September 30, 2022

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Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong We tried Big Bad Wolf and Nacon in Paris!

We recently traveled to Paris to try Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, a “narrative RPG” that seems to truly capture the spirit of the world of darkness.

Due to the hunger for ideas typical of the video game world, it is ironic that in the past decade there have been very few valuable titles dedicated to dark world. The intellectual property that was born by Mark Rain Hagen and White Wolf in the 1990s is truly an extraordinary melting pot of untapped potential and potential, which any talented developer can leverage to shape inspiring settings and unusually current stories.

However, after the excellent Redemption and Bloodlines, it appears that the brand was the victim of a curse when trying to turn it into a video game: The passage to Paradox of the world of darkness yielded no results – if we exclude the production delirium behind the anticipated sequel to Bloodlines – and certainly can’t. Saying that any masterpieces associated with it have appeared recently.

However, Nakon does not want to give up; Perhaps realizing the huge possibilities of this dark universe, the publisher, in fact, decided to focus on a new kid called Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong. Developed by Big Bad Wolf StudiosHowever, the game is not a super production with Hungarian investments behind it, but a peculiar “narrative RPG”, focused on plot and a complex web of events, that must be faced in the role of three different vampires from Camarilla (for those who didn’t know, an organization trying to hiding the existence of vampires from humans, and continuing this coexistence in the most impartial way).

We traveled to Paris for Try Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong And it surprised us positively, even if it’s still too early to formulate a real verdict.

Three vampires, hell


Vampire – Swansong: Your stats are often the key to getting through dialogues unscathed

At first glance, Swansong may seem like an emulator for Quantic Dream titles. On the other hand, the adventure offers three different playable characters, which are organized into powerful narrative chapters with multiple crossroads, whose developments can lead to really important transformations in the initial events. The developers did not define everything as a random RPG, however: when you control one of the heroes, in fact, you find yourself in front of a card not unlike that of the paper-and-pencil version of Vampire: The Masquerade, with many points that must be spent on Specific skills and specializations.

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The first are skills almost identical to those in classic role-playing games, and although they are mainly related to conversations – they regulate intimidation choices, or your ability to impress the interlocutor, as usual – they can also sometimes allow you to bypass entire puzzles. With the help of advanced technical knowledge. The latter is rather inevitable vampire powers Specific to different clans, essential to specific “hot” situations, essential to managing game resources.


Vampire - Swansong: Among the characters there is also a vampire from the Toreador clan, but we could not try it
Vampire – Swansong: Among the characters there is also a vampire from the Toreador clan, but we could not try it

In fact, the GDR component is almost entirely associated with source consumption: blood for disciplines and willpower for skills. During class, each important event will force you to spend a certain amount on one or the other, and we assure you that wasting it can lead to really undesirable effects (from a simple negative conclusion of a conversation, to more unexpected distractions…). Overall, it’s an interesting system, adding a bit of spice to the simple choice of multiple options during dialogues, even if it doesn’t apply perfectly to us: during testing, we encountered some compulsion designed to forcibly consume the resources of an alter ego, and in brutal “trial and error” moments to Somewhat in our opinion could be made more flexible or deceptive. The stumbles during progression are pretty obvious after all, and we fear most players will constantly reload past tackles, rather than letting things flow naturally. The need to use certain safe areas to replenish the blood supply by feeding some unfortunate victims only heightens this feeling, given that evaluation errors are the order of the day.

Of course, it must be said that perhaps this impression comes from the class we tested:crime scene analysis As a member of the Ventrue team named Caleb, he is unwilling to waste time and is clearly already in the midst of a somewhat tense situation on the verge of exploding. It’s not out of the question that things will become less straightforward and more relaxed in other parts of the story.

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Don’t mess with the blood


Vampire - Swansong: Eating food and keeping your blood supply high is more important than you think
Vampire – Swansong: Eating food and keeping your blood supply high is more important than you think

If you’d like to go into more detail on the part of the campaign we tested, we can’t help but commend Big Bad Wolf for trying to deliver. Investigation stages Fairly detailed and with a good number of styles. The demo was still in a large apartment, full of NPCs and clues to analyze them, with three central puzzles linked to the most important information and a series of files that must be recovered to complete each objective. According to the developers, it is possible to advance in the adventure also by coarsely collecting information and losing most of the secrets of that stage, but progress From the game – experience points gained, to be exact – depend on how complete each event is, and the sheer number of secrets observed with Caleb’s dead eyes made us smell a web of narrative developments to say the least, impressive. It wouldn’t be easy to keep things interesting even for those who don’t have the patience to explore every clue in Swansong, but overall the plot managed to pull us in pretty quickly.


In Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansung will never run out of blood
In Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansung will never run out of blood

A lot of work is certainly done by the care that is takensetting: It’s obvious how the developers know the world of darkness, wanting to carefully present the duality and violence that makes it so captivating to millions of people. Me too brain teaser We were surprised by the design by the team: they were certainly not terribly complex puzzles, but at least two of them were not at all trivial, and we think it appropriate to anticipate a title where it will be necessary to sharpen the intelligence to reveal every single puzzle that reaches the bottom.

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lower quality Technical sector. We’re not up for a terrible looking video game, for heaven’s sake, however, Swansong is a far cry from hyperproduction levels, and given the public’s public perception of narrative titles with mainly mediocre graphics, the high launch price could dissuade many. Overall, we think that there is potential for a beautiful interactive story in the world of darkness, but the quality of the writing and the variety of events will make or break the game, and there is definitely a lot to experience.

Our first impression with Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong was really above our initial expectations. The game undoubtedly has some structural shortcomings associated with ‘trial and error’ and some impact, however the chapter played showed a remarkable dedication to the setting the development team handled, and the narrative managed to attract us almost immediately. Soon to say if the game will really surprise, but if nothing else, it is good to see a good story dedicated to this intellectual property from time to time. All that’s left is to wait, hoping that Big Bad Wolf’s work will live up to its name.

s

  • Respects the place, it seems written by the standards
  • The chapters seem full of secrets and possibilities

doubts

  • Flawless implementation of GDR elements
  • Nothing special from a technical point of view