Preview of Vampire The Masquerade Swansong: Fang Story RPG

Preview Vampire The Masquerade Swansong: A story-driven RPG with fangs

Since its announcement in May 2019, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong has been particularly cautious. Fans of the World of Darkness universe will be happy to know that the story-driven RPG developed by Big Bad Wolf and published by Nacon is finally out of its silence. Vampire creatures sharpen their fangs before coming into the light on May 19, 2022.

Preview Conditions

During an event hosted by Nacon in Paris, SP was able to give a short preview of the story-driven role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, followed by a two-hour PC game session.

Vampire Investigation

After The Council and its historical 18th century England, the Big Bad Wolf sets his sights on the lore of the World of Darkness, more specifically the lore of the paper-based RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. The Parisian studios invite you to follow the intersecting stories of three creatures of the night as they unfold in the modern city of Boston. The vampire community is in turmoil following a horrific incident that threatens to expose the existence of the Camarilla, an organized community of vampires led by Hazel Iversen, also known as the Swan…the new princess of Boston.

As Galeb, Leisha and Emem, you investigate to separate the truth from the lies and thereby lift the veil on the mystery surrounding the tragic events that threaten the vampire sect. The game sequence that we were able to study does not allow us to judge the staging of Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong on the spot, the latter focusing mainly on gameplay. However, it is necessary to cede to the pen of screenwriters some dexterity of writing. This essential point, not to say vital, in this type of production lives up to our expectations. What’s more, the video game respects the lore of the paper-based RPG, more specifically the fifth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, and draws inspiration from it to enrich its story… which should please fans.

The Nacon game, developed on the Unreal Engine 4, has no major issues that could affect the gameplay. Big Bad Wolf Studios is releasing a technically sound copy (confirmation to be confirmed after game release). However, the very (too) general art direction struggles to impress. Artists, so to speak, take little risks and provide the main thing from a purely aesthetic point of view. Vampire: The Masquerade: Swansong is visually and technically effective, if not surprising.

Story RPG

As far as gameplay itself goes, Big Bad Wolf takes the council-tested and approved formula and transforms it to adhere to the prerogatives of the World of Darkness vampire universe. This is a very narrative adventure game with a whole role-playing dimension grafted onto it. Vampire: The Masquerade: Swansong bills itself as a narrative RPG. The title published by Nacon is based on three main pillars: the story, the notion of choice that stems from it, and the character sheets taken from traditional RPGs.

Three protagonists, each belonging to a different clan (Ventrue, Malkavian or Toreador), conduct their investigations, talk to different characters, explore closed environments and complete tasks according to a specific agenda. Swansong in many ways remains a “linear” adventure with multiple endings that develops according to a specific agenda and decisions made by the players. Big Bad Wolf promises no less than fifteen different epilogues for the main characters, ten for the secondary characters, and six for the clans… all of which can be combined in different ways to make a total that’s hard to count in its current form.

Vampire The Masquerade Swansong: A story-driven RPG with fangs

The role-playing component is inextricably linked with the adventure invented by the Parisian studios. This results in three character sheets, one for each main character, with a set of skills to unlock and stats to upgrade to make progress easier. This choice directly affects the survey and the way the goals are achieved. Whether it’s diplomacy or a certain amount of persuasiveness during verbal confrontations, the approach in question depends on choices made in the past and how your characters develop with experience.

Certain restrictions limit the use of the skills and disciplines that vampires have mastered. Willpower and hunger make these nocturnal creatures use their powers and skills sparingly. You can feast on a person to satisfy an urgent need for blood, or use certain items to restore all your funds. Be careful not to leave any traces, otherwise you will suffer the consequences later. Indeed, too high a hunger bar can have consequences for the story and thus change the fate of the three vampires you play.

Our impressions

Big Bad Wolf Studios is taking the proven narrative RPG formula and integrating it into a universe that is perfect for the Vampire: The Masquerade genre. Swansong relies on compelling storytelling and multiple choices, conscious or not, to go beyond a simple interactive adventure. If the project lasts over time, the bet may well turn out to be successful.

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March 28, 2022, 02:00:02 PM

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