Once you’ve have your vampire setup, you go through a long cut-scene to kick off the game. You start out as a freshly made vampire who’s sire is immediately executed because you were made without the permission of the Camarilla. Thus begins your adventure in the game as you try to figure out the cause behind some of the disturbances in the vampire world. The game does take you through a small tutorial to get you acquainted with the controls, your vampire powers, and the rules of the vampire universe. Once you’ve completed the tutorial, you’re off to Santa Monica to begin your quest.
The folks at Troika did a great job of creating interesting quests and missions for you to pursue in the game. Sure you have a lot of your standard hunt and fetch missions but there are a lot of good missions in the game. The game gives you a chance to destroy an art museum to upset a rival, rid a haunted mansion its ghosts, and help maintain the masquerade by taking out some louse lipped associates. The missions are varied enough to keep you interested in the game and advance the plot of the game. Outside the main core missions, there are plenty of solid side quests that flesh out the story a little further. Troika did a great job of leveraging their source material into an engaging game.
Gamers will want to go through all of the side quests as experience points are not plentiful. Rather than “leveling” up as you do in most RPG’s, you gain experience points which you then spend on increasing your attributes and abilities. As you increase a characteristic, the number of experience points required to advance that characteristic to the next level goes up. This forces you to make interesting decisions like “Do I want to get that stealth skill so I can sneak around or do I want to save it up for a strength point so I can deal more damage in combat”. It’s a nice system and it really forces you to think about how you want to play the game as creating a generic multi-skilled vampire is going to make your life a little more difficult.
There are usually multiple ways to solve any of the missions in the game based on how you’ve set your vampire up and how you want to attack the game. Your alternatives are usually combat based, sneak based, or domination based. There are some missions that can only be resolved by combat and there is a nice mix of weapons. You have a combination of melee weapons and ranged weapons. The most amusing weapon is the amputated arm you pick up early on in the game. It’s a surprisingly effective weapon and kind of entertaining to wield in battle.
You can’t just go around killing and feeding, though, as that kind of thing violates the Masquerade. You are permitted five violations before the Camarilla step in and terminate you. Some missions will allow you to get Masquerade redemptions in case you get careless or just decide to have a little fun. You also have to maintain your humanity. Why? Because if you lose all of your humanity points, you become a feral, uncivilized beast (kind of like Charlie). You can earn humanity points back or you can purchase them with experience points.
The vampire powers are also nice and provide a good addition to your combat arsenal. There are basic blood buff which increases all of your abilities as well as other fun things that allow you to dominate the wills of others or even drive them insane. Again, the game does a good job of providing you different ways to solve the multiple problems within the game.
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