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A Vampire:The Masquerade game focused on motivation and emotion, August 7, 2022
To be up front, this is probably the VtM Choicescript game I’d be least likely to recommend to the general public.
This game is very high quality, but it doesn’t focus on the mechanical aspects of the VtM nearly as much as the others. For me, and I expect many people, the draw of these games is to try out the systems.
Furthermore, choicescript games in general are often easiest to enjoy when the effects of your choices are clear and obvious. This game has a lot of branching text, but much of the variation is in the emotional aspects of your character’s thoughts rather than major events (compared to similar games; there is still major event branching in this game, just not as much). Also, there’s some more strong profanity on this game than I prefer.
With those caveats aside, this is an excellent psychological introspection game. More than the other vampire games, this dives into the inner mind of a vampire. I think the game was describing itself in this quote (only available in certain paths):
“Alex had a knack for putting together campaigns that would test your morality more than your STR and DEX, and they would frictionlessly lead you to dilemmas that forced your group to ask: So, who are we? What do we stand for? What do we play for?”
Another, later quote takes a rare wink in the fourth wall:
“ For a moment, the idea that you might be a made-up character yourself takes root in your mind and seduces you with the possibility. What would it be like to be a fictional character—just another collection of ink and paper in a book with its own backstory and motivations? You're full of so much mundane detail that when the plot needs you to do something, they can pull you out and have you do it without any messy internal conflicts dragging you down—that's the fantasy, anyway.”
The game is about you as a vampire who was abandoned by your vampire-sire, and later taken in by a man named Markos. You live in Athens, which is gripped by a conflict between those who want vampires to continue the Masquerade, hiding from humanity, while others, radicals, want to tear it down and reveal all.
This author is a previous Nebula nomineee, and it shows. The story is tight and excellent. However, it is somewhat dark and can be depressing; failure at the end is not only possible but likely.
Some have described the game as rushed, and I think that’s because of the focus on the inner mind. The typical events of a game, like fights, betrayals, etc. are given less focus while your own doubts and hopes are played out over a longer time.
I had thought of giving this 4 stars, but I honestly enjoyed the storyline quite a bit, especially some parts about sunrises.