What I'm Playing Now - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 10:29 PM
There are few games in the field of videogames that divides players as much as this one does. One end, it is horribly glitchy, has some of the worst combat you could ever see in an RPG, and the character models aside, it is not at all a good looking game. On the other side of the spectrum, you have some of the most finely written dialogue you could ever hope to see in any medium, its characters are so well written that they seem real life human beings, and it has a wide range of options in handling the objectives in the game. You could persuade your way past the guards, suck their blood like that Vampire you are, or sneak past them like you are the next Solid Snake. There is a lot of hate, let me tell you. But man, for someone who loves his options and his stories like I do, there is so much to love that you have to wonder why bother hating it at all? Let me give you all one good reason why you should grab this game from your nearest torrent site. This right here is the Haunted Hotel at Santa Monica beach. You think you have seen scary in a video game. You probably thought you had seen it all. "Pfft!" You will think when you are given the task to retrieve the pendant from inside the Hotel that control the ghost that haunts it. "I've seen Horror movies. I saw Alien and didn't even flinch! I'm a new age man. I watch SAW and I can handle this pussy Hotel ghost like it was nuthin'!" You will be wrong. My hand was shaking the whole time. I couldn't even keep my mouse steady. My palms were sweaty. It was like Niagara Falls all over my Microsoft Sidewinder (the new spiffy black one, not the one that looks like a boomerang). I had to wash my hands for a whole minute, soap bar and all, before I was convinced I was clean enough to continue gaming. People, that scene is pure atmospheric brilliance. Saw what you will about that sewer level, where all us persuasive characters are forced to run for our (un)lives from those Death-on-Legs because we were too busy investing our points into Persuasion and Seduction rather than "I'm Gonna Woop Yo' Ass!". The Hotel Mansion alone made Vampire Bloodlines one for the record books. And that wasn't even the best scene. There is this one scene where you are confronted with a Cannabilistic Vampire, and this is where the game throws some moral-philosophical head spinners our way. See, this vampire wanted us to send some poor chap that had seen her doing her stuff down to her lair so she can make sure the guy doesn't tell a soul about her. You will do it. It will make perfect sense in all of the world for you to do it, even for those extremelly moralistic individuals. You will do it because she presents the case - and quite well, I might add - that you are no different from her. You suck blood, the life force of humans. She eats them. They are both horrid, damnable acts. What makes what you do so much better than heracts of survival? None of it does. So that is why you do it. And that is why I love this game. Because it is more than a game. It is about things, stuff that you need to think about, to ponder about, to debate with yourself. That is a sign of good storytelling folks, not how much fanart is dedicated to your game on DeviantArt.com. I'm not even finished with it yet. If it weren't for the fact that The Witcher and Arcanum and Planescape: Torment are patiently waiting for me to finish them, I'd do a second play through as either the butt kicking Gangrel or those crazy I'm-gonna-debate-with-a-stop-sign Malkavians.