"When I loaded up Vampires: Bloodlines, I felt that I was going to be disappointed. Troika Games was on the verge of folding, reviews talked about the bugginess of the game, and I was afraid it was going to be a Diablo type affair like the first Vampire: Redemption. I have to say that I was wrong on all aspects and was pleseantly surprised by all that this game does right. "
When I loaded up Vampires: Bloodlines, I felt that I was going to be disappointed. Troika Games was on the verge of folding, reviews talked about the bugginess of the game, and I was afraid it was going to be a Diablo type affair like the first Vampire: Redemption. I have to say that I was wrong on all aspects and was pleseantly surprised by all that this game does right.
The story is a separate entity from the first game and you need not to play it to get into this game. The game starts with you picking a clan, stats and a name. And then you are introduced via some cut scenes into the Vampire world. From there you are tasked on several main missions that advance the plot and many, many more side quests for your character to complete.
One of the things that I noticed right off the bat wtih these missions is the variety of them. One mission requires you to take web cams and set them up in a house without being detected by the occupants in the building. Another takes you into a hotel that is haunted with a ghost and you need to free her from her bond to the hotel. The missions are well thought out and barring a few bugs here and there (now fixed with several official and non-official patches) are a blast to play through.
Your character over time builds up via experience points that you gain by completing each quest. Also, there are several ways to finish some of the quests and by using some ingenius thinking, can get extra experience points by trying something a bit more adventurous. Points are can be alloted manually or by an auto allotment. I tried the auto allotment system for a little while, but I felt it was putting into skills that I did not feel were needed at that time in the game. You may want to experiment to feel which way is better for you.
All the graphics in the game are fantastic. They are powered by the amazing Half Life 2 Source engine which provides for some very realistic details in regards to the character models and environments. The characters facial animations are great and really bring life to the characters. The environments are also well done and feel different from each other. I ran them at 1280x1024 at 32bit color and had no hiccups on my system (AMD64 3000+/Geforce6800GT/1GB RAM), but the engine is pretty scalable for lower end systems.
Sounds are also well done with the voice overs being really good. I am not sure if there was any major talent hired to do the voice overs, but I have to say that I was highly impressed with all the voices in the game. Weapons had some fulfilling sounds and the ambient noise of the levels was quite nice. Of note is the great licensed tracks that are used in the game. They are available in an MP3 format on the first CD, a nice bonus to be sure.
There are some bugs in the game if you do not have it patched and I ran across one bug that had not been fixed yet and is well documented that I ended up having to use a clip cheat to get past. That is a bit unexcusable, and I did ding the gameplay a bit because of it. Also, load times are a bear and there are some clipping issues. Subject matter could be an issue to some due to some harsh language and strong sexual overtones at times.
The best compliment I can give this game is that there were some really good spook me out of my seat moments that had me playing with the lights on just because it had freaked me out good. I can't say more about the immersiveness than that. So I would highly recommend this game to all players out there. I would say patch it before you play so you will have the best experience possible.
Community review by mclazyj (August 27, 2006)
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