Last year, I invited a couple of friends down to my apartment to play Vampire the Masquerade. Vampire the Masquerade is a roleplaying game released by White Wolf where players create their vampires and roam around a dark city. Vampire the Masquerade is one of my favorite role playing games as I love the dark aesthetic of the game. I found on Steam a variety of different Vampire the Masquerade video games and decided to try it on a whim. Overall, it’s a gritty gaming experience, although I was left wanting more.
Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York tells the story of Julia who’s a reporter in NYC. The story she’s writing falls through and she’s swiftly fired from her job. On the subway home, she’s approached by a vampire where she’s “embraced” which is Vampire the Masquerade terminology for being turned into a vampire. As Julia gets comfortable with vampire society, she’s sent to investigate a murder of an older, more senior member of their clan. As she starts interviewing other vampires, she realizes the murder is only the beginning of a sinister plot set to unfold.
I loved the art in Shadows of New York, it was easily the highlight of playing this game. I felt each scene Julia was in had darker tones mixed with a dark purple which reminds me of the cover of the Vampire the Masquerade rulebook. The above screenshot is right when Julia was Embraced. She looks down at New York with sudden darkness she never had access to before. I also liked how each vampire had its style. Julia had a gothic look to her while Qadir, the sheriff of the region, was well dressed. Each vampire in the game had these beautiful golden eyes that felt unnatural to look at. Everything artistic about the game was aesthetically pleasing to look at.
Shadows of New York is described on Steam as a “visual novel” which is fitting to the game. There isn’t much interaction I had as the player, it was a lot of listening to the dialogue and choosing actions when prompted. There were times I felt slightly bored since there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for me to choose what Julia said at what times. The game prided itself on being able to sway the outcome of the story, however, there were only five “major” choices for Julia. I wish there was more. I don’t feel duped as this was a “visual novel” so it’s more viewing the story versus participating in the game, but I wish I was able to choose more outcomes in the game.
Besides the interaction piece, the game felt too short. According to Steam, I only played this game for five hours. There isn’t anything I need to replay since I finished the game twice and I have unlocked all the achievements. I do think it was worth it to replay this game twice to see both endings. Five hours for two full playthroughs of the game means each time I played a full game it was about two and a half hours apiece. The game itself is priced at $12.99 which I would say is fair for what I got. I wonder if DLC will get released for this because I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York was an enjoyable game, however, I wish there was more to the game. I want a game released similar to Shadows of New York, but make it more investigative. Let me as the player examine crime scenes and pick which mortal I can feed on. Let me customize my vampire, pick my faction, and change the appearance of my vampire. Once that game is released, I will be a happy, vampire camper.