While the visuals and voice acting didn’t sell me, there was plenty else to sink my fangs into. Choices. So many different, split second choices that made me feel that what I did mattered. A story that kept me searching out clues to find what was really afoot, and great RPG elements too. I was a bit unsure how a game would handle three main characters, and while they’re all kinda jerks in their own ways, they’re my jerks. I was able to overlook any issues I had without having to sacrifice much to do so.
With its intricate and well-realized setting, engaging story, compelling characters, and well-implemented RPG mechanics, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a truly groundbreaking game that no fan of narrative-driven games should pass on. Some aspects could and should have been better, such as facial animations, but there is no denying that Big Bad Wolf has done a terrific job creating what is not only one of the best Vampire: The Masquerade games, but also one of the best narrative-driven games seen in recent years.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a fantastic, yet very messy game. It lacks some desperately needed polish and refining, but the core is so fun and engaging you can put the problems to the side for a time. They’ll rear their head pretty frequently, but pushing past them is well worth the rewards.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Swansong can be a compelling experience, especially for those who are already familiar with the World of Darkness. Its RPG mechanics lend depth to an otherwise standard narrative adventure, as long as you can grasp their meaning. But wonky gameplay balance and even wonkier facial animations, not to mention some of the more overwritten and under-earned emotional beats, can make falling in love with its vampires harder to swallow than a mouthful of blood.
Swansong is this year’s Forgotten City, a distinct narrative adventure that soars from the chances it takes. Player choice is front and center, and it’s nice to see these decisions turn into little games that carry significant narrative weight. Rarely have I played a game where I wanted to restart a scenario to undo bad decisions as I have here. Swansong makes you pay for your missteps and should be an excellent game for watercooler discussions with others who have played it.
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