First Impressions: Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong, a Linear Story That Failed from the Ground Up

First Impressions: Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, a Linear Story That Failed from the Ground Up

Someone has committed a crime against the Camarilla, the secret society of vampires that is responsible for keeping the world “safe” while hiding the fact that supernatural creatures exist: the three protagonists of Vampire The Masquerade- Swansong will be responsible for navigating in a world of dark politics until they find out who tried against the old order. Under this premise, the distributor Nacon and the study of big bad wolf set out to create a digital narrative that shows how the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade works. But, did they pull off a memorable proposal?

Role-playing game company White Wolf Game Studio came up with this vampire universe in 1991 and has managed to establish itself as one of the most popular story systems for those who like to play with spreadsheets. In 2004, Troika Games and Activision produced the first version of La Masquerade with Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlineswhich has also earned cult status for adding a new layer of digital dynamics.

But since then, this paradigm of supernatural creatures has been dominated by visual novels. Vampire the Masquerade – Swansong It seems to have offered to end that reign and join the list of digital storytelling as another video game genre. For it, builds the basics of a simple crime novel to accompany all players to understand the politics of the creatures of the night.

Swansong’s story promises that all decisions will affect the fate of the three characters, who will only be able to explore a closed world as they continue the narrative. To progress, players will need to allocate points to each character’s abilities, which will determine how they can alter the story. For example, if they have enough technical knowledge to hack into a computer or enough charisma to win an argument.

Skill showdown mechanic, where each character tests their level
Skill showdown mechanic, where each character tests their level

Yes OK every action and fight scene is cinematic, yes, there are jurisdictional disputes that are simply resolved depending on which character has the most points. Fortunately, the study realized that not all players will experience the true impact the powers will have throughout the story and decided that the best way to customize each protagonist would be to offer four basic profiles: Investigator, Veteran, “Jack of All Trades” (where points are awarded for all basic skills) and a “White paper” (for those who want to micromanage all features).

This first step puts the development of the whole game in check: For users taking on Vampire The Masquerade – Swansong for the first time, there aren’t many clues on how to make sure their choice will allow them to have all of the game’s options.. While it seems like a feature to ensure replayability, its raw mechanics will only persuade those who don’t find a problem with over 20 hours of static narrative gameplay.

There’s no doubt that this is a game that can’t shy away from visual novel mechanics, and the option of adding a three-dimensional space for players to explore is just aesthetically pleasing. Fans will enjoy exploration, a puzzle story, and some cute mechanics like secretly feeding on a human or using vampiric sensing powers to solve quests.

Swansong can only be fun if the player is a fan of the White Wolf world and is willing to forgive that the graphics section doesn’t seem complete. Animations are unrefined, sounds get out of sync, and textures load slowly, while overlapping.

Landscape shatters as camera changes and textures overlap above lighting
Landscape shatters as camera changes and textures overlap above lighting

In any case, the opportunity that the Big Bad Wolf studio had was not wasted and although Vampire The Masquerade- Swansong looks like a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation game, it has a story that can conquer a place among history fans. vampires and even those who want to learn the dynamics of tabletop roleplaying.

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