Vampire: Swansong (PC), REVIEW – A Plucked bird
During the long wait for Bloodlines, 2 fans were offered many other video games that were based on the World of Darkness tabletop RPGs. They’ve been either visual novels that are focused on the story or hack and slash action gaming that emphasizes combat and lacks substance. Both of these have always been just shy of being a good mix. Vampire: Although the Masquerade Swansong seemed to be the game that would fix the mix, it is leaving the majority of feathers ruffled and tattered.
Swansong is a story about a man who begins with a threat. The code red was called. Someone has attacked the Boston vampire population and the prince of this city needs answers. The undead world is being created and players are required to assume the roles of three characters from different clans with different powers, stats and abilities. Or they will face serious consequences and even death. Each must be concerned about the dark secrets they may uncover, even as they solve one mystery from the shadows.
This is the game’s strongest point, creating intrigue in the first scenes and using the world of the supernatural and vampire lore to their advantage. Each character is unique with their own obstacles and allies, as well as a character profile to build on. It is not easy to navigate the social web, but it is important to keep the fragile court that runs society in the dark. This aspect is a legacy from the original pen and paper game. It works just right. Unfortunately, the gameplay is not as enjoyable.
Swansong’s core experience involves walking and talking with others. The majority of levels have the characters acting as investigators or explorers. They talk to kine and kindred to find out more information. While some areas are easier to maneuver, others require more precision or can pose danger. Some areas require simple deductions or complex puzzles to solve, which can prove difficult.
Character’s skills, discipline, and ability to use blood (measured here by hunger) to increase stats are all important. Although some items may temporarily increase these stats and there are methods to regain blood or willpower, you can easily encounter situations where very little can be done. Social combat can feel frustrating and confrontations are easy for losers, especially when there is a tie that results in a random roll. You must make decisions and dialog choices during encounters in order to resolve objectives. This affects how much XP each character receives between their chapters.
It can be tedious as you have to constantly search for items or speak with others. Although we aren’t really dealing with a pixel hunt as in the classic point-and-click games, it feels like one thing can halt progress and there is nowhere else to look. To keep track of information, the guide suggests that you take out a pen or notebook. This feels like a call to the tabletop, but there is a reason that we are in another medium. It’s difficult to keep up with the many characters and goals. Even though the game gives players the ability to choose when they want to process information, players must follow the rules. I want to play according to t