Vampire: The Masquerade is a famous board game, which has long inspired videogame transpositions. Like others tabletop role-playing games, in fact, it presents a great narrative universe which was tempting to many Software Houses for the setting of their video games.
Examples of this are games in the series such as Vampires: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (of which a sequel), and the oldest Redemption. Both games received a warm welcome from both audiences and critics alike, and they built the foundation for what would be Coteries of New York.
The title actually looks like a new incarnation of the series in the form of a video game, however contradicting some formulas at the base of the series, including the very fact of not being an RPG.
There are in fact levels, skills or quests. Everything takes place in a new context for the series: the game is completely based on its own narrative. Along the lines of the games Telltale and the great oriental productions, Coteries of New York turns out to be truly one Visual novel.
But this new title will be successful restore enamel to the saga? And he will have respected his premise of "RPG without all those elements that we commonly associate with the genre in the gaming industry "?
Let's see it in this review!
A city bathed in blood
The title will start with a choice between three vampire clans, which will lead us, through different paths, to the same condition. We will indeed be bitten and robbed, as humans, of ours blood, only to wake up as vampires in the crowded city of New York.
But the Vampire world does not sleep, and we will soon be caught for be killed as they became vampires without the permission of the vampire authorities and without the protection of a "Sire".
This is where we will begin ours real adventure.
Caught under the protective wing of a Sire we will save ourselves from the "Final Death“, Ie the true death of vampires, and we will begin to perform different tasks in this nocturnal world that hides itself from human beings through the pact of "Masquerade“, Which obliges them to hide their existence from mortals.
The title will introduce us without tutorial or too many explanations in the I live from history of the title, through well written dialogues e frequent moral choices which will affect the way we deal with our fellow men, whether they are friends or enemies.
Our activities, all carried out strictly at night, will be divided between plot and secondary activities in a rapid succession of private events e choices, in the middle of the contrasts of power among the various vampire authorities e interpersonal relationships with various New York undead.
The title plot will take often different facets based on the mission we will venture into, and it will suit a lot to different contexts.
Especially the secondary missions of the title, which we will have time to follow in intervals between main missions, and that they will show us new sides of the world in which our affairs take place.
A beautiful New York by night
The title will immediately show up with excellent e smooth animations and beautiful New York night background, where the entire title will be set. Furthermore, these backgrounds, which will give context to all the adventures of our protagonist, will all be animated and with sound effects to accompany them.
We believe these are a lot well implemented and give an atmosphere only it is original to the title. This is a lot gloomy and gothic but at the same time light, as set in a very agitated city, perpetually in movement and illuminated by strong lights of cars and street lamps.
This will also coincide well with it artistic style of the characters and with the title writing, which are almost always in complete harmony with one another. In fact, we found the atmosphere of the title one of his best features and that manages to create a feeling very inspired and in line with the original work.
Very good is also there colonna sonora, which is consistent with the tense and dark atmosphere that the title offers, even without leaving us particularly memorable traces. Also, we really like the way the title songs blend in with the sound effects products from the backgrounds.
Sore point is the complete lack of a dubbing, which, however, we have not felt particularly necessary thanks to the considerable care placed in all other segments of the security.
The characters of the title, which we found extremely well written and sewn well in this one New York vampiresca, and among others power hierarchies within it. In particular, they will shine to the fullest, with notable psychological evolutions, in their own secondary missions.
We find it only necessary to note the fact that we have often found gods wrong backgrounds at some points in the game, which are probably problems that will come quickly resolved upon release. Also for this reason, in fact, the title is been delayed for a week for its release.
A well known setting
'Ssetting of the title developers, the Polish studio Draw Distance, have done careful research on the whole history and lore of Role playing game Vampire: The Masquerade.
Coteries of New York faithfully reproduces all the elements already known on the game world, and makes them known one by one to the player.
You can safely approach the title without having the basics of the saga, however even fans will greatly appreciate the references to concept, laws and factions of the original games. Furthermore, just for newbies there will be a very convenient feature: the Dictionary.
On this, every time we meet note concepts of the world of Vampire: The Masquerade, these will come noted and explained, allowing novices to not be left out without at the same time break the rhythm of the title.
The rhythm of the title will be, thanks to this, a lot well managed. There will never be real "dead moments“, As the title will always offer something to do after carrying out a story mission, and most importantly, because the game it never allows you to save.
We certainly found this choice singular, but in line with the leitmotiv of the work: “There is no need to regret the past, but accept the choices that have been made ".
The title structure is, as announced by the developers, empty of unnecessary mechanics, and focuses on few mechanics well explored and that make the title perfectly functional to its own narrative and formula.
The ingredients are mixed well and so the title never appears dispersive and keeps a qualitative consistency for the entire duration of the work, perhaps decreasing towards the "grand finale“, Which is in contrast with the rest of the title.
An unusual role-playing game?
In reality however, what in which Coteries of New York flaw more, it is the role-playing sector of the title. In fact, the character we will play will not really be “ours”.
As long as there will be many choices e moral dilemmas, often the choices will be alone three: or not and will not be affected by factors other than the Fame - There search for blood that grips a vampire, bringing it closer to a beast.
Furthermore, the answers will always be "cut“, That is summarized in shorter options, and which often did not make us understand the tone with which the protagonist would have pronounced them. Many choices will undoubtedly affect the side-quest and onadvance of history, but, in fact, they will not seem "nostre".
We will decide our character based on the three proposed clans entitled (each with a fixed character), which will affect the story but which will seem external characters to us, as we will not really decide the their particularity.
The choice to use the does not help in this either second person during the narration, as for the whole title it will seem to us to follow the events of another person, but that will not even be a player-created character - therefore a "third person".
The choice to give is also hard only one ending to the title, which does not give feedback to the many moral dilemmas and choices that we will have to face in the title, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction at the end of the adventure.
A vampire world with many implications
The title will not be very long: they will be enough in fact alone 8 hours to complete it. However, it will be quite replayable, both to see new sides of the title and its history, both to complete the secondary missions which will offer the game.
In addition, the 'great storytelling e rhythm of the title, together with many reflections on several sensitive issues, they will manage to keep the player glued to the screen, despite the Visual novel are not among the most popular genres since great audience.
It is also true that the English level of the title it will be enough high, and it could be a impediment to many home gamers.
However, i endearing characters, together with a excellent aesthetic sector with dark shades and a complex game world, will amaze the player who will try his hand at the discovery of this title.
It sure is aexcellent new revival of the world of Vampire: The Masquerade, however, it suffers from some problems in the approach role-playing game, which turns out to be enough approximate.
Note of merit is instead the little demand in terms of hardware of the title, which however does not suffer from particular hardware limitations, remaining very enjoyable at the sight.