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‘Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns’ DLC Review – Explosive Brilliance

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After the Among Us collaboration DLC, I had no real idea what to expect from Vampire Survivors (Free) for its next potential DLC. I assumed that was a sign that we’d just see popular indies like maybe Risk of Rain, but never in a million years did I think we’d see Vampire Survivors collaborate with Contra. Can you imagine telling someone Vampire Survivors has a collaboration with a Konami IP, but it isn’t Castlevania? I sure wouldn’t have believed you back then. Today, the Vampire Survivors Operation Guns DLC is launching worldwide for iOS, Android, Switch, Xbox, and PC platforms. I’ve been playing it for review on all non mobile platforms since the mobile DLC isn’t up yet. Alongside my review for the Vampire Survivors Operation Guns DLC, I’ve also covered a bit of how the account and cross save system currently works in beta.

If you’ve not played Vampire Survivors since it launched, you’ve missed out on a lot through free updates and paid DLC releases. Read my co-op impressions of the Steam version here, 1.0 launch review here, Legacy of the Moonspell DLC review here, Tides of the Foscari DLC review here, and Emergency Meeting DLC review here. It was already a superb experience, but each update and DLC only enhanced things. So how does the Vampire Survivors Operation Guns DLC feel for a Contra fan, newcomer, and someone who just wants more Vampire Survivors? I’m going to try and cover all that in this review.

On paper, Vampire Survivors Operation Guns brings in 22 new weapons, 11 new characters, a new map, Contra music (including six new tracks), and more. You initially start by just getting access to the new stage (Neo Galuga), which is awesome not only for the Contra theme, but because of its layout in general. What initially starts out as just a nice themed stage ends up quite surprising. I don’t want to spoil things, but I recommend paying attention to the prompts on the map sooner than later when you notice something new. One more thing I love about the stage is how the Contra power-ups have been translated to Vampire Survivors. The team went all out, and this is easily my favorite release involving Contra since probably Contra Hard Corps that I recently got to enjoy on Nintendo Switch Online. I’m not counting the M2 anniversary release of course and I’ve not played Contra 4, but you get the picture.

So the stage looks and feels awesome, but what about the characters and weapons. As usual, you start out with nothing and need to unlock the first new character from the new stage. After you unlock Bill who is the first Vampire Survivors Operation Guns character, you can slowly work your way to getting the rest which have their own requirements usually relating to evolving weapons. Speaking of weapons, I can’t get over how awesome the animations are for the weapons, the particle effects, and interactions with elements of the stages. Vampire Survivors Operation Guns feels like a labor of love throughout, and if you love Contra Hard Corps and the original games, you will adore this DLC.

Whenever I review a DLC pack, I also like covering the current state of the game in question. While pushing for absolute chaos, Vampire Survivors Operation Guns on my Steam Deck OLED never dropped below the high 40s for its frame rate before the 30 minute timer ended. It usually hovered around the high 70s mark. I disabled damage numbers as I usually do when I play, but I did enable them just to see how much I could push the game for this review. I’m impressed with the current state of the game on Steam Deck and Xbox Series X. The Switch version is excellent, but the worst platform to play the game on right now.

If you’re wondering about the mobile version, I had the least progress in that version and the Switch release since I have put so much time into both Xbox and Steam Deck. This brings me to the cross save feature that’s currently in beta. I moved my Steam Deck (LCD) to the beta version of Vampire Survivors and created an account. This process is simple. Once created, I uploaded my progress from Steam Deck to the cloud. I have access to the account (beta) through the beta build on iOS that I used on my iPad. I got my Steam Deck save to my iPad and picked it up right there. I don’t have the Vampire Survivors Operation Guns DLC on iOS yet, but everything else worked fine in the sync. The only complaint I have is auto sync not being possible, but I understand the reasoning for that with how save data is handled in this game. You can read about the poncle account system here.

Coming back to Vampire Survivors Operation Guns, and it is time to cover the music. The new Vampire Survivors arrangements for Contra songs are incredible. I can’t wait for the soundtrack on Steam to get updated so I can transfer these to my phone. Just like with the visuals and weapons in Vampire Survivors Operation Guns, I think the team has gone above and beyond for the music. Other than arrangements, there are also Contra songs from Contra 4 and Contra Hard Corps.

At this point, Vampire Survivors DLC is a lot like Dead Cells DLC where it is hard to not recommend buying any of it. Vampire Survivors Operation Guns, like the Emergency Meeting DLC, is a must-have regardless of whether you are familiar with the source material or not. It enhances the game and made me play a lot of Contra Hard Corps on Nintendo Switch Online today. It is an essential purchase if you like Vampire Survivors given the value and quality.

Vampire Survivors Operation Guns Steam Deck Review Score: 5/5

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