During the years of teenage youth, I loved vampires. I watched anime (hello, Hunter D and Hellsing), films that have generously treated us not only Hollywood, but also some Chinese studios and, of course, played games about bloodsuckers.
- A swan song
- Development of characters and role -playing part
- Technical part
- for the results
At the end of the nineties of the last millennium, I met a series of Legacy of Kain, playing an adventure game about the poor fellow Razeel Soul Reaver in a delightful by those standards. And in the early 2000s, I came across a game with no less long name-Vampire: The Masquarade-Redemption. Then I still had no idea what this postscript about the “masquerade” means. The game turned out to be excellent, it was passed a couple of times with particular care. Later, my comrade introduced me to the course of business, telling me about the desktop role -playing game, “World of Darkness”, Kamaril and Kaina. Over the years, interest in bloodsuckers has subsided greatly. Still, vampire themes are the lot of adolescents and youth.
Frankly, the developers of the video game also do not really complain this topic. Yes, the connoisseurs of role -playing games will immediately remember the delightful Vampire: The Masquarade – Bloodlines from Troika Games (by irony of fate that released only three games). True, on the release of Bloodlines was with a fatal bug that did not allow it to complete it, but the game community, as it regularly happens, took the matter into its own hands and quickly wrote a patch. Moreover, even after the studio closed, the fans did not abandon the game, contacted the developers, received a lot of valuable data from them and continued independent support, releasing patches and doing optimization. As you understand, you can’t buy such love for money, so if you missed VTM-Bloodlines for some reason (for some reason), be sure to download and play.
But can you recall at least another significant game about vampires from the moment the “blood line” is released? I try, but I can’t. Blood Rayne, perhaps, but this is such a quality equal -person, selling himself only due to the sexuality of the main character. A series of “casteling”, ancient, like Cain himself, for a long time was a pattern of consolers, and the first game laid the foundations in a whole genre. But there are no fresh significant franchise products. In 2019, the Vampire visual short story was published on a PC (later on consoles): The Masquarade – Coteries of New York, but in view of the nicheness of the genre, the game passed by the mass gamer, although it received positive reviews.
What was my surprise when in May 2022 we received three games about vampires at once, two of which relate to the Vampire: The Masquarade setting. The first, Bloodhunt, is the royal battle, the second, V Ringing is cooperative Zhizhach, and the third, Swanson, turned out to be a plot detective quest with a fair portion of RPG. Here we will talk about her now in more detail.
A swan song
Welcome to Boston, Massachusetts, the oldest city in the United States! From the first frames we are briefly introduced to the course of business. Vampires have been living among people for thousands of years. In order not to be open and destroyed, the bloodsuckers began to observe a masquerade – this is the name of a complex of protective measures and rules, which allows us to hide the presence of children of the night from mortals. But terrible happened – the “red” code is declared, which means a threat to all Kamarilla vampires without exception. “Kamarilla” is an organization that includes several vampire clans. She obeys the prince – the main in the city. The ruler works for the benefit of the organization and with all his might seeks to protect relatives. A masquerade was created for this purpose.
But something clearly went not according to the plans. During a party in honor of the prisoner union between Kamarilia and the warlocks, special services raid on the premises, many vampires died. Obviously, the masquerade was broken, as the attackers knew who they would fight against.
You play in turn for three characters. Galeb Basori, the oldest vampire in Boston, representative of the Ventra clan. These include aristocrats and rich; Very often, Ventra is occupied by leading posts in Kamarilia. Also, the current prince – Heisel Iversen (girl) – from this clan. Galeb, the son of the overthrown Sultan, received formation (as vampires call the transformation of their own kind) in 1745. He is afraid and respected by relatives in the city. Basori even served the executioner with the previous prince, performing all the dirty work related to the elimination of relatives and mortals.
Emem Louis, a black vampire from the Toreador clan, the most human vampires of the “Kamarilla”. Toreadors love art and everything beautiful, they do not want to let go of human emotions and feelings, often allowing them to take the upper hand. Emem received formation in 1929. Due to the conflict with the previous Prince Quentin King, she almost received “final death”, but more or less did. The new head was her old familiar Heisel, which allowed Emem to return to the court.
Leisha is from the Malkavian clan, like the previous Prince of Boston King. It has a rare and extremely important gift of foresight, for which it is very appreciated by the new leader of Kamarila. Other clans are suspicious of the Malcavans, because no one knows in advance what madnesses are being created in their heads. For example, Leisha has a daughter that she sees only, and the vampire-psychotherapist is trying to convince the girl that the Holzi (that’s the name of the daughter) is the fruit of her imagination. Malcavianka is the youngest of the trinity of playable characters, she received formation in 1939.
The prince assigns a specific role to each hero, sending to tasks. Since Emem lived in the suburbs for many years, she is familiar with the anarchs – vampires who do not recognize the power of the “camarilla”. Thanks to the ability to mimic, to cope with the implementation tasks, and the galbe is almost universal, but prefers to crush authority, suppressing the will of the interlocutors. The plot of the game is divided into scenes, each of which is divided into three separate missions.
Since the game is declared in the genre of a narrative detective quest, do not expect action from it. That is, in general. The whole game you will read, speak, also read, sometimes use talents and vampire disciplines to achieve the desired result. Swansong is replete with a huge number of terms that will instantly confuse any unprepared gamer. Fortunately, the developers worked hard to collect all the information to the code. But we must understand that these are large volumes of text that is very desirable to read, and carefully, to understand what is happening around.
Development of characters and role -playing part
But in this aspect, I really want to criticize the developers. Yes, they did a tremendous work on studying the Vampire rules: The Masquarade and the adaptation of the fifth edition (the latest) under the video game. But I cannot forgive them for an openly illogical blunder. It concerns the fundamental principle of the “world of darkness” – the older the vampire, the more powerful it is. Even the youngest of the Trinity, Leish, is almost a hundred years old. During this time, vampires receive a huge amount of knowledge and skills. Galebu so soon the 400 years old will be hit! And we get from the very beginning of the empty inequal, which must be developed from scratch. This is frank nonsense. And no plot-scenario ideas can explain this. When I turned the business, he cannot answer the question about finances because I did not pump him with insight or wisdom, there is a desire to slam myself with a palm on the forehead.
But we have what we have, and we have to accept it “as is”. At the beginning of the game, you will be offered a choice of three development archetypes and the ability to scatter experience points yourself. And I highly recommend using the tips by choosing a finished layout if you do not understand anything in VTM. Moreover, even if you understand! Often, the logic of scriptwriters-aborrants is perplexed. If after an hour and a half of a very protracted introduction it is found that the hero received the wrong talents or ignored an important discipline, then you are doomed to constant failures of missions, an increase in the level of suspicion and to the final collapse.
The characters have three characteristics and eight skills, and everyone has the same. The largest branch of skill is “dialogue”, which is unequivocally made to understand what you will do during the game. Disciplines – unique clans talents – differ. You will use them for pressure on the interlocutors, penetration into closed places and the like. There is also a passive talent branch that are pumped dependent on the frequency of use of skills.
In addition, sometimes in the heroes certain character traits will appear, the receipt of which depends on various situations, whether it is a successful or unsuccessful dialogue or a lost confrontation. Confrontation is a controversial situation during a conversation, from which it is desirable to come out of the winner.
At the end of each scene, the game will show the result, alternative solutions and the number of failures. Based on this statistics, the hero is awarded the experience of experience that you use for development.
A supply of blood is spent on any active action related to disciplines. If it is not periodically replenished, then the character will fall into hunger. Do not worry, the game will not show you a bloody bath when the vampire rushes at the closest mortal in frantic rage. He just cannot use disciplines.
The second scale is the will. You will use it in dialogs when you need to convince the interlocutor of your rightness, when hacking computers, doors and in similar situations. NPC also has a willpower and some knowledge, so do not be surprised if you suddenly find yourself as a fool against his background.
From myself, I can give one advice, because of which especially conservative gamers can be rightly indignant. Hold the game of experience at the very beginning. You will not lose anything in this case, but you will immediately receive positive emotions from the development of history. Yes, Swanson is designed for multiple reiglable, but the game has quite important plot forces in the game, so that even with the initially pumped by the hero, not to lose interest in repeated passage. Understand the main thing, this game is not about action at all, absolutely. This is an interactive detective, like Detroit: Become Human, only with a much smaller budget.
If my sadness is subjective to nothing and do not know ancient vampires, then the problem of the technical part is obvious. It was the same as the scriptwriters and artists tried, the coders and designers of models did not try. Swanson was a very raw game. Facial animations of characters are able to drive you into homeric laughter (I had such a case on Stream).
Character models and their animation are made at a very low level in modern criteria. Watching how in a kat-scene Emem walks the gazeska instead of sexually wagging a delicious fifth point, physically pains. Constantly falling textures on heroes, disappearing NPC and frank technical bugs, because of which you will restart the game several times, upset.
for the results
I don’t want to scold Swansong much. Yes, this is a very niche game. It will appeal to a very limited circle of gamers who loves leisurely games, read and think a lot. Yes, it was not done by the AAA Studio for many, many millions. The game has obvious technical problems that cannot be hidden – only to correct.
But as an interactive story in the gloomy setting of the “world of darkness”, the game turned out to be very good. The variability of events is amazing. When I replayed some scenarios, each time I found something new, and it was a very important find! The puzzles in the game are complex, we searched for answers with a whole chat on stream and found, I myself would spend much more time on their solution.
The heroes turned out to be absolutely dissimilar. It can be seen that the scriptwriters ate the dog on Laura VTM (with the exception of my nit -picking earlier), and they are well versed in the issue. No gag, all according to paper canons. Yes, the table version of the game is much deeper and more diverse, but here I had to compromise. The main thing is that the developers from Big Bad Wolf managed to give gamers an interesting and exciting adventure without teenage snot with sugar and love torment.
I put a “swan song” 7 out of 10 points. I cannot ignore the technical and graphic problems of the game, but otherwise you will be satisfied.
- The world of “Masquerade” is excellent.
- Interesting story.
- The chic characters of the heroes.
- Interesting NPC.
- Level design.
Did not like:
- Problems in the technical part.
- Initially weak heroes.