One of the main themes in vampire history has always been the difference in class. The fact that Dracula (first bloodsucker in literature) also had the title of “count” serves as a reminder that nobility is often built through the exploitation of workers. And that great fortunes, those obscene accumulations of money, never “die”, nor are they the product of a natural process. These same ideas, which marked the transition from the monster of legends to the immortal figure of pop culture, are fundamental to understanding the complex universe of Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong.
New videogame adaptation of the famous tacolo game in which the concept of nobility establishes rigid hierarchies among the undead. Who depend on and at the same time despise the “human cattle” they must feed on to survive. That’s why this video game adaptation goes far beyond transforming the hunger system into a mechanic, or depicting the different abilities of each clan on screen. I study Big Bad Wolf he knows it well. Vampires are nothing more than elegant and sophisticated parasites, and class (among other differences) punctually translates into violence, abuse and oppression.
Below is our review of the version Pc from Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansongedited by our Claudio Szatko. We remind you that the game, published by Nacon, is available exclusively on Epic Games Store come on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S And Switch. Enjoy the reading.
THREE POINTS OF VIEW
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong begins at the Elysée. Here the Prince of Boston, leader of the Camarilla clan, summoned all vampires following a red code. The highest and most dangerous level of emergency within the system. The first hours of the game focus on the discovery of the cause behind the triggering of the aforementioned red code, with related consequences.
I study Big Bad Wolf meanwhile it puts the center of attention three main characters. Not only their desires, but also their past and the bitter choices they will have to make in the face of an uncertain future. Players looking for a story-driven, scene-rich experience may find the pace of play “slow”.
However, for lovers of internal conflicts and complex interactional dynamics, the creature of the French independent studio will certainly involve. The possibility of playing different characters with different backgrounds and perspectives it will stimulate any lover of role-playing games.
Laysha’s relationship to madness, Emem’s past traumas and Galeb’s regrets will develop as they carry out (or not) the Prince’s various assignments. Precisely for this reason there will be negative endings, but not defeats. Together with bittersweet successes and mistakes that will be solved in the long run.
FROM TABLE TO SCREEN
The conversion from “tabletop role-playing game” to “role-playing video game” is of course not straightforward, and this includes pros and cons. Although Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong introduce us to three main characters done and finished, we will still be responsible for creating their card.
In this case we will have to distribute the experience points on the skills on which we will decide to bet with each of them. When controlling Laysha, Galeb or Emem you will be able to choose between four different profiles, ranging from balanced to ultra-specialized.
Of course, the vampiric nature of the characters means that they already possess very different powers and abilities. Not to mention that basically the temperament of each of them also influences their way of playing. After all, the differences between the three during gameplay will be significantand will help make the game much more varied than it first appears.
However, given the biographical differences between the three characters, it made us turn up a bit that all three start with minimal skills. Especially seen and considered that they are presented to us in a certain way. From the fact that Caleb is an elderly and respected vampire, to the fact that Leysha is particularly experienced and skilled compared to the other members of her clan.
VAMPIRES YOUR OWN WAY
In design and gameplay Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong comes very close to The Councildebut title of Big Bad Wolf. Structured in long cutscenes always linked to a specific mission, the game will allow us to explore wide scenarios. Here, between the main mission and several other secondary ones, we can use exploration in an interconnected way with dialogue.
This mainly materializes in “dialectical fights” (most of which are optional), with which we can get the favor of different characters in exchange for the right answer. As in The CouncilWhile there are several responses that require possessing special skills or using effort points to focus, these fights remain closely tied to exploration.
In fact, during this last phase the discoveries can be as decisive as the dialectical and psychological skills of our character on duty. The biggest difference between the two titles, however, is that in this case we will be dealing with a considerable amount of well-designed scenarios, which can be probed in different ways. Any door, safe, cell phone or computer that we encounter on our way can be opened / forced / violated.
This is thanks to brute force, the use of some consumable material or even logic and deduction, making use of other environmental elements. It goes without saying that over the many game scenarios we will have to deal with dozens and dozens of small puzzles, where the small decisions to be made associated with them will make each approach unique that we will decide to adopt. At the end of the different sections, the game will inform us about the successes, the failures and in general about all those alternative paths that we may have missed.
A LITTLE BACKNESS
Although the Big Bad Wolf has undoubtedly found the square in this videogame adaptation of the famous board game, it is clear that on the technical side, much more could be done. Unlike The Councilwith Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong the French studio opted for hyper-realistic models, setting aside the more exaggerated and stylized designs of the debut title.
This is perhaps one of the causes behind it quite a blatant lack of budget, which is firmly manifested in the character animations. Which, at least compared to the well-kept and richly detailed environments, are not a little disfiguring. The movements of Caleb, Laysha and Emem are anything but natural, and not infrequently their reactions never seem consistent with the intensity of the dialogues.
Close-ups and other shots end up revealing often a synchronization between speech and lip that is not exactly optimal. Overall, therefore, we are faced with a title with triple A gaming aspirations, but which at most comes to be an AA. Probably a more far-sighted and balanced artistic direction would have allowed the production to have a better aesthetic.
And consequently to have the possibility to show more the numerous role-playing virtues. If nothing else, the work done on the optimization front is very good, with a framerate that remained solid under all circumstances even with the settings set to maximum. Welcome presence of subtitles in Italian.
RECOMMENDED FOR ENTHUSIASTS
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong offers an approach to the World of Darkness franchise that will please both longtime fans and new players. Thanks to the numerous information available in a convenient and quick way from the menu, newbies will be able to learn about the cults, clans and different denominations within the relationships between vampires. With a little more effort in exploration, more experienced players will instead find a multitude of references to the original board game, to the different events explained in the fifth edition of the manual. I study Big Bad Wolf, net of some slips on the technical sector, once again manages to prove its worth. This makes the world of Vampire even more accessible, and highlights its many and complex possibilities. All thanks to the use of fascinating and charismatic characters, with whom playing is a real pleasure.