Thursday, April 18, 2024

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines Barely Holds Up In 2020.

January 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Gaming, News, RPGs

( This year, we’re supposed to get Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. With recent events as they were earlier in the year, that was pushed back along with a couple of other anticipated games. Needing my Vampire: The Masquerade fix now, I went ahead and played the first game which dropped November 2004.

Needless to say, after you’ve played some of the original’s contemporaries of that period and newer games in that genre, it doesn’t hold up as well as I figured.

What Doesn’t Hold Up

Since the first RPGs on console, you’ve been able to sell whatever you had on you at the same shops you buy gear and items from. Most of the time, prices are fair. In later computer RPGs, the condition of the gear you’re selling determines the price. Get that blacksmithing skill up, folks.

In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, it’s almost like store owners run with AI familiar with real world commerce. They don’t care how much it should be or that you should get half at the minimum, you can end up getting peanuts when selling something. This has always bothered me with this game.

It’s a kind of sly way to keep you on track to playing the main story since that’s where the big dollars come from. The side mission will offer a little something and there’s nothing to really sell for extra money from them. Not that it would’ve helped any since the store keepers in this game are stingy.

The economy in this game is pretty mild but the spiciest thing that doesn’t hold up is the combat. You’re going to need a dope mouse and good reflexes. The thing is that the fights aren’t difficult for the most part—at least when it’s one-on-one. You against multiple enemies? With this combat system? Big oof.

It’s not even down to abilities and perks you get from the skill tree. I’m talking about the physical act of combat in this game. Morrowind came out two years prior to Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and the combat is good for its time.

The combat here is good if you’re sneaking an opponent or even fighting one person. I’d say you could handle two. Anything more than that and you’ll start to see the flaws in the combat system here.

What Holds Up In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Where to begin? Graphically, this game doesn’t bother me at all. They’re on par with most of the games of the open-world RPG ilk from 2002-2004. I love Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and this game’s graphics are only slighty better than those—and that game dropped in 2002. Looking back at 2002-2004 for both PC and console games and the graphics here are on par with most of those games.

Vampire: The Masquerade’s storyline game is very solid. There’s enough in the main story and its branching side stories to keep you engaged. Not only that but this game has some side missions that are a ton of fun as well. The best part of the story I enjoyed was going to the haunted hotel to deal with a real estate issue for the more…balanced of the two Voerman sisters running Santa Monica.

Both sisters are messed up but one has her stuff together in running things and gathering power. Not the most interesting of two but I tend not to get involved with characters who are here for madness in games. For some reason developers like to make missions related to these characters overly chaotic and/or long.

And it never ends with them. It’s why I pretend I don’t see Sheogorath in Skyrim. I just don’t want to be involved.

Back to what works in this game, the skill tree is another big bonus for me. It’s not the most complex thing and experience points kind of trickle in. You have to really be busy to make progress here. I believe other developers saw this and basically said “We’re not doing our XP like that. That’s just abusive grinding.” However, I’m sucker for skill trees.

The “Acceptable” Pile

When you take the gameplay and break it down, you’ll find some elements work. Like I mentioned above, the skill tree works well to allow you to gauge your progress ability-wise. The UI isn’t bad but it’s not the best I’ve seen so it goes in the “Acceptable” pile. It was the early 2000s and dark was the coolest color theme for games.

That theme was great for everything and using it for your stats page wasn’t the wave. Developers, if there are words players have to read in your game, don’t go with a color theme that would’ve been alright for Geocities or Angelfire fansite. I’m not saying that the developer here went full Geocities but it’s just distracting.

The other thing in the “Acceptable” pile is the weight of some objects. I don’t mean weight as in the item weight from Fallout and Elder Scrolls. No, I mean objects such as lamps or light debris having the same weight as beds or dressers. You’ll see a pot or a bunch of pots in the floor and most of us just continue going forward.

There’s no reason your player—as powerful as your build them—is stopped from progressing forward because there are pots in the floor. As a matter of fact, we usually just…walk through stuff that falls from counters, tables, or trash in general. Not in this game. These pots and pans are solid. That broken lamp is unmoveable. It’s not game breaking but it is extremely annoying.

Let us know what holds up and doesn’t hold up from this game in the comments!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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