Dialogue games can be pretty varied. Sometimes they're almost like text adventures. Other times they follow almost a choose your own adventure kind of path. And other times it's pretty much a virtual picture book. World of Darkness Preludes: Vampire and Mage just came out, and for the Vampire installment, Vampire: The Masquerade: We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead, it's the second option.
For such a limited game type, the story isn't half bad. You wake up and immediately begin texting out what happened last night, and slowly from there, it turns out that ((SPOILER)) you're a vampire and LOTS of people are interested in this. Rather than be reliant on images, it plays out solely through text messages, sent pictures and pretty much anything you could do on your phone pre-iPhone era. My only complaint is that the story is kinda short because I completed it on one go, but there are numerous ways to go, so there's replay value. It can be gripping and really unique.
Normally I get into controls a little bit, but for a game like this, it's absurd. You click and choose. Granted, it works just fine. So.....no complaints here. If you can click a mouse or touch pad, you're set.
The graphics for Vampire: The Masquerade aren't bad either. It's a phone, some pictures, and not too much else – it doesn't need. The artwork is a little out there in terms of style, but it fits well with the game, although it can be hard sometimes to actually know what you're looking at. If I had to find something to complain about I'd say the phone in the game doesn't act like a phone sometimes – there is no such thing as 3 second turnaround in text messages. But it all fits and adds a little to the growing darkness of the tone of the game.
Gameplay is pretty simple – you follow text messages and pick your own way. It helps to be logical about it, but it also grants freedoms in what you want to be in the game. It was hard to get invested at some points because, you know, it's text messaging. But it also gave some tension – you can die if you go down the wrong path. The choices you make became more complex and difficult, and that makes a good game – a steady curve. There aren't any points, and the story goes as you text. It's very much personal decision.
The sounds on the game were pretty good. Again, pretty simple. Phone noises and things. But it's out of that simpleness that real tension and worry comes. If it had cutesy sounds or a bombastic score, it would actually downplay the tension and even danger in your choices. It's just enough sound, and the right types.
When I played there wasn't any lag problems. It was weird to get text messages almost instantly – like a 8:17 message would be answered by an 8:21 message followed by an 8:43 message sometimes in the span of less than a minute, but the more you play, the more it gets normal. No glitches either – for a text game like this, it isn't a surprise.
Vampire: The Masquerade: We Eat Blood is overall a pretty neat little game. I wished for more, and a few parts dipped in my enjoyment, but overall it's a neat little story that keeps your attention. If you like shooters or 3D games or games where you physically move things, this may not be a game for you. It's more on personal choice than physically doing something in world. Vampire has it's flaws, but again, a neat little game with some twists and turns.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
A copy of this game software was provided for the purpose of review.