REVIEW: Vampire: The Masquerade Blood Hunt

Vampire: The Masquerade is near and dear to my heart due to the fact I started playing it when I was fourteen and have not really stopped since. It is a social game and one that heavily relies on player customization and gritty dark Gothic Punk atmosphere.

Vampire The Masquerade Blood HuntBlood Hunt is not one of those games and barely has any plot whatsoever (sort of-see below). It is a battle royale game where you pick a vampire archetype, go out into the streets, and fight other players in an increasingly smaller ring until only one of them remains. Sometimes, you can fight computer-controlled enemies as well.

There actually is a plot to the game that was being steadily updated by the developers until recently, but it is something that is incredibly hard to engage with. Prince Markus of Prague’s undead are hosting a peace conference between Anarchs and Camarilla agents before the Second Inquisition attacked as well as the attempts by the Brujah Sheriff to take over the city. However, finding out these details is very hard since the characters aren’t voiced and there’s no Codex for describing who is what or what they’re up to.

The city of Prague is well-realized, and the Elysium has a lot of character to it despite its small size. It looks like a Triple A game, and you can practically smell the environment. There’s a lot of verticality to the setting as well as environmental storytelling. Prague is presently under a lockdown by the Second Inquisition (called “The Entity” for some reason) and there’s little bases spread throughout the map. I think they did a fantastic job on the graphics and give them a lot of credit for capturing the “look” of what I think a Vampire: The Masquerade game should appear like.

I also really enjoy the use of verticality in the game with the fact that all the vampires can climb the buildings around the location. If you’re losing a fight against a fellow vampire, then it’s entirely possible to just leap over the side and fall forty feet to get away. There’s ladders on the side of buildings that aren’t meant for the undead but help immersion. I also like the Blood Hunt rules where you suddenly become a huge target for other players if you feed on a mortal with witnesses or kill an ordinary human for no reason (or more likely mistake them for a fellow vampire). Solo players get two lives, which is a great innovative idea to encourage players.

At heart, the game is a battle royal, though. The rules are simple, thirty players or however many players and some bot enemies, jump into the fight only to hash it out. There’s a magical red circle that gradually tightens around the player characters before eventually leaving only one victor. You find weapons in the area, you feed on bystanders, and you try to survive until the end. You level up, you try to win cosmetics, and you switch around the various kinds of vampire you can be.

The game is fun to play but not as fun to play that I would continue to play it indefinitely. The developers have substituted bots for its dwindling player base, but this is really just a patch on the fact it’s not something that I would want to play for hours on end. There are also sidequests in the open world that just don’t work well with the battle royal format.

It’s unfortunately probably too late to save this game and I really hope they save the assets of the game for something else. They really could do a great Vampire: The Masquerade game set in the Prague open world they created. It probably is a backhanded compliment to the developers that it would be awesome to do a single player game made from their game’s corpse, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

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CT Phipps

CT Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He's the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga. He is also a frequent contributor to Grimdark Magazine.