First Impressions: Vampire the Masquerade

I’ve been longing to play Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines since before the game even existed, when I stumbled across White Wolf’s site many years ago.  Vampires are a staple of the horror genre, & I was greatly impressed by the depth of the lore White Wolf created for their universe.  Unfortunately, at the time Bloodlines originally came out, I didn’t have a PC capable of playing it.  But once I saw the game available on Steam, I couldn’t download it fast enough.

Bloodlines has received both a lot of fame & criticism over the years.  On the one hand, fans have hailed it as clever, intelligent & bristling with life.  But at the time of its original release the game was full of bugs, some of which prevented players from even completing the tutorial.  In fact, Computer and Video Games out of the UK dubbed Bloodlines “the best buggy game ever.”  And even though the developers, Troika Games, has long since shut down, the game continues to live on.  This is thanks, in large part, to its dedicated fanbase, which continues to produce mods & patches for the game.  I have WesP’s Unofficial Patch 8.0 installed, which not only includes the official patch but several others to fix various bugs & restore content.

Although I’ve played through the tutorial section with several of the different clans to try out their various abilities, I’m currently playing through the game as a female Ventrue.  I’m going for a sexy assassin approach, & the Dominate abilities like Suicide help me take out targets I can’t sneak behind.  No matter what the RPG, I always lean toward a persuasive, stealthy build.  I prefer to avoid direct confrontations, either by talking my way out of it or dispatching enemies before they know I’m there.  But I do plan to playing through the game with the other clans, such as the Gangrel or Tremere for a more combat-oriented style or the Malkavian for a straight stealth playthrough (& because you can’t play this game & not experience the insanity of the Malkavians).

So far I’ve done all the quests in the starting hub area & am getting ready to got to the second hub, & I’ve been having a blast.  I love that there are so many different ways to approach the quests.  Take the first main quest, for example.  You have to get some explosives back from some drug dealers who stole it from your contact.  Now, you can just barge in, kill everyone & take the explosives back.  Or you can tear the fence apart & sneak around the back of the house.  Or, if you’re like me, you can talk your way past the guard, seduce the dealer, drain all of his blood without a fight, take the explosives & then proceed to assassinate anyone left.  The quests allow for a lot of freedom, which encourages you to build your character the way you want.  On top of that, the game really lends itself to exploration.  While not an open-world game, if you just follow the main quests without looking around, you’ll really miss out on a lot of content that makes the gameworld feel alive.  Such as harassing an old lady for money or being attacked by a crazy surgeon with a severe arm.

With interesting characters, intriguing storyline & some great music (I love the song that plays in the Asylum), I’m really looking forward to more.

Oh, & I have played through the Seaside Hotel.  And yes, it scared the crap out of me.

– GamerDame



Filed under First Impressions

3 responses to “First Impressions: Vampire the Masquerade

  1. Bloodlines is a great game, and there’s a lot more depth to it than I thought there’d be. The emphasis on clan politics is a really nice touch. After playing through the whole thing I was left wondering what a V:tM film might be like. The lore certainly puts Underworld to shame.

    The Seaside Hotel level is just evil. I thought it would be pretty tame because of the third person view, and the fact that Bloodlines is by now a pretty old game. I was wrong… so very wrong!

    • I like that the emphasis is on blending in with society rather than just running around indiscriminately killing people. “Real” vampires would want to appear normal.

      There were two parts in the hotel that really got to me. The first was when you first enter & walk down one hall to a dead end, turn around, & the murderer’s ghost is behind you. The second is in the boiler room where you can see the murderer slowly walking towards you from between the pipes.

      • Yeah, I agree, it’s a very good take on vampires. They aren’t evil, but they’re not necessarily good either. Like real people, they have different shades. In my experience, a lot of vampire fiction tends to picture them as too far removed from their humanity. Vampires in V:tM seem to mostly be getting on with their lives. Their condition hasn’t changed the character of the person underneath it too greatly.

        Hah! I swear those were the two points that got me too. I hated the boiler room part. It’s so dark and claustrophobic. Have to admit it was skillfully crafted though.

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