Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mdqp presents: Let's talk about videogames, shall we?

Episode I: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines

So, as I promised, I'll start reviewing a few videogames that answer the following prerequisites: 1)Have an MC-theme to them and 2)I liked. That's it, not a big deal, right? Well, I can be picky, so maybe it is a big deal, but let's not go there now, ok?

So today's game is Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (VTMB from now on). Some of you might be familiar with the tabletop game (I am not) or with a previous installment of their franchise, VTM Redemption (Hey! I own that one! It was okay). For those who don't, I can sum it up shortly as "Modern day vampires, with an original twist about their existance, in my opinion(supposedly, the biblical Cain is the first vampire, and they all descend from him), and deals also with the politics of such a powerful society, with factions, clans, etc..." (this is really approximative, but just to give an overview of the setting should be enough). As you would expect from a game about vampires, mind control is abundant (your own character can have such abilities over humans, for example... You can even get your own thrall!), and it actually works toward creating a nice atmosphere (the game is quite dark in its setting, but it's done well, it's not dark and edgy just because, it fits the theme, the plot and the characters).

Celeste Star by encounterblitz
Sometimes they went overboard, though.

Let's talk a little about the plot, shall we?
So, without giving away any spoilers: I think it's good. It has a few twists (nothing too impressive, but they help with keeping the plot less linear), the pacing and the characters are good, though the atmosphere remains the biggest selling point to me. You start as a newly turned vampire, thrusted into your new condition without too many explanations. The vampire that sired you gets executed, because it's illegal to make new vampires without consent from the authorities (or is it? The answer is politcs, my friend). You get spared at the last minute, just because your position ends up being a turning point for the balance of the struggle for power in the city, and you get some work to do in order to prove that you are more useful undead than dead. I won't elaborate further, but know that nothing is what it seems.

Celeste Star by encounterblitz
 That isn't an hairpiece, for example.

Let's talk about the gameplay, shall we?
The gameplay is another good thing for me. I heard complains for the fighting mechanics, especially the melee part, but I think they are partly undeserved. It could have been more interesting, and possibly well tuned, but it's not annoying. The guns, weapons and the powers are all cool, and allow for a lot of different approaches, depending on your type of character. You get to choose a clan and your gender before starting, as well as distributing a few points to stats and skills before starting, and each of these choices can make for a different (sometimes very different) experience. The replay value is tremendous, believe me. The only big flaw of the game (aside from the bugs, that at launch were really horrible, so I would suggest you to track down the fan-made patches), is that the locations are small. The hubs are all very small, so exploration is almost completely absent. It's also a little too easy, in my opinion, so after the first playthrough, you might not be very challenged anymore. A mention for the dialogue system, which is often integrated with your character stats and abilities: I find very satisfying to seduce a guard, threaten a thug, or mind control a nurse, depending on how I built my character, and the game does a good job in offering non-violent solutions to several quests, if you are willing to invest some experience points in the right places. The game rewards you with experience only for completing quest, so going left and right killing stuff isn't even rewarded, and sometimes a peaceful solution can get you even more experience than a violent one, so you are warned.

He had it all wrong.

I won't mention the graphics, since the game is a bit old by now, but for the times they were great, and the faces of the various characters still look good, in my opinion.

Don't you think I am good looking? I need validation, please!!!

So, I would definitely recommend it, if you never played it and you like RPGs (but if you like RPGs, how come you never played it?!). It could also be a good choice if you just crave for MC-related content (and don't feel like playing my awesome game right now, for whatever reason).

 This is my first attempt at something like this, so please let me know if you think I should change something or elaborate more on some aspects of the game, or whatever. Your suggestions are highly appreciated.


  1. Actually, the graphics aren't that old; this is actually a Source game. It was, in fact, completed before Half-Life 2, but the release was pushed back so HL2 could be released first.

    It's kind of a shame they only covered just a bit of the World of Darkness setting; it's actually very cool. Though I suppose Magick would've been hard to implement....

  2. Yes, I know it was an (somewhat incomplete) version of the Source engine, but I guess we can safely call it old nowadays (it still looks good, despite some limits in that particular version of the engine, but it's still a game that was released 7-8 years ago).

    The game had a really troubled development, so I think that it's actually pretty awesome that they managed to do what they did, even if they left some nasty bugs in the initial release. The good thing is that, despite all this, there is still an active modding comunity, and some of these mods are really cool (unfortunately, their version of the Source engine is a nightmare for modders, apparently, and only in recent days someone managed to find a way to add new areas to the game).

  3. I am surpriced you didn´t mention the unofficial patch since it is STRONGLY recomended for anyone who wants to pick this up.
    The Clan Quest Mod is pretty good too, but it is a modds thus adds a few things.
    Anyway this game really shouldn´t be played without the unofficial patch. Which awsomely is still beeing worked on today. ^^
    Really devoted moding community for this!

  4. I said something about the fan-made patches, but I didn't want to name one, because I remember at the time when there were two different patches, and it kind of become a fight between the two (they said that the unofficial patch made too many assumption, and that it was actually a mod rather than a patch... I don't think that's true, but I wanted to leave it to those who are interested to form their own opinion). It's also true that most mods are based on the unofficial patch, so the players will probably end up knowing only this one, which is a really good job, and still worked upon.

  5. This was an is incredible on both parts:

    The good part: Vampires, and more vampires with my thrall which become more rewarding with the patches and mods.

    The bad part or hate part: I've never, ever hever! xD never... End the game because of a terrible, terrible mechanic left there in the game that happens to some and to other don't. Well I was that some... When you reach a mission, quite late in the game, and you have to *spoilers ahead*



    Grab the artifact from the catacomb in the mafia mansion, you don't get the option to grab nothing, nada, nuthing, zero, cero...

    So you are stuck after a hard battle agains two stupid vampires, which after fighting them around 14 times beating the crap out of them. I grow tired. And I tried this on a clean game, on a buffed game, on a patched game, and unnoficcial patched game, with mods, without modes, taking the debug mode in the console and cannot advance!!!

    SO I GROW TIRED AND HATED THIS PIECE OF SHIT!! And still loved every part of it. *sigh* >_>

    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

    1. I thought the unofficial patch fixed this? Did you ever try it?

    2. Yes and it also broke my game at some points, like in the start when you have to take the cab to advance to the next city, at the end of the first "mission" It made it so, that sometimes the cab appears and sometimes, you can start a conversation or even the vampire from the factory won't spawn the conversation about joining you. (The clan mod, even broke this even more xD) I hope that in a future, this will be released again with no glitches, no bugs and a more aesthetically approach. Because, a vampire does needs to dress in style :D

      Up to date: I still hadn't pass this incredible game, so near the end, it makes me go crazy!

      Hugs and Kisses Alectra

    3. Wow, that sounds like some terrible luck, I never had any of those problems. I can imagine one could go crazy over it, if it goes on for a long time!