Hey there, welcome to the Head 2 Head review of Vampire The Masquarade
Highly touted as being the RPG to look forward to this summer,
this game has seen a lot of mixed reviews. Once again (like the
RTS genre) we see another game attempting to go 3D-this time in
the realm of role playing games.
Quite successfully, I might add. :) As with games like Baldur's
Gate and Icewind Dale, Vampire TM:R is based on a pencil and paper
role playing system. And like its predecessors, the gameplay itself
closely resembles the original game.
Indeed it does. However, let's briefly go over the storyline of
this game. The main character, Christof is a crusader who is a
member of a swordsman brotherhood, responsible for the slaying
of many Vampires. Ironically, Christof himself ends up being turned
into a Vampire near the game's beginning and his new immortal
life ensues. Mix this with a love story and you have Vampire:
With the pencil and paper game behind it, Vampire has a rich and
detailed history. The story of Christof falls during two distinct
time periods, that of the dark ages and the modern era. It is
truly refreshing to see a game spend a lot of time building up
the story and immersing the player in the game.
Well, immersing? Not at the beginning. The graphics do quite a
good job of getting you into the world of Christof, but the game
story starts off a tad dry. Regardless though, the essence behind
the game is a good one. The vampire-based plot isn't done often
in RPGs now-a-days. The game doesn't really get interesting to
any extent until Christof is turned. It's a good thing that happens
early in the game. :)
Dry?! I can't see how you can say that the beginning was dry. It
perfectly introduced us to the type of person and character that
Christof is. This leads us to view a man fighting his own morals
and convictions when he becomes the evil that he had fought all
of his life. Hehe, didn't mean to get preachy. It's just that RPG's
don't always have a great storyline behind it. The graphics found
within the game are fantastic and add to the feeling of being in
the dark ages. It adds to the feeling of an old medieval town but
with a dark and mysterious aura.
Yes, the graphics are nice. It is up there with Ultima 9 in terms
of the best graphics in an RPG-particularly a 3D RPG. However,
to be completely honest, the world doesn't seem like an explorable
expanse at all. That was a bummer. You are confined to certain
areas and the game is based heavily on sub-quest completion. But,
despite this, the game sucks you in and makes you want to play
anyway. Becoming Christof the Vampire actually makes you feel
like a 'good bad guy' which is a nice balance for those who like
to play as either or. The game is sweet to view too.-the animations
are smooth and the story is made more interesting when you see
the surrounding environments.
He he, the graphics are better than Ultima 9 (in my mind at least,
why play a game that was never shipped complete?). But I do see
your point, it would have been more enjoyable if the game world
was explorable. As it seems, there are only certain scripted areas
for the gamer to travel. Games like Baldur's Gate gave the gamer
so many different areas to explore. You could leave the main area
and find quests to do within sections on the other side of the
map. In Vampire TM:R, it seems that you are only supposed to travel
through the areas that will further the main storyline. Having
some secondary quests and zones would have brought more detail
the character of Christof and the game.
Couldn't have said it better myself. However, zoning limitations
and graphics aside, there are some other things that this game
does either very well, or not well enough. Let's start with the
camera and pathfinding. The camera in VTMR follows in 3 dimensions
around Christof and this is quite a nice addition. Problem is,
the camera can't even let your character look upward (when i say
this i am not referring to the stationary 'z' key function which
let's you look in any direction as you hold 'z' down-i refer to
the default 3rd person mode) and its main functioning is very
rigid. The 'z' function is somewhat nice, but it doesn't let you
move around etc. in that mode at all without the annoying 'pre-clicking'.
Ultima 9 (despite what its retractors say) had a stellar 3d camera
and let you see up, down sideways-anything-all in the default
3rd person perspective. VTMR could have learned a lesson there.
Also, the pathfinding-VTMR uses a point-and-click navigation system
that gets hard to handle. Characters get stuck, run into each
other-a big mess. Once again, if 3rd person-like controls (ala
Ultima 9-sorry, it did SOME things right) were implemented, this
would be fixed and gameplay would be far smoother.
Ultima 9 doing some things right? How so? And after how many patches?
hehe I have to disagree with you about the camera controls. I
found that using the mouse to control the camera angles was a
great part of the game. It was nice being able to look around
the corners and all around a room with just a movement with the
mouse. So you can't look up, I'm sure that there really isn't
much to see at night anyways. :) Ultima 9 had some of the worst
camera controls that I have ever seen. Granted, not being able
to look up might upset some (I guess you would be one :P ), I
don't think it has any real effect on the game itself. Now about
the pathfinding problems, I too thought it was frustrating. Like
how many times did I want to see Christof jogging on the spot
because something was in the way. It was really sad to see such
a game have a problem like this.
Yes, but i am not talking about the camera movement as much as
i am talking about the general character movement. You should
feel more like you ARE your character in a game such as this and
he should move instinctively. Vampire doesn't do that. The attacking
process is also a pain. Holding down a mouse button to keep attacking
shouldn't be necessary. And stop dissing Ultima 9-after patches,
the game was good-ok? ;P Now, as for Vampire, even though i have
the problems i mentioned it's the small things that make this
game enjoyable. The graphics are a huge part of course, but the
meeting of new NPCs, the new enemies one always runs into, the
actual process of drawing blood from another being. THOSE things
truly make the milieu that it seems this game was striving for.
(although it should have avoided having in-engine cut scenes featuring
NPCs that are dead-THAT was a huge mistake and it could
have been avoided SOMEHOW i would think)
Yes, the game does have a lot going for it with the small details.
There are more than enough main NPCs to interact with but the
game is lacking in the ordinary monster category. When I was running
through the different zones and dungeons, it would seem that I
was fighting the same creature over and over and over again. Some
of the monsters would find their way into the other dungeons that
you had to explore. More variety would have made these parts of
the game less boring. I do like the fact that during interactions
with the main NPC's, you can challenge them by provoking the more
powerful vampires. I just didn't understand why they allowed me
to live after angering them more than once. :) And about Ultima
9, I will never give up the fight to prove that the game was buggier
than a swamp. HEHE
Buggy-yes, but there is no way that anyone can deny that it was
the pioneer of the 3D RPG genre and did a fairly good job once
patches were applied. But with Vampire, i was kinda cool with
the variety of creatures with the exception of the first level
(silver mines). Otherwise, although it seemed characters within
a level were very much the same, they changed greatly from level
to level. The music is also good for this game-gothic and dark,
like a vampire game should be.
The music was a nice addition and perfectly complimented the graphics.
Not only did the game have a 'gothic' look to it, the sounds were
dark and mysterious as well. The sounds also added credibility
to the game. It was nice to hear accents on the vampires since
it was taking place in Europe for the most part (yeah, I know
the last area was New York). The designers did their homework
when they added such features.
Well, overall, despite the problems i have with it, this game
is pretty decent and is one more stage in the life of the young
3D RPG genre. As with Ultima 9, you aren't going to see a perfect
3D RPG until later on, but Vampire: TMR doesn't disappoint if
you are looking for an RPG with a lot of conventional hack and
slash. It's additional multiplayer mode is also neat to have around,
but it too has it's share of annoying tendancies and the storyteller
mode in particular can be IMMENSELY time consuming. But hey, a
few fixes and this game is on its way.
I agree, this game was still fun to play and I enjoyed the way
I was immersed within the story. With games like Baldur's Gate
2 and Diablo II in the distance, VTMR might have some problems
staying as the top RPG. But the designers of VTMR can hold their
heads high, knowing that they released a much better game than
Ultima 9, the competition for the time being. For a 3D RPG, VTMR
is one of the best ones out there.
so what would you assign it in terms of a grade?
Thought you would never ask! :P I think that while the game has
some problems, the designers have already told the gaming community
that most of them will be fixed in the first patch. For this reason,
I have hopes that it will truly be a fantastic game. At the moment,
the game being as it is deserves a grade of 80%. Not bad as grades
go, but it could have been higher if and when the problems are
Yes i agree with that point-the patch looks promising, but this
review unfortunately is being written prior to its release. As
for decimating Ultima 9-in some ways it does and in some ways
it doesn't. But either way, this game without the patch i think
deserves a 78%. If the patch works the way it's expected, it gets
2 more percent from me, but until then, 78 is what it's worth
right out of the box. :) Ultima 9 obviously deserved less out
of the box, but keep in mind that it forged the way for the genre-all
new types of games have their growing pains.
Hehe, guess that's the final say on Vampire The Masquarade : Redemption.
But remember, this is only the beginning of the Ultima 9 bashing.
Arrrrrgh....i hate you. ;)