I have many games in my Steam library that I have never played, not even once. Occasionally I go through these games and find the real gems I missed out on. This game in particular, has been there for almost a year. I think I had played it for less than thirty minutes when I first got it, and was distracted by other games. I decided to give this game a whirl, and I realized something: I have missed out on a real gem.
Bloodlines is based on the paper-and-pencil RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade. The puts the player as a vampire in modern (2004) Los Angeles. There are different clans of vampire, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. These clans however, make every way you play the game completely different. I am still currently playing the game, but on my first character, I chose Nosferatu as my clan. Nosferatu are an extremely ugly looking vampire, and humans just scream and run away at the sight of them. In this game, you have to uphold something called “The Masquerade”, where you cannot perform supernatural acts in front of humans. Being a Nosferatu, letting most humans see you is a Masquerade violation in itself. If the player receives five Masquerade violations, their games is over. It makes it very interesting, as for most of my quests, I have to take the stealth option. Luckily the Nosferatu have a power that allows them to be completely invisible.
The writing and quests are also something that really sell this game. The dialogue is not the typical video game cheesiness I am used to. I don’t want to spoil any quests here, but some of the endings and character development are really crazy. The combat, unfortunately is nothing to write home about it. Most of it consists of mindless clicking, and the guns generally aren’t worth using, since vampires can stand up to all but shotguns pretty well.
The unfortunate reality though, is that Troika games went out of business shortly after this game was released. Much of the game ended up being rushed during production, and in some places it shows quite clearly. There are numerous bugs in the game, and it even requires an unofficial patch to fix a lot of them and make the game run at all on most modern computers. Some sections seem like they were thrown together quickly, namely the ones that involve you having no choice but to fight through hordes of enemies, despite playing a non-player character. The boss fights have this same problem too. For instance there was one fight that you enter a giant room, and suddenly the boss appears and talks to you. You can try to go invisible and sneak in the room, but it interrupts your invisibility for the speech from the boss. This fight took me many tries to get out of, and many fans of the game say it’s best to just cheat on fights like this, because sometimes they are unwinnable as some clans.
Bloodlines is a flawed gem of a game. I would have loved to see how more time would have improved the game, but still the end result was incredible. This game does not even require that great of a computer to run either, so if you have Steam, I highly recommend giving this game a shot. The fanbase for the game is thriving too, with unofficial patches as well as some nice mods out there.