Vampire: The Masquerade Preview – Swansong

With Vampire: The Masquerade – Swan Songthe Big Bad Wolf studio offers us a story game that lives up to their previous title, Consul. This time, with the support of publisher Nacon, the developers are taking on the universe well known to fans of paper role-playing games with the help of a franchise. Vampire Masquerade. It’s also pretty popular if you count the recent Sharkmob Battle Royale or Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2which faces some difficulties.

On the occasion of the press event hosted by Nacon, we were able to attend a presentation of the game at the developer’s company and spent a few hours trying our hand at playing the game on PC.

Revival of the Telltale formula?

There was a time when there were plenty of Telltale-style narrative games. They are most easily recognized by their famous episodic format, which thankfully wears out quickly over time. the thing that did Consul in my time. If you, like us, are fed up with the genre because of a sentence that is too strong (and very similar in these codes outside the narrative), Vampire: The Masquerade – Swan Song maybe it’s the little sweetness you need to get back on track.

In any case, this is the impression he made on us after these few hours next to him. Before going into details, remember that the title takes us into a thriller where we will play three different characters: Caleb, Leisha and Enem. They each belong to one of three different clans in the RPG lore, respectively: Ventrue, Malkavian, and Toreador. We also note that the developers here are based on the 5th edition of the RPG and know their subject very well. They even thought about including a knowledge code so that newbies can get their bearings.

For example, in our game, when one of the characters reveals his true nature, a notification tells us that a new page has been opened to explain to us in more detail what is happening. With such a rich license that goes way beyond a simple vampire story, there’s more than enough material to quickly plunge us into this universe of a Boston night.

A wave of murders and suspicions of a conspiracy will force the Prince of the Camarilla (aka the Swan) to send our trio to investigate to find out exactly what is going on. Thus, we will control them, in turn, to unravel the mystery, influencing their destinies. The Big Bad Wolf promises us that our choices will have real consequences for the course of the game. It is true that the last formula is often abused, and to assure us of respect for these words, he gives us concrete facts, telling us that there will be 15 different endings for the main story, 10 for NPCs, and 6 for factions.

Rhetorical fights

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Vampire: The Masquerade – Swan Song differs from purely narrative games in the implementation of role-playing mechanics. In addition to our three heroes, we were told that each NPC has their own character sheet with their own strengths and weaknesses. During our interaction with them, it is the roll of the dice that determines the winner of the word game in the event of a tie. We appreciate these elements, which allow you to hang wagons with a paper role-playing game, and are also a very good idea in terms of game design, even if it will be necessary to judge the effectiveness of its execution as a whole. title .

Our Star Vampires apparently have their own sheet that we can fill out at our discretion (with some restrictions) at the start of the game. Therefore, we distribute points among various skills and attributes to give talents for our research. Rhetorical intimidation, security, deduction… so many abilities that allow us to solve various puzzles. Thus, you can discover important information in several ways, depending on what you choose.

In the investigation we were able to do, we were on Caleb’s side. The prince asked him to bring him a certain Jason Moore, but when he arrived on the scene, he saw a crime scene with a murder, which he had to take into his own hands to get answers. And you should know that in addition to this file, we have a talent tree that can be improved with experience accumulated over time. In this way, each main character will have their own specifics to collect valuable clues. Our male vampire has quite the bestial predispositions for playing dominance. He can resist supernatural mental and physical abilities or command others.

The combination of his skills and the information gathered during your research allows you to force witnesses to speak or unearth much deeper mysteries by turning confrontation into dialogue. In this rather idiosyncratic story-driven RPG, confrontations act as fights.. These are verbal duels with little room for error, especially if you haven’t dug deep enough. We were even treated to a few action sequences at the end of the game, which was one of the surprises of this preview.

Challenge research

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This union between the role-playing game and the genre of storytelling, above all, gives movement to progress. We are not only here to contemplate the dialogue between several characters before the denouement. Vampire: The Masquerade – Swan Song additionally offers quite a pleasant exploratory aspect that requires reflection and careful study of the environment. Before we started we were advised to take notes and that didn’t stop us. It seems insignificant, but for us it is in any case a very good sign.

As a supernatural being, Caleb has a sort of sixth sense that can detect certain objects that have had supernatural contact. Despite the proposed challenge, we still fear that this ability (obviously working differently depending on the protagonists) is too practical for the player.

Other things we haven’t been able to fully measure are related to power consumption. On the top left of the screen, we have a blue bar that decreases depending on the skills used, while a purple bar (representing hunger) increases as we use vampire powers.

The bloodlust can be quenched by gnawing on a few NPCs in the “safe zones” you previously discovered. This triggers a sequence in which the trigger must be pulled to eat, but if the finger is a little heavy or too greedy, the victim’s death is inevitable. This hunger, and how you deal with it, is also one of the ingredients that could have major implications for the fate of the three vampires.

The offer from the French studio is substantial enough to make us curious and want to know more, on the other hand. unfortunately we have to point out the obvious delay in terms of graphics. Some animations or even facial expressions give away weaknesses at this level. On the other hand, the English dub is quite convincing and the music creates a calm enough atmosphere for us to think calmly.

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