Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines
- Cutting-edge role-playing that integrates elements of shooter gaming with the adventure
- Select 1 of 7 different vampire clans, then use experience points to develop your vampire powers
- Explore the L.A. vampire underground - Visit seedy Hollywood hotels, thumping raver clubs, the underground caverns Downtown and mansions on the Sunset Strip
- Living world reacts to your character by clan, gender, allegiance and other choices
- Team-based online gaming -- choose to be a vampire or a vampire hunter
- Platform: Windows XP / 2000 / Me
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Combining the best parts of role playing games and first-person action games, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines plunges players into the dark and gritty vampire underworld of modern day L.A. as a recently embraced fledgling vampire in the service of the city's dark Prince.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Built as a first/third person shooter, and based on the Half Life engine, this game delivers a great story in a non linear fashion.
At the beginning of the game you can choose between 7 classes of vampires. Each class has a distinct demeanor and different powers. For example, you can choose to be a noble and aristrocratic Ventrue and use mental power to dominate foes. Or you can choose to be a Gangrel, in communion with the animals and with the ability to transform into a beast and shred your enemies to pieces while moving 5 times faster than them.
Believe me, in Bloodlines (as in the original White Wolf RPG) there is a Vampire that will just fit your needs and desires.
All missions can be completed in various different ways and using different sets of vampiric powers.
Graphics 8/10: Downtown LA is absolutely awesome and well done. People walk around the roads, talk on their cell phones, chat with each other while smoking a cigarette. Lighting is good, but not even close to Doom 3.
Sound 9/10: The soundtrack is awesome and you will find its CD in the game. Voiceovers are good, but not exceptional.
Story 9/10: well written and fun. You will be in for a few surprises. Moreover, it has a high degree of non linearity. It modifies based on your gender, your vampire clan and your decisions. This brings awesome replayability.
Gameplay 8/10: I think combat in this game is very good, however weapons need to be equilibrated (your plain fists seem to deal more damage than a knife). Spells work awesome, and if you choose certain clans (like the Tremere) you will be able to see how powers and spells are more effective than hand to hand combat.
Moreover, you have a good set of skills that enhances your interactions with non playing characters. You will be able to seduce, manipulate, convince, threaten... these options are many times better than just killing somebody to get what you want.
I take a star off of what would be a 5 star product for 1 reason:
THE GAME IS BUGGY!!!
1. Doors are messed up, they open and close really bad.
2. Movies and cinematics seem slapped together and the soundtrack doesn't work very well in them.
3. You will get stuck in wierd places sometimes and have to reload. Save often!
A patch will surely fix all this.
I LOVE THIS GAME! And I suggest it as a must buy to any Vampire or White Wolf fan. For all the others, I suggest this game to:
1) RPGers who like FPS games.
2) People in search for a non linear RPG in a non fantasy setting.
3) For big time fans of RPG, this game is nice.
In practice the game is a thrilling merger of RPG sensibilities and frenetic, brutal action...with just a dash of stealth and lateral thinking thrown in for good measure. The player takes command of a fledgling vampire in the dangerous employ of Prince Le Croix - the vampire overlord of Los Angeles. Like any good RPG, Vampire allows you to choose an avatar for your character from a number of different models, both male and female. The species of vampire you choose will, to some extent, dictate what sort of player you'll be in the game. Action fans will probably be at home with the more physically powerful vampires such as the Brujhar, whose natural instincts for combat will confer increased power and accuracy. More conservative or cerebral players may prefer to outsmart or out-magic their opponents - there's even a chance to play as the sanity-challenged Malkavians, which leads to some unique conversations and scenarios.
You can choose to play from either the first-person, like a traditional shooter, or to view your character in the third-person, which is useful for melee combat or to judge jumps. There's no great emphasis on any one aspect of play - combat or puzzle solving - and the fact that experience points are rewarded for completing missions rather than killing enemies means that players are invited to explore as they see fit, and solve problems in a manner of their choosing. Skillful players are able to sneak past sentries, or talk their way past an opponent. Or they could just choose to pull his head off. There is a huge variety of weapons, both ranged and melee to experiment with, as well as a great implementation of `Thermaturgy' - vampire blood magic.
Like other games such as Morrowind, or semi-RPG action games like Grand Theft Auto, there are central plot missions that need to be completed in order to really progress through the game. However, the giant sandbox world that Troika has crafted means that there's seldom a dull moment in between times, and sub-missions are often just as fun and rewarding to undertake.
Visually, the game is a treat, with the Source technology really shining through. There is a realistic physics engine that allows in-game objects to react to the players' (and other characters') actions - gun fire may dislodge boxes, doors and walls can be smashed apart...in a more gruesome touch blood and viscera has a tendency to splatter and stain the environment. Aurally, the effects are crisp and detailed. There is a huge amount of spoken dialogue, with multiple variations depending on who you `are' and what you say - coupled with multiple endings this game has oodles of replay value.
System-wise, you'll need a decent rig to play this game. I've recently upgraded my system to cope with Half-Life 2, and this game runs smoothly on what I would consider mid to high settings - 32bit color depth, 1280x960 resolution, mid-range sound etc. My system is a P4 2.6 with a gig of ram and a 9600 pro graphics card. If Doom 3 proved completely unplayable on your system then you'll find this over your head as well, but the game seems a little more scaleable than Doom, with more allowance for the average machine. One thing you will need is plenty of free hard drive space - a gig+ if you like to have as much as possible on the drive.
In the spirit of great games like Deus Ex, this game is going to appeal to both straight up action and RPG gamers, as well as any fans of the 'Vampire' series, who'll flip for the great attention to detail and the immersive visuals. It's difficult to suppress a smile when you're slinking through alleys, vaulting over high walls and slitting the throats of your vampire and supernatural foes, or going in gun's blazing with your Uzi and katana combo! This is certainly not a game for either kids, or the faint hearted; but for anyone who thinks having a taste for claret and no pulse sounds cool, this is the game for you.
First, You need premium hardware to play this game. Second, You are not expecting a fast-paced action intensive game where you go around mindlessly shooting baddies.
The environment and story line is intense. I'm about 60% through the game and have enjoyed every moment of the intricate story line, different quests, and amazingly detailed characters and personalities. The game, apparently, has four endings depending on what choices you make, and NPC's react differently to you whether you are male/female, what clan association, and how your stat pool is allocated. I can't wait to play this game again as a different character and see what new surprises await.
The most enjoyable aspect of this game is NOT combat - the combat engine, to be honest, is sub-par. You must understand that this game is about RPG and interacting with the environment. For example, as you complete different quests, you can watch the television and see the news "spin" the mass media takes on reporting your activities. It's quite hilarious.
I have read about the glitches in the audio/video in the cutscenes and other aspects of the game and would wholeheartedly agree that this game is not bug-free. Be prepared to deal with that until (hopefully) Troika/Activision release patches to address these issues.
FYI- I have a 3.2 Gig dual processor Intel Pentium 4 system with 512 megs ram and 256 mb video card and I have to play the game on lowest resolution to enjoy relatively stable game play.
The graphics, for example, are by and large quite lovely, very atmospheric... But. Half-Life 2, the game engine's parent, made better use of them, from both a hardware and a software perspective. Half-Life 2 ran well on my system with 512 MB of RAM; Vampire stuttered somewhat(when I upgraded to 2 GB, it smoothed out nicely.) Half-Life 2 also just _looks_ better, and doesn't distract with clipping, strands of wavy hair passing through the sides of people's faces, and moments of rough texturing.
The game combines RPG and action elements, which is frequently fun and interesting, but... It expects you to react too quickly for an RPG, and the way numbers are crunched will annoy action gamers. Even with your "natural" stats maxed out in a particular set of combat-based stats, you can easily find yourself gunned down by a larger group, or by some of the more powerful bosses. Some of the "supernatural" abilities may offset this; I can't say for certain, having only played through the game once. What I do know is that my character was pretty combat-centric, and still only won certain battles because of bugs or defects in the AI- enemies unable to hit you from certain positions, or getting stuck on pieces of the scenery.
The game allows a fair amount of flexibility in how you approach problems... But some of the options are either so convoluted or so difficult as to be unworkable, while others are excessively easy. Stealth in particular seems broken; I "stealth killed" any number of people who walked right into me, then turned around a few seconds later.
On the whole, the game feels poorly tested. Some abilities are far, far more useful than others, and unless I'm missing something, a character without at least one area of solid combat focus is simply going to die. You can't carry more than one of a type of gun, though selling all the duplicates one runs across on dead foes would have made it easier to raise money (which is ludicrously available at some times and completely sparse at others.)
Then there's the end game, where... Well, without spoilers, let me just call it kind of unsatisfying. Other endings may be available, but what I saw suggests they're merely variations on a theme, and that theme focuses more on some of the other characters you meet than on your own. After some of the ridiculously hard battles I fought, I'd like to know how _my_ character ultimately fared, maybe a spot of congratulations. Doesn't seem so much to ask, y'know?
Oh, one more word about those battles. The final boss or bosses are so ridiculously over-powered that I felt no shame at all in using any exploit available. One of them can repeatedly teleport and hit you from behind before you can react. The only way to avoid this is very precise timing and repeating a pattern over and over again. Said foe requires more than ten times as many hits to defeat as he does to defeat you. This kind of fight really makes you go: "Guys? What were you _thinking_?" When _succeeding_ isn't even any fun...!
Despite bugs and combat, I must give some significant praise: The dialogue is terrific, both in the writing and in the performance. I especially appreciated some of the humorous moments, much needed in the grim setting. The atmosphere is great, from the haunted hotel you encounter early in the game to the lairs of twisted, unholy creatures. The game generally feels _adult_, not in the sense in which the term is often used (where it could as easily be termed 'juvenile') but in a willingness to recognize shades of gray and handle uncomfortable topics without flinching.
Though I would hardly call the game an unqualified success, I enjoyed it, and I mourn for Troika, the now-deceased company that created it. Hardly anyone makes role-playing games combining character depth, plot depth and flexiblility to different player approaches the way they did. If only they had done a little more testing... If only they had settled the combat system more firmly in the RPG or action arena... If only...
P.S. Looking over this review, it occured to me that some might take my comment about "using any exploit available" to mean using a third-party hacking program or cheat codes; I used neither to complete the game. But if, say, a boss character got "hung up" on a corner, unable to move... I took no particular shame in whaling the tar out of them while they were unable to reciprocate. I occasionally used the game's own flaws against it, in other words.
The main reasons for loving this game (also titled why I recommend it to my friends)
1. It will make you want to replay it, not just once but as two or three different clan types.
2. There are a few sections of the game where you will feel chills rolling up your spine, or feel your heart race as you try to get by unnoticed for the tenth time.
3. Real humor, regardless of your taste you will laugh at this game.
4. If it wasn't for the little fact that your playing a vampire the majority of the situations, buildings, prices, and people are pretty realistic.
5. Haven't you always wanted to bite someone on the neck at a nightclub?
Now I've given this a fun rating of 5 stars but an overall of four for a few simple reasons.
1. Some of the cutscene animations are blocky at best, and the voices are often times out of sinc with the bodies. Not to mention the characters themselves don't walk like they are or where human.
2. You have little control over what your character looks like, it would be nice if they had of crammed in a few choices for how your character looked. i.e. hair color, skin color, tattoo's etc... Who wouldn't want a malkav with lime green hair wearing a pair of pants made out of old teddy bears?
3. There are a ton of bugs that go from annoying (doors just not opening the way they should), to anger inducing (crashs when you try to load a game in progress that is different from the one you are playing), to toss the computer outside and step on it (camera flipping around to stare at a blank wall while heads with feet are eating you).
4. A person with a seduction skill of 9 would not say "Give mama some sugar". Some of the dialog strings where weak to say the least and at times there just wasn't enough of a choice to give the character the edge I wanted.
All in all this is an adult oriented KOTOR, if you enjoyed that game and happen to have a thing for vampires check this one out. Make sure your computer has some life to it and I promise you that you will not be sorry. It's something that should be on all of your vampies yule lists.