Vampire, The Masquerade: Bloodlines
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8  |  Vampire, The Masquerade: Bloodlines Review (PC)
larsoncc , 1/6/2005 5:09:50 AM

When I first saw ads for this game in early 2004, I was dubious. I thought this would be yet another game for the rabid Whitewolf LARP crowd. When I heard it would use the Half Life 2 engine, I became more concerned that it would turn into a first person biter (get it, cause… the teeth? Never mind). Little did I know Bloodlines would turn out to be a vibrant, deep, and genuine role-playing game more reminiscent of KOTOR than anything else.

The Plot:

You are a new vampire who must navigate the intricacies of vampire politics, as well as keep yourself fed and functioning without letting the lowly humans know vampires are real. You can choose to be a kowtowing toady or a bastard as you explore the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.

The Game Play:

They did a pretty decent job of sticking to Whitewolf’s system. Most missions can be completed by stealth, sweet-talking, force, or any combination of those three. How successful you are at stealth, talking, or fighting is determined in part by the inherent disciplines of your chosen Camarilla clan, and in part by how the player spends the exp they get from quests. You can fight with your hands, melee weapons, or guns. The game has taken into account the masquerade and frenzy. The conversation choices had an obvious effect on future situations as well.

This is a game with a well-deserved M rating. Conversations and situations were at times adult, but not in an unrealistic way.

Vampires roam the streets

The Good:

I really enjoyed this game. I enjoyed the conversations, the plot, the stealth, the guns, the concept, the skills. Everything seemed reasonably well balanced. It had me playing 4-5 hours a night for a month. I appreciated the free form style of exploration and role-play. For the most part I was free to quest how and when I wanted. There is good potential for replay between the different clans (I plan on replaying as a crazy Malkavian & unfortunate Nosferateau) as well as the factions of Camerilla, Anarch, Kuei-Jin, or just being a loner. I liked the use of the M rating. I felt the game treated me as an adult with the occasional curse and sexual innuendo, but it didn’t beat me over the head with it like a giddy 18-year old at his first nudie bar.

The Bad:

While I found the graphics to be very nice, there were some obvious flaws in some of the movies. Some of the physics for the costumes, especially long coats or skirts, were so messed up that they were distracting when in third person. I hear that others have had trouble running the game on systems that should be optimized for such game play. I only crashed when alt-tabbing. There were some show-stopping bugs in the game that took Troika a while to patch and frustrated me no end.

The Score:  8/10

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