Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines

Format: PC

Vampire is a combination of First Person Shooter and Role Playing Game. It was developed by the now defunct Troika Games in 2004 and was the sequel to the third person RPG Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption, it was also the first game to use the source engine.

Vampire is set in the White Wolf universe and as such benefits from one of the most detailed and interesting game worlds ever devised. The story revolves around some ancient artefact but rather interestingly this is nothing more than a McGuffin to introduce the player to the different power plays that go on throughout the game. The plot introduces the player to the idea of the camarilla, the masquerade, anarchs, bloodlines etc, while a lot of these ideas are not particularly new they are brilliantly executed.

Like most RPG’s the game start of with some character creation where the player can choose to belong to one of the seven different vampire bloodlines (from the art loving almost human Toreador to the animal like gangrel) Like any good RPG the choices you make can effect the game, an example of this is the decision to play as the malkavians, the malkavians appearance resembles that of nosferatu but the dialogue options highlights their schizophrenic nature and the decision to play a the malkavians greatly effects the players options when they are talking to NPC’s.

Bloodlines does feel like an uneasy mix between FPS and RPGs and while the player might be able to customise their character and there is the feeling that the player is choosing their fate however the game is surprisingly limited and many of the choices the player makes have little to no effect on the overall storyline. Having completed the game twice trying to go down two completely different paths it became obvious that thing that would affect the ending of the game was choosing some dialogue options in a cab before the last mission.

The use of the source engine means that the graphics remain easy on the eye and that he physic engine is still one of the best around. The action is enjoyable with the player able to customise their characters fighting style (stealthy, all guns blazing or up close and personal with a big sword)

The games one big failing (and it is quite a big failing) is the amount of technical issues, even after downloading several patches, including unofficial fan made patches, the game can be almost unplayable buggy. While the game might be almost unplayable with patches, without patches the game was literally unplayable at certain points. While playing through the game without patches certain missions would continuously crash whenever you completed them (and meant that you could not progress).Despite the technical issues Bloodlines is a very good game and the story alone is enough to make the player push through and try and complete it.

Rating: 4/6

-- Review by Robert "Spartan" Bryden