Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Preview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Activision
Developer:Troika Games
Release Date:2004-11-18
Genre:
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • First-Person,Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Prepare yourself for a dirty, sexy, blood, and teeth-riddled romp through the filth laden streets of Los Angeles in the pale skin of Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines. As if Los Angeles isn't scary enough by modern standards, dare to venture a step further into the surreal equivalent of the Underdark, as L.A. is portrayed through White Wolf's strife saturated World of Darkness. A brooding realm of your sickest desires and worst fears comes to an exceptionally realistic undeath with the help of Valve's Half-Life 2 Source engine.

White Wolf, who owns Vampire: the Masquerade (the pen and paper based origin of Bloodlines) has sanctioned Activision (VtM: Redemption, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and both the Quake and Doom series) and Troika (whose founding members worked on Fallout, Fallout 2, Arcanum, and Temple of Elemental Evil) to head the charge of fulfilling the breathtaking task of satiating fans' desires. It would appear that the often disregarded inherent thirst of gamers shall finally be satiated. Oh yes brothers, I speak of the thirst for intuitive violence, role-playing, and the supernatural, all wrapped up in one easy to access and manage first person shooter/role playing hybrid bundle! For once, my ludicrously powerful player character can grant me the opportunity to witness all of the havoc it can wreak in a full-frontal assault on the senses (provided in as many frames per second as I can afford)! Finally, when I land a critical hit 30+ hours into the game and the unfortunate recipient explodes as if I had planted a grenade in their groin, I will be able to witness it from point blank range as opposed to some obscured view 20,000 leagues above the World of Darkness.


Entrails are our friends!

Kill or be killed would appear to be the premise here as the game is a first person shooter/role playing game. The idea alone makes one's brow furrow visibly at the question of how manageable its interface will end up being. Valve's Source engine appears more than ready to take on the task. Abandoning the expectations of a traditional conversion from pen and paper role playing to PC, turn based fights and third person views are to be a thing of the past with Troika's coming release.

Bloodlines' website gives the unverified impression that only the Camarilla clans will be available for alliance while the Sabbat will be available for slaughter. A damned good thing because kine (humans) just don't spew enough of blood to whet the appetite of a traditional fan of the genre.

Both melee and projectile based combat are promised through the use of blades, guns, and inherent powers (tooth and nail). One can expect a battle situation comparable to that of a multiplayer jaunt through Alien versus Predator 2 (which is an intense melee, inherent power, and ranged weapon based 3dfps pitting humans, aliens, and predators against one another). The difference here is that a level of balance (explained in more detail below) will be present for those of us who aren't as equipped to handle the nimble-wristed antics of the traditional first person shooter. Another intense benefit is that the environment is your weapon. With the flexibility we've seen thus far of Valve's Source engine, it would not be an unreal expectation of the engine to allow one to tear doors off of cars and beat their opponents to a bloodied heap with them, or use them as shields from the fully automatic bullet sprays of Ingram Mac-10s.


Say goodbye to those lonely nights.

The game boasts both a multiplayer and single player gaming experience as is becoming the norm with every modern release. Fear not, hardcore role-players, the game is being designed so that in multiplayer there will be fair grounds of play regardless of your skill as a first person shooter or as a power playing role-player. For example, skills shall determine accuracy when shooting, not your ability to flick your Boomslang 2100 dpi mouse any faster or more accurately than I can flick my 400 dpi first generation optical mouse (which has suited most role players just fine to this point in time). This feature will be perceived by many gamers in many different lights, but let us as a community try to keep an open mind about the system until we've had the opportunity to get our greedy little paws on it. That goes for fans of both genres! Besides, experience is the best teacher.

From what has been seen of this engine so far in various movies, one can expect the delivery of unprecedented graphical quality with an insatiable demand for raw video processing power. By all means, get a capable video card and system if you haven't got one already. Maim, pillage, plunder, do whatever it takes; undoubtedly the authors of such a title would approve of such fanatical actions. so long as those actions were in the name of assuring the most immersive blood-spattering, limb-rending, artery-puncturing delivery of their product. Contact your local blood bank and inform them of a coming shortage because when this title hits shelves, surely the hunger of a thousand wolverines will possess even the most featherweight of fans to the dark genre.


(Californication)

Location is everything. Were you expecting to travel through time and make your way around the world? Can't wait to taste the world and traverse antiquity through the eyes of immortality? Then go play Redemption before this hits shelves. Downtown L.A., Chinatown, Santa Monica, and Hollywood are the blissfully turbid settings of the game, and rightfully so! Where else can you find a better mix of colorful and deviant occupations to make for the best of captivating character archetypes?
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