So thanks to the Steam Summer Sale I was able to pick up a game from 2004 for pretty cheap. “2004? Shouldn’t they pretty much be giving that away?” You might ask, and for any other game you would be right, but for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines it is a different story. Fans have kept this game going far past the lifespan of any normal video game, and there are no signs of it slowing down. It has become as they call it in the gaming business ‘Evergreen’. In the movie business they might call it a cult classic.
Well what makes Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, so special? An interesting story, cool skills, a unique setting, and choices that feel real and not just good or bad for a start. Honesty there hasn’t been a game like it before or since. When it was launched a lot of people skipped it because it was completely broken, which did the developer Troika Games in, but because of all the awesome potential in Bloodline the fans have fixed it, and added to it to make it a game that at some point should be at least be tried.
The game starts with a fun questionnaire that determines your class, and then tries to preset your skills. You can manually change it all if you want, but it is a pretty cool way to start the game, and every time I play Bloodlines I just go with it. After that you learn that you are a new vampire who has been turned at a very interesting time for the Kindred (what vampires call themselves). There is a power struggle between the houses, and you get to figure out what is going on and who you back. It is an engaging little story, and interesting to play around in. It is perfectly setup to let you explore their little vampire version of LA.
I love the skill progression in this game too. For completing objectives you get character points. These points you use to buy the aforementioned skills. The further along the skill tree you go, the more points the skills cost. There aren’t levels, so playing around with certain skills doesn’t totally screw you over it just gives you more options. Options are what makes this game so good.
My least favorite part of Bloodlines is that it seems like it was designed by a deviant thirteen year old. Everything is way overly sexualized. Luckily there are player mods to tone this down a bit, but it is still a terrible “art” (soft core) style. I understand that the world of vampires is always going to be a little sexy, but Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines goes way to far. The graphics also don’t hold up, but again luckily there are fan made textures that make the game a little less harsh on the eyes.
If you are in the need of an RPG to play because perhaps you are waiting for the price of The Witcher 3 to come down a bit, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a fun diversion, and a true original. One of these days they will make a sequel or something, but until then apply the fan fixes and give it a shot provided you can see past the awful art direction. Though I understand if you can’t.