Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 can successfully come back from the dead and turn me if it delivers 3 key things

Like some bestial Nosferatu who’s gone too long without drinking blood and, after gorging on lesser meals like sewer rats and found them wanting, has started to gnaw his own arm off, I’m absolutely dying for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (opens in new tab) to return from the dead.

I feel a bit like the lunatic Renfield in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, driven mad by his undead master but abandoned by him for years. After all, it’s going on four years since we got that 28-minute gameplay video trailer (you can watch it below) for Bloodlines 2, and two years since the game’s original developer, Hardsuit Labs, was removed from the project and staff members laid off (opens in new tab).

Since then, while we have got confirmation (opens in new tab) that work on Bloodlines 2 has continued, and that we could even see the game release in 2023 (opens in new tab), we still don’t know when the game will actually launch or who is now developing it. Mystery surrounds the vampire RPG at every turn, and the elongated wait for it has really started to drag for me now, as I am sure it has for many other gamers.

When I originally watched this 28-minute Bloodlines 2 gameplay walkthrough I got really excited as, while the game was clearly in an early stage, it looked like it could genuinely deliver the great vampire RPG I was waiting for. It’s worth watching or rewatching now to see how the game was shaping up.

I played the original, janky-as-fuck Bloodlines (opens in new tab) back in the early 2000s and, ever since then, I’ve been a convert to the series’ fictional world, which is properly dark and complex, but laced with twisted humour. However, the sequel’s troubled development and radio silence for years have eroded my faith that it won’t be a really middling experience.

Despite this, I feel there’s still hope for Bloodlines 2 and I’ll still easily hand over my money when the game releases if it can deliver three key things.

Character clans that genuinely play differently, with unique role-play elements

My biggest fear with Bloodlines 2 is that, with its wide variety of clans to play as, including Thinblood, Brujah, Tremere, Toreador, Ventrue and Malkavian, each will play, more or less, identically thanks to its troubled development.

In the original Bloodlines only a couple of clans really stood out in terms of unique abilities, such as the blood magic-wielding Tremere or the seemingly axed Nosferatu, with the rest mainly coming down to identical melee or ranged combat with a few similar-looking buff powers triggered.

Instead, I want a game where, if I play a Brujah, then I’m a melee master with unique combat abilities and vampiric buffs. If I’m an imperious aristocratic Ventrue, then I want to excel at debuffing enemies with my commanding presence. There will almost certainly be guns in the game, so maybe it makes sense as a well-heeled Ventrue that I’d also lean into ranged combat.

Critically, though, these character class differences need to extend outside of combat, so if I’m a super attractive and charismatic Toreador, then I need to be able to express that in gameplay with unique options, and not just resort to hitting or shooting my way to victory 95% of the time.

Vampire faction mechanics that are more than skin deep

On top of the character classes, there are various factions within the world of Bloodlines 2, which at least three years ago were confirmed as in the game. These include The Pioneers, The Camarilla, The Baron, The Newcomers and The Unseen. We also got told back then that the player character would interact with these factions and, at times, have choice in terms of who they side with. These choices would lead to consequences, with different factions then behaving differently to the player in a living world.

Now, this is all great, but I’ve heard this exact pitch before, especially in a very recent open-world RPG that then didn’t deliver: Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab). Did factions within Cyberpunk 2077 exist? Absolutely. Did they have basically any effect on the world or its systems that wasn’t skin-deep or restrictive in scope? No, not at all. I never for one second worried about making any decision that would rub a specific faction up the wrong way in Cyberpunk 2077, so I hope Bloodlines 2 can make the game world’s factions, and their interactions with the player, more meaningful and long-lasting.

For example, I’d love it if in making a decision on an early Bloodlines 2 mission, I set in motion a chain of events that kept returning in relevance throughout the game. So, if I offended a certain faction that would in turn cause them to do something that leads to another mission for a different faction, which in turn causes me to meet a character that, in this playthrough, has an involvement in late-game story. That’s a really complicated example, but even if a bit of this is delivered with a sustained in-game faction logic that is based on what I choose to do, then I’d be happy.

Missions that can be completed in a variety of ways, with minimal railroading

As any gamer who has played the original Bloodlines will attest to, the back half of the game (and specifically the final third) is just one long railroaded, boring, unoriginal combat slog. It’s incredibly frustrating and, until the game was patched and updated years later to re-address the balance in this part of the game, it was borderline game-breaking for many character builds, unless you were a master of melee or ranged combat. After the more role-playing focussed, choice and ability-dependent opening to the game, it was a massive comedown.

What Bloodlines 2 needs, then, is more of a Deus Ex: Human Revolution (opens in new tab) / Dishonored (opens in new tab) approach to completing its mission. If I’ve spent 20 hours building and playing a seductive Toreador with a silver tongue, I want the option to be able to use that ability to, say, sweet talk a boss into making a deal with me that gets me what I need. Or, if I’m a stealthy, hide in the shadows type, then I need options to avoid direct confrontation and complete my mission.

Basically, I think what all three of these things I’ve listed here lean into is giving me a great toolset to roleplay as a blood-drinking undead vampire. No game to date has done a great job of that, so if Bloodlines 2 can return and deliver, then I’ll fall into darkness once more.

Source: PC Gamer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DON’T MISS OUT!
Subscribe To Newsletter
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
close-link