Friday, March 11, 2016

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - Wrap-up

Well, I really did not enjoy the last 3 hours of the game. I think the problem is I chose to play a brawl-based character. As a result, it took about a dozen hits to take down the mortals in the kuei-jin headquarters, Ming Xiao's demon form was a tedious fight where I had to whittle down her hit points, I was constantly being thwarted by enemies becoming invincible in ragdoll, and the fight with the giant bat at the end was total bullshit.

But in the end, I discovered that the sarcophagus contained, not an ancient vampire, but a bomb, which I found out when I was presented with the choice of either opening it myself or dropping the key for a wounded Lacroix to scramble over. Naturally, I chose to use it myself, because as foolish as doing so was, I had no way of knowing that Lacroix wouldn't gain ultimate power.

I'm glad I played this game. I can see why it's well-loved. There's a lot of fun stuff in there, and I can't think of a better modern-day vampire rpg. However, I'm not eager to play it again. If the final fights gave me so much trouble as a Brujah (they get super-speed, super-strength, and a debuff aura), how much more difficult would they be as a fragile clan, like the Tremere or the Malkavians? I suppose I could have used more stealth, and perhaps saved myself a few fights, but I don't see how you can stealth past the bosses.

Mostly what this game did for me was make me hungry for a sequel or a remake or another game in the same genre. I'd love to be able to get lost in a huge, gothic-punk open world and just spend hours and hours being a vampire. That's not a criticism of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines though. The thing I love about this game is that it had the vision to try and bring the World of Darkness to life. It's just that the farther I got into the game, the less I felt like I was playing my vampire and the more I felt like I was playing a particular character in the game-maker's story. And it's that feeling you get when you have a fresh character and you're emerging from your haven for the first time, and you've got this whole world to explore, filled with fresh NPCs to assault and exsanguinate that is the best part of the game.

It's a testament to the power of V:tM - Bloodlines that even after some long and frustrating final dungeons, I still want more.

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