VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE - SWANSONG IS THE BITE-SIZED NARRATIVE GAME THAT I'VE LOOKING FOR
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VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE – SWANSONG IS THE BITE-SIZED NARRATIVE GAME THAT I’VE LOOKING FOR

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE - SWANSONG IS THE BITE-SIZED NARRATIVE GAME THAT I'VE LOOKING FOR

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE – SWANSONG IS THE BITE-SIZED NARRATIVE GAME THAT I’VE LOOKING FOR

Vampire: The Masquerade in gaming is an under-utilized universe. It is perfect for RPGs because it has subtle political ties, tense atmospheres, and enough death to make Game of Thrones blush. Vampire – Swansong is not without its problems, but it does a great job when it gets it right.

Swansong opens with a sense of despair and death, and you are greeted by visions. After a security breach that resulted in the deaths of several of their members, you are called to play the role of three Vampires. The politics of the masquerade is immediately thrust upon you – something as captivating as it is mysterious.

Each character represents a different perspective, but they are all connected by Hazel, the Price of Boston. Emem, a recently converted Toreador, is a charming and cunning woman who runs a small jazz club. Galeb is a Ventrue, the youngest of three. His more cynical nature aids his detective skills. Lisha, a Malkavian who can see the future from hiding in plain sight, is finally revealed. These three characters are interconnected, and each takes on different parts in the main story.

Swansong is a master at this dynamic, and often your past decisions will come back to haunt them in hilarious ways. Each character can be developed in their way, giving them different approaches to handling a situation. You can’t predict which one of these three will deal with the tension building, so it is fun to anticipate where your power might be needed.

Although you can force your way through most obstacles, it will endanger your willpower and hunger. You can play defensive for many levels because you fear losing vital resources. This is a great way to balance out your powers. Although you may be able to influence others to do your bidding, is it worth it when you might need it more later? You can also encourage a little more power for a higher chance of passing a skill test. This is a risky option that increases in danger over time.

The genuine charm of the writing is what makes these skills and dialog options so effective. You are always looking for new ways to approach a topic or new routes. And it always answers with another. You don’t have to force your way through sections. But if you are willing to work hard to make it easier, you will find a better route. You will be able to spot slight hints of what you missed and make it easier for yourself to go back and do it again.

Swansong isn’t a perfect game. There are some bugs and crashes, and the graphics can sometimes detract from the tension it creates. It is acceptable instills. However, motion can make lip-sync and actions look almost cartoonishly off-putting. Its movement can bring you out, but its story and mystery will draw you back.

This is the ideal antidote if you are looking for a solid entry to Vampire: the Masquerade and a reason for excitement for VTMB2 next year. Although it has some flaws, I wanted more Vampires: The Masquerade. You can still play it on May 19 if you want to.

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VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE – SWANSONG IS THE BITE-SIZED NARRATIVE GAME THAT I’VE LOOKING FOR
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