a care package full of valuable resources has been dropped on the map and the decision is obvious. Greed wins out and I start heading that way. But the choice won’t be so clear to more cautious players than myself. In Vigor, you’re dropped with a small number of other players and the goal is not to kill, but rather to loot so you can build up your encampment. You’ll use the resources and weapons you find to grow and ultimately become a better survivor. While you’re always able to engage the enemy, it’s not always a good idea. If you’re feeling good about your haul in a particular match, you can simply run to an escape point and leave, bringing your spoils with you. It’s a different objective than other battle royales like PUBG where it’s always kill or be killed, but the intensity is nonetheless the same. If you die, you’ll lose it all including any weapons you brought with you and all the supplies you’ve spent time looting.

The care package is visible to everyone in the game so I’m certain almost everyone remaining is heading in that direction and I’m salivating over the prospect of an intense battle. As I move over a crest, that’s exactly what erupts. A player with a pistol opens fire on me and I do the same to him. This draws the attention of a third player, then a fourth who both begin peppering us with shots. I’m reckless, but I’m not an idiot, so I take this opportunity to skedaddle. The guy with the pistol follows, apparently not as strategically savvy as him, and he quickly finds out shotguns are better than pistols once we’re in cover away from the other shooters. I heal up and get another notification - the package has been picked up by another player and he’s now marked on the map. I know what to do. I set out in his direction and am promptly shot in the back of the head. Game over. Sometimes it’s that quick.

E3

Vigor is a game that’s truly in beta at this time, and it will be coming to Xbox’s Game Preview program soon. This means there are definitely some rough patches. I got stuck in cabinets, the gunplay needs a bit of work, and the player count is currently a bit low. The game also desperately needs more content and more to loot, but the foundation here is promising to say the least. I’m certainly excited to see where things go from here.
Kevin Tavore
Written by Kevin Tavore
Kevin is a lover of all types of media, especially any type of long form story. The American equivalent of Aristotle, he'll write about anything and everything and you'll usually see him as the purveyor of news, reviews and the occasional op-ed. He's happy with any game that's not point and click or puzzling, but would always rather be outdoors in nature.