So, I’ve started playing “Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines” over the past few weekends. I had bought the game quite some time ago, and played it a little, getting as far as the final mission in the first area before getting completely confused over how to escape the warehouse before the bomb went off, getting frustrated, and quitting. Which was a shame, because it meant that I never did manage to meet Heather Poe and get her as a ghoul despite my having done the quest that kicks that off.
This time, I used a walkthrough to try to get past the warehouse … and still failed. But I simply walked through the warehouse over and over and over using a save from before I set off the bomb to figure out the way to get there, and so after an hour or so of doing that was able to trigger the bomb, beat the two vampires who were going to come after me, and then escape. So I finally made it to Downtown, and finally got my ghoul.
So far, what I have to say about this game is that the non-combat — although not necessarily non-violent — parts of the game are the most fun. I’m not much for stealth games, but sneaking through the areas to get what you want instead of killing people is, in general, a lot more fun than trying to take them on in combat … at least, when that’s possible and you have access to walkthroughs to explain how to get through it (and even then things can be tough). But what’s even more fun is wandering around the areas and using persuasion and seduction — and possibly even Dominate and Dementate — on people to get what you want. I’m playing a female Toreador and my seduction and persuasion skills are high enough to both pretty much get through any option that allows them, but also to seduce the street walkers for a free fill-up of blood (Anita Sarkeesian would likely not approve [grin]). The use of stealth and disciples and skills in dealing with everyone is, in fact, so much fun that I really wish the game was all about that, and so the story missions — which tend to be combat-heavy — are kinda boring to me, although I liked the haunted hotel quest — although not as much as I did the first time — but really liked Grout’s mansion, up until the point it caught on fire.
I’m running with the latest unofficial patch, but don’t think I’m running with the one that makes things really, really hard. The controls are terrible and there are some … interesting bugs, and all of this is made worse by the fact that the game is at times so dark that you can’t even see where you’re going. This only makes the combat even more difficult, and there are no difficulty levels. However, I seem to be getting better at it … except when fighting humans that are on fire. Fortunately, careful blasts of a shotgun managed to get me through that part.
So far, it’s entertaining, and I hope that I won’t hit a combat wall where I’m not tough or rich enough to get the equipment I need to win a fight to advance the game. If that doesn’t happen, then I plan to play it a second time as a Malkavian, because from what I’ve read you really should play it as a Malkavian at least once.