Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines Review

Troika Games is one of the most creative and least appreciated game development companies. Troika has given me many favorable gaming memories, and Vampire Bloodlines follows in line by delivering another dripping plot and some of the most memorable characters in gaming. The second installment in the series, based off the White Wolf tabletop RPG, is head and shoulders above the original.

The game takes place in a version of Los Angeles crawling with the seedy, the dangerous, and the villanous.

Within the first five minutes of the game, you are thrown into the middle of an underground battle which is being fought between the Camarilla, lead by the self-righteous and self-proclaimed Prince, Sebastian LaCroix, and the previous rulers of L.A. the Anarchs. When your sire is killed for un-ritualistically bringing you into the vampire coven, you are thrown into the mean streets of L.A. to fend for yourself. From the start you are immersed into the gritty underworld of Los Angeles. Starting with the first frame, and all the way through to the last cut, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me through rave clubs, seedy hotels, and exclusive Hollywood mansions. Unraveling the twisted plot will take roughly 15 hours but the dozens of side quests will offer many more opportunities for intense neck-biting, blood-sucking action.

While the character development isn,t the most intensive or detailed that I have seen, the different vampire clans that are available to join give the game a nice spin. Each of the seven different clans has their own strengths, weaknesses, and special abilities. What clan the player joins dictates the character,s abilities, physical appearance, and how the game must be played. Some clans find it best to travel through the labyrinth of sewers below the city instead of venturing into the public eye and causing mass panic through their grotesquely misshapen face. While other clans of noble blood will become ill if the blood of a lowlife (i.e. bum or prostitute) is ingested. With each clan type affecting the story plot, the replay value is through the roof. My biggest problem with the character development is the lack of player models. At this current stage of gaming it is unacceptable to only have two player models for each clan; one male and the other female. With the inability to customize my character, I just didn,t get the same “You are mine, I made you, now do my bidding” feeling that I get with other RPGs. While I was let down, I thought the lack of character custom ability would be remedied by a massive wardrobe, just to be let down again. Character customization isn,t a huge part of what an RPG should be, yet I would be lying if I said that the lack thereof doesn,t bother me.

The opening scene of the game made me forget my disappointment with my character as I was dragged willingly into the game, which controlled the next few days of my life like a cruel mistress. Bloodlines oozes with a thick plot which tantalizes you with answers just to slap you in the face and laugh at you. Bloodlines boasts possibly the most interactive plot I’ve experienced. Every decision that is made in this game impacts the story and how your character interacts with other characters. When I botched up a mission towards the beginning by killing boat full of cops instead of sulking through the shadows, not only was I chastised upon my return but now I was regarded, even later in the game, as the n00b who screwed up and slaughtered the cops. With every great plot, comes great characters. In this respect bloodlines goes up and above any other game by creating living breathing characters with wants, needs, and intense feelings. When interacting with these characters, there comes a certain point when a reality check is needed to remind oneself that they are not living breathing creatures, but sometimes I found it hard to convince myself of this.

Not only does this game boast a delicious plot and beautifully scripted characters, the gameplay and setting is as varied as the countless plot twists. From dodging from shadow to shadow to full-on frontal assaults, each mission has a different feel and at no point is repetitive. Any game which places a katana in my hands and sends dozens of vampires at me is sure to be a winner. On top of the bloodbath frenzy and silent sulking, Bloodlines has the single scariest game sequence I have ever played. I refuse to spoil this for everyone but as a rule of thumb turning on the lights before entering any haunted hotel is a good idea.

Now that I have told you about the positives of Bloodlines, mine is the painful task of talking about the many shortcomings. With all due respect to Troika, do not under any circumstances play this game without patching it. I have heard many heart wrenching stories about bugs just eating this game alive to the point that it is unplayable. On top of the bugs, do not even bother buying this game if your computer does not feature a NVIDIA card. At some points, even with my 9800 xt pro turbo, it was unplayable due to frames being dropped by the dozens. It pains me terribly when a game that is as great as Bloodlines, is released too early and is not as perfect as it should be.

Bloodlines contains one of the worst FPS aspects that I have ever come across. Due to the fact that using weapons is point based, the FPS aspect of the game is governed by how many points you have in using ranged weapons. Unless you put all of your points in ranged combat, you have better chances of you enemies dying of a heart attack than you doing any damage to them with a gun. So my biggest tip when playing this game is to forget about guns and grab a melee weapon. In retrospect I recant saying that the FPS aspect is awful, since it is a skill point based RPG and not a run and gun shooter. Just remember that in Bloodlines guns don,t kill people, katanas do.

Overall I think that despite the bugs and at times choppy graphics, Bloodlines is one of my most favorable and memorable RPG adventure games ever. If you are a person who can,t stand long load times, bugs and choppy graphics then avoid this game like the plague. But on the flipside, if you are a person who doesn,t want to miss out on arguably one of the greatest RPGs to hit the market this year, then get out there and pick up a copy of the game.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.