Vampire: The Masquerade is the quintessential tabletop RPG and has been continuously updated since 1991. It’s an immersive horror experience that invites players to explore a world where vampires are real, their weaknesses are known but they’re still one of the top predators on Earth. With Swansong, gamers can now relive all-time classic moments from throughout VTM history including its original Kickstarter campaign as well
as revealing more about how lore will develop in VTM: Bloodlines 2nd Edition with new insights into what drives characters and influences player decisions
Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong is a game released in 2018. It’s the final installment of the Vampire The Masquerade series and it’s been met with mixed reviews.
The concept of the Vampire: The Masquerade series has long intrigued me. The concept of a hidden society of vampires that hides from regular people is a fantastic match for gaming. However, neither the tabletop game nor the cult favorite Bloodlines, which will be receiving a sequel if it ever stops having developmental troubles. Swansong, a detective-style adventure game from the makers of The Council, is my first foray into the Vampire The Masquerade brand.
“I… have unique eyes”
The game takes place in Boston on the eve of a massive vampire party, during which the Camirla clan would definitely get up to all sorts of vampire business… or would have if things hadn’t gone dreadfully wrong. Due to an incident at the party, a code red has been activated, and everyone is on high alert as they try to find out who is responsible. You take control of three separate individuals who are assigned on various assignments to cover the tracks and keep the masquerade hidden from those outside the inner circle.
Throughout the game, you take control of three different vampires who are dispatched on tasks. Galeb, who has been in the Masquerade since the 1700s and has the greatest knowledge of how things function in this society, is our first choice. There’s Emem, who has extensive ties around Boston and is a crucial ally. Finally, Laysha is the most unusual of the three, with extraordinary powers that enable her to glimpse the future, or at least hazy images of it. Prince Hazel will assign these individuals assignments to clear evidence and put an end to the Second Inquisition.
Swansong’s narrative is really pretty intriguing, with a wonderful setup that draws you in right away. As you go, you’ll learn more about the motives of the characters, with lots of twists and turns, and you won’t know who to trust… or who to trust more. It’s impossible to know someone’s true motives. Even though the writing fell flat at times, I was continuously motivated to keep going. The characters are engaging enough, and there’s enough of backstory to explore, including some unexpected turns. Though the undeveloped and generic antagonists take the place of something that might have been so much more interesting.
My personal favorites are Galeb’s chapters.
You’ll have to make a variety of decisions during the game’s narrative that will influence not just how individuals interact with you, but also how the storyline unfolds. These are either little details that will lead you to particular narrative points or major decisions that will entirely alter the plot’s trajectory. Depending on your decision, most objectives have numerous pathways to fulfillment, some of which aren’t obvious until the conclusion of the chapter, when the game teases you with what you could have missed.
Swansong is my first foray into the Vampire The Masquerade brand, as well as the so-called World of Darkness as a whole, so I’m approaching it with new eyes. With so many notions thrown at you, getting into the franchise might be intimidating at first. Thankfully, a comprehensive codex with suggestions at important points assists in filling up the gaps. While this is a normal feature, as someone who is unfamiliar with the World of Darkness mythos, I liked it enormously. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the series; everything that’s vital is explained either in-game or in the codex.
Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong has a detective mystery feel to it. You search tiny self-contained maps for clues to help you fulfill your goals. You move about the area, interacting with objects and reading a lot of text logs. Depending on the choices you make and the attributes you have, the dialogue may go in a variety of places. You’ll sometimes run across riddles that need you to search the room for a solution. The most of them are well-designed, however some of them are a little too unclear.
Nope. It isn’t
You will be able to spend experience points on a range of talents between each chapter. Some basic metrics, such as security, lockpicking, and knowledge, will make it much easier for you to navigate the environment and interact with items that would otherwise be unreachable. Then there are dialogue-based talents, which you must pick depending on the scenario and who you are conversing with. Persuasion, for example, could be more successful against a character who is impervious to fear.
Finally, there are a few disciplines where you may disguise your vampire abilities. These vary from the ability to perceive hidden secrets in the environment to more powerful weapons like stealing someone’s identity and wearing their face or dominating, which forces information from others via discourse. You may choose where your skill points go, but we have a very sophisticated RPG system here.
You play as Leysha in one of the game’s initial chapters as she investigates the party slaughter that set the story in motion. You’ll need both investigative and vampiric talents to do this. The problem is that the more you utilize your vampiric skills, the more control the beast inside of you gains. Keeping track of your beast meter (let’s call it that) is an important component of Swansong. To accomplish so, you’ll need to discover secure places to drain vessels across the globe. You can’t have many vessels in the same location, so be mindful. If you need to drain the vessel again, this will kill them, raising suspicion and making skill tests more difficult.
Swansong has several components that are a touch too simple, particularly when it comes to stealth. Being able to utilize several of your skills without eliciting suspicion, even entering into stealth when a guard is gazing at you, does not result in a reaction. For some reason, changing disguises only works in safe rooms when it should should be dependent on line of sight. These aren’t game-breaking, but they do detract from immersion and cause some unneeded retracing. On a somewhat more game-breaking note, I did come across a few problems, such as NPCs not relocating to their proper positions or me being unable to interact with them. As a consequence, I had to redo the whole chapter. In my about 15-hour playing, I’ve lost a few of hours of progress.
Swansong has a few standout moments that set it apart from the pack.
If you’ve watched any of the trailers for Swansong, you’ll note that they’re very rough, and the complete game is no different. Let me start with the positive: the settings are well-detailed, with good lighting that brings the scene to life. There are a lot of intriguing places with a lot of variation throughout the game, which really enhances the presentation. However, there is one critical defect in this game that might have a significant influence on the remainder of the game: the character models’ quality.
The animations are incomplete, with a lot of clipping and dead expressions that make the game appear hurried and glitched out, resulting in a lack of immersion. Vampires’ Faces Mass Effect: Andromeda’s visuals pale in compared to The Masquerade: Swansong’s. That’s not even taking into account the lip sync, which is almost non-existent. This gives Swansong a gritty quality that lags below current expectations, making it tough to recommend.
The sound design, like the images, is a bit of a mixed bag. While the primary voice cast is adequate, doing a good enough job of immersing me in the scenario (albeit nothing outstanding), many of the ancillary characters may be irritating. For example, Halsey, Leysha’s kid, is the most obnoxious of the group. A solid soundtrack is provided elsewhere, although there is nothing in the way of ambient sound design. Everything seems to be stagnant, with little going on in the backdrop.
As one would expect from a Vampire The Masquerade title, there is some style here.
Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong is undeniably imperfect, with sloppy graphics and a gameplay loop that isn’t for everyone. If you’re searching for an intriguing vampire mystery and don’t mind a few annoyances common in current AA games, there’s a lot to appreciate about this imperfect, but surely engaging detective adventure.
Character models and animations are woefully inadequate for a game that is heavily focused on language and characters. Even if the surroundings seem to be stable.
Swansong’s fundamental gameplay involves you solving a captivating mystery, despite its simplicity.
Concerning the sound department, I’m torn. For every excellent voice actor, there is an equal number of poor ones.
The intriguing idea of Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong makes for a unique, albeit imperfect, detective game, prioritizing communication and discovery above anything else.
Final Score: 6.5
Swansong: Vampire The Masquerade is currently available on PC, Xbox, and Playstation.
On a PC with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 5 3600X, and 16GB RAM, the review was conducted. SSD installation.
The publisher donated a copy of Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong.
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Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong is a game that takes place in the universe of Vampire The Masquerade. Players take on the role of either a vampire or human, and must survive through an ever-changing city as they try to uncover its secrets. Reference: vampire the masquerade bloodhunt.
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