What is Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (V:TM-B)?
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is the 2004 action RPG made by Troika games, which, before it went out of business, shat out gold bricks encased in software bugs. V:TM - B uses the Source engine and takes place in White Wolf's Old World of Darkness (oWoD) which is just like our world except dark. And monsters exist! Like vampires.
This sucks (NO PUN INTENDED) for almost everyone, even the vampires sort of, but in V:TM - B you're a vampire and you get to use your superhuman vampire powers to try to figure out what the hell is going on after you wake up one day and find out that you've been turned into a creature of the night. Set in Los Angeles, you get to visit places like Santa Monica and Hollywood, interact with interesting, well-written and awesomely-voiced characters, and sink your teeth (NO PUN INTENDED) into the awesome story and the excitement of being immortal.
The gameplay is a lot like Deus Ex: you're more or less free to explore the various hubs, picking up side quests and exploring areas and doing missions for people, but the main quest moves you along a more or less linear path (although you have tons of choices along the way). The plot deals with a sarcophogoausous (that might not be the correct spelling) and vampire politics and vampire ninjas and weresharks and werewolves and lesbians and ghosts and all sorts of amazing things, and the facial animation will suck you in (NO PUN INTENDED) to the one of the most detailed, well-written games in forever.
How do I play?
Step one: Buy the game! Steam has it
and it's fully compatible with the fan patches (more on that later). You could wait until Halloween when it customarily goes on sale but honestly it's one of the best games ever made so buying it now isn't a bad idea.
Steam will patch it but otherwise you'll desperately need the 1.2 patch. It's included in the unofficial patches though
, which you should probably grab unless you're Cardboard Tube.
The World of Darkness is a dangerous place, even for vampires, and it's even more dangerous when it crashes all the time. Because this is a Troika game, it's buggy, and because Troika went out of business, it stayed buggy even after 1.2. This is where the fan patches come in. It's possible to play more or less without them, but you have a chance of running into a crash bug that will end your game or some crap like that, so really, why bother unless you're Cardboard Tube or a masochist (these coincide)?
This is the place to pick up the latest patch.
To make a long, tedius, emo-goth-nerdrage-sexually-repressed-internet-dork-developer-intent-penandpaper-balance debate short, you basically just want to download the latest patch by Wesp and install it. When asked, go for the bugfix install, not the "Plus" install, which changes a bunch of stuff that you can bother with on your 4th time through or whatever.
Are you sure I should buy this?
Yeah you should definitely get the game. Here are some of the people you'll meet:
- Velvet is a beautiful woman who only wants to have sex with you. She will never ask you for a favor and would not think of manipulating you.
- Ming is a beautiful woman who only wants to have sex with you. She is inherently trustworthy and has your best interests at heart.
- Heather is a beautiful mortal woman whose life you can save if you want to. She only wants to have sex with you. Despite your status as an inhuman monster who feeds on the blood of the living to survive, she is grateful that you saved her life and spends most of the game living contentedly under your protection. Life is pretty awesome for her and she doesn't really have many of the problems that other characters in the game do.
- Venus is a beautiful woman who wants to have sex with you. She's a bartender in a club. She's not a very important character in the grand scheme of things but I remember being mesmerized by her breasts in the first footage of this game ever released. Couldn't find a good picture though.
Jeanette and Therese Voerman
- Jeanette's the only one who wants to have sex with you but both are beautiful. These two sisters are major players in Santa Monica and they're all business. They've got it together and work together as a well oiled machine. Don't even worry about anything if you take a job from them: just do what they say and there won't be any complications. Do the work, get paid. If only everything were that simple.
- LaCroix is the "prince" of Los Angeles and, being French, is a beautiful man who only wants to have sex with you. He is so powerful that he has no need to backstab or trick you and spends most of the game helping you out and being your pal.
Calico Jack the Pirate Captain of Yore
- Also known as "Jack," his voice actor is the guy who did Bender in Futurama. He's the nicest of all the vampires, even though he doesn't want to have sex with you, and leads you through the tutorial. This is only the first of many times he does something nice for you without ever wanting anything in return. He keeps no secrets from you and is entirely selfless in his dealings with you.
Pretty much everyone you meet is this helpful. I didn't even mention the ghost of a serial killer who guides you through a rickety old hotel so that you don't fall through the stairs and hurt yourself, or the obliging werewolf who protects you when you're all alone in an observatory in the woods! There's even an insane scientist who opens his luxurious mansion to you so that you can be safe from a vampire hunter who wants to kill you with fire. Oh, also:
- Pisha eats people.
Those Guys are Neat but What About Me?
As I already mentioned, you play as a newly "embraced" vampire. Your sire gets the axe about 2 minutes into the game for breaking the "vampire society before hos" rule or something, and you're left to fend for yourself. Your choice of "clan" drastically changes your play style: a Ventrue will find easy acceptance into vampire society and will be able to manipulate mortals to do their bidding, whereas a Nosferatu will find himself confined to the sewer system so as not to violate the "Masquerade," the set of rules set up by vampires so that people don't figure out wtf is up (otherwise we'd have a mob scene on our hands).
Play as a Brujah and you'll basically get to punch a lot of people, play as a Toreador and make lovey-dovey eyes at stuff and recite bad poetry, or play as a Malkavian and be batshit insane. You will hear newscasters speak secret messages to you and you will have conversations with a stop sign (sample dialog choice
). Other choices include vampires who use blood to do magic tricks that kill people and vampires that have dreadlocks.
You can choose to be a melee character or a ranged combat character (the choice is a little more nuanced) but like, say, Deus Ex, the fun isn't from the combat but from the deep, intricate world, the story and characters, and the voice acting, although in this case it's fantastic voice acting instead of hilariously bad.
Tell me more about the World of Darkness
This Wiki has a lot of fun info
and we've got some WoD scholars here on the forums. Fun fact: White Wolf, the WoD guys, got bought by the people who made EvE, and now they're making an MMO in the "New World of Darkness (nWoD)" which is similar to oWoD but smells like a new car.
I have a 64 bit OS and V:TM - B doesn't like me
Have I got a link for you