I have talked quite a bit about Dungeons & Dragons as I’m in a long-term campaign now, but one of my other favorite roleplaying games is Vampire the Masquerade. I first played Vampire the Masquerade at Gen Con and I was immediately intrigued. While browsing through Steam, I found these Vampire the Masquerade visual novel games. I played Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York back in 2021 without realizing that there was a game that took place before Shadows of New York. I carved out time to play Coteries of New York and I loved how this game ties into Shadows of New York.
I noticed that in Vampire the Masquerade Coteries of New York, I was able to choose my clan. The three options were: Brujah, Ventrue, and Toreador. Each clan has different personality characteristics. I opted for Ventrue to start even though I usually favor the Toreador. In most of my campaigns, I pick the Toreador clan for my character. Since there are different clan options, the game has a different start. For Ventrue, my character talks about her corporate life and how it’s a grind. She’s asked to go to a work meeting at a fancy bar. She awakes with no memory of the meeting and with a burning hunger. After feeding on a waiter, she’s rescued by Q’adir al-Asmai, a sheriff who resides in New York. After being brought in front of a trial, she’s taken under the wing of Sophie Langley, a prominent figure, who wants to teach our character how to act and behave in vampire society.
First of all, I felt that there is a lot more replayability in this game versus Shadows of New York. There are numerous side quests to interact with and the game is set up where there isn’t enough time to meet everyone while the main story unfolds. There are still several side characters who I wasn’t able to interact as much with. The side quests vary such as investigating a serial killer to confronting a reporter who’s gathering intel on Sophie. I do plan on playing through the game at least two more times with the other clans. There might not be that much of a difference in the story, but I want to unlock the steam achievements.
With Coteries of New York coming before Shadows of New York, this game sets up the next game perfectly. I wish I played them in order because I do think it would have been much more satisfying. I do recommend playing the games in chronological order as it interweaves the games together and you see the same side characters pop up in both games.
As always, Coteries of New York is visually stunning. The way worldbuilding is explained in the Vampire the Masquerade rules, your character sees the world through a darker lens. The games match that tone. Each scene is darker and the shapes in the background will move. For example, I was in a parking garage, and out of the corner of my eye, I would see a shadow move through a window. It’s unsettling.
I loved playing through Coteries of New York. I think I liked this game more than Shadows of New York, but I still liked playing through them both. Both games are developed by Draw Distance and I hope the studio would consider making more Vampire games.