Vampire: The Masquerade Swansong is the newest installment to the Vampire: The Masquerade franchise and the latest by Big Bad Wolf Studio, the talented people behind The Council, which like this, has managed to be entertaining with interesting characters, story, and gameplay till the end.
This game was highly entertaining with its gameplay, with each level having its own well thought about puzzles, and character interactions, with Galeb, Emem, and Leysha having different skills to solve them.
The levels are excellent; each level has many secrets to discover that always have a part in how your playthrough ends; for example, every character interaction has a hint to a current objective or the main plot, with it being spread throughout Galeb’s, Emem’s, and Leysha’s playthroughs. There are many interesting puzzles that are very challenging to solve, but there are always clues to each of them in different rooms, and never is a single room redundant; there’s always an interaction with useful info or an item that might help you throughout the game; it just makes the entire level more memorable as you’re always going back to another room to check something or pick something up after discovering that you’re missing something, which happens a lot.
The interactions and dialogue in this game are excellent; just like with its predecessor, The Council, every character has skills to help them in dialogue, be it a skill to dominate the person you’re speaking with or influencing their emotions to make the next skill check easier to pass and successfully get an answer from them, which always gets a different set of dialogue. The game’s interactions are always fun to do as you cannot just skip through them in most parts as speaking with a character can sometimes get you an item you need like a keycard or skipping a section in the level entirely. There are as needing points to be able to choose certain skill checks for various different skills like Persuasion and Psychology; it runs out a lot of the time, but there are always items to replenish them, but they still run out even with using them, so it’s pretty scarce. The Hunger is also very interesting; in specific situations, when shown, you can use one of your skills to easily defeat an opponent in a skill check as long as your level on the skill is higher than the opponent, but it still takes hunger points to use, which is not a big issue as in most missions there’s always enough blood to perform nearly all actions with it.
The exploration is my favorite part of the game, thanks to each character’s special vampiric abilities, like going completely invisible with no annoying timer, transforming into different characters after getting enough clues about them, or using your vampiric vision to tell a human from a vampire. There is a massive amount of secrets that are put in each level that it is impossible to find all of them with the number of points at your disposal, but with the vampire abilities, it very much is possible to find everything in a level, as long as you have specific upgrades for each skill, as some interactions would need an upgrade for the Auspex vision as an example. There is a lot of fun to be had in the exploration alone as the levels are incredibly detailed, so far, I have put in 20 hours, and I am sure I have missed many things throughout my playthrough that I will be sure to go back on. The choices really do drastically affect your playthrough, as even failing a single thing in a mission will have significant consequences later on, like in the gameplay footage showing one of Galeb’s missions, where he was unable to rescue his ally, which has a considerable consequence leading to the end, this is just one the examples, as the mission could have gone differently and the ally being rescued, which would only be possible if you had checked some things beforehand in the exploration of the level.
The story is truly excellent; each character felt real with their own motivations, weaknesses, real issues, and emotions, even though this is a game about vampires living in their own secret high vampire society, which is one of the main reasons I was genuinely invested in the game and couldn’t stop playing to know what happens next. My playthrough is only one of many branching storylines that could happen if I had failed or succeeded in many of my actions in the game, making the game very replayable.
This is an excellent game; although I found some of the animations to be a little rough, but they can be easily overlooked. The audio sometimes can be completely mute in some missions, but that also can be overlooked, overall this is a very enjoyable game that is worth your time if you want a game that introduces you to the Vampire: The Masquerade world, or a game with an engaging story with characters that truly feel real, which is why I’m giving this game an 8/10, I am excited to see Big Bad Wolf’s next game and the next installment in the Vampire: The Masquerade franchise.