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Platform: PC
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Troika Games
ETA: Fall 2004


Related Links:

Review: Acranum (PC)

Preview: Half-Life 2 (PC)

Review: Arx Fatalis (XB)

Review: Blade II (XB)

 

 

 

 

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Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

 

vampire the masquerade bloodlines preview          vampire the masquerade bloodlines preview

 

If the rumors and speculation are to be believed, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has been ready to ship for at least 7 months.  Why the hold-up?  Again, rumor has it that because Bloodlines is using Valve’s Source engine “the same game engine technology used 

to power Half-Life 2” there was an agreement that Half-Life 2 would ship before Bloodlines.  

Of course, there was that whole electronic break-in at the Valve offices about this time last year, which sent a firm release date for the much-anticipated Half-Life 2 into the toilet.  It was anyone’s guess as to when it would ship.  There are clues that indicate Half-Life 2 will ship soon and when it does expect Bloodlines to quickly hit the shelves.  It can’t come soon enough for fans of the White Wolf property.

 

At the helm is Troika Games, developers behind Arcanum and the Fallout series.  Those games were limited to overhead, isometric views, Bloodlines is a shooter/brawler with less 

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emphasis on hardcore role-playing elements.  At least that’s what it might seem like at first glance.  I wouldn’t call Troika’s previous titles “light” RPGs by any stretch and Morrowind has proven RPGs can be first-person/third-person and still be deep gaming experiences.

 

Here’s the official line from Activision:

 

Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines continues the famous White Wolf gaming tradition in an all-new role-playing adventure, combining action combat with an open, non-linear world, rich character development and an immersive storyline.  The game plunges players into the dark and gritty vampire underworld of modern day L.A. as a creature of the night, interacting with and battling mortals and other creatures of darkness with an incredible array of vampire powers, skills and traits.  Based on Valve’s Source Technology—the same game technology used to power Half-Life 2, Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines is being developed by renowned RPG developer Troika Games and is based on White Wolf ’s World of Darkness.

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Features:

Embrace the darkness as a vampire—Gamers play as a member of one of seven different Camarilla Clans, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.  Utilizing up to 12 different vampire powers including supernatural speed, invisibility, mind control and superhuman strength, players embark on quests, earning experience points to build their character and increase powers, skills and traits.  As they progress through the game, players will rise up through the ranks of Vampire Society to become the most powerful creature of the night.

 

Immersive RPG adventure—Journeying into the World of Darkness in L.A.—from nightclubs and secret ceremonial caverns downtown to seedy hotels and exclusive mansions on the Hollywood strip – Players will explore an open, “living” non-linear world, interacting with characters and unraveling story elements. Gamers can choose their own path to follow, where each challenge has multiple solutions and each choice has repercussions - help or hurt the denizens of the world while reaping the rewards or suffering the consequences.  Replaying the game making different choices, players will find that characters and the environment react differently depending on the clan they choose, their Vampire abilities and their “reputation” developed during the journey.

 

Next-gen gameplay—Built using Valve’s Source Technology, the same game technology used to power Half-Life 2, Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines features fast-action gameplay, detailed graphics, advanced AI and incredible special effects.  Gamers’ success will rely on a combination of their vampire powers and shooter skills, mixed with fierce hand-to-hand combat and the use of an explosive arsenal of weapons including knives, pistols, submachine guns, stake guns and more.

 

vampire the masquerade bloodlines preview          vampire the masquerade bloodlines preview

 

Online team-based multiplayer—Gamers can go online with friends and join in the ultimate battle of light and darkness.  Choosing which team to join, playing as a vampire or as a vampire hunter, with a variety of team-based mission objectives and character stat development, online combat will always be a unique experience.

 

Cutting edge RPG gaming—Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines is the culmination of next-generation first-person action game engine technology, a top RPG developer and a renowned RPG franchise.  Built using Valve’s Source Technology— the same game engine technology used to power Half-Life 2, the game is based on White Wolf’s renowned pen-and-paper RPG series Vampire: The Masquerade and its official clans.  Developed by Troika Games—creators of top RPG franchises such as Arcanum (2002 RPG of the year—PC Gamer) and the Fallout series, Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines promises to take RPG gaming to the next level.

 

(If you’re keeping track, Half-Life 2 is mentioned three times and Bloodlines is mentioned six times – I wouldn’t be half surprised if an ad for Half-Life 2 showed up in Bloodlines!)

 

I hate to draw parallels with other games, but the description of Bloodlines really reminds me of Morrowind.  A “living non-linear world” certainly sums up both titles nicely.  Course, Bloodlines looks to have stronger combat elements, particularly with the inclusion of team-based multiplayer and “Valve’s Source Technology— the same game engine technology used to power Half-Life 2”!

 

Expect the blood sucking to commence this Fall (or after Half-Life 2 ships).

 

- Omni

(August 20, 2004)