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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » VtM-Bloodlines - Retrospective @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Default VtM-Bloodlines - Retrospective @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

February 11th, 2009, 19:19
Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Jim Rossignol offers up a retrospective of the long defunct Troika's classic cRPG, Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines entitled Forever Young;The Tragedy of Bloodlines, which basically asks why games like this are so hard to come by:
There’s a bittersweet flavour to playing Bloodlines. It’s not because of the vampiric moodiness and the twilight tales that it tells, nor the real-world tragedy of its costly development finally undoing brave development studio, Troika. No, the sense of sorrow comes from the realisation that there’s nothing like this on the horizon. The idea is begged: why should there be so few games like this? Oh right, because it’s so very hard to do.

Bloodlines - a clever, multi-faceted RPG - is a rare animal. Even under the blazing light of Fallout 3’s recent release, there’s a sense that we’ve not yet reached our promised land of games that do more, games that do worlds, games that do people. Bloodlines points the way to those games. Indeed, there’s a sense that these games might just be becoming a myth. Like the plight of an animal species on the verge of extinction, the lack of games comparable to Bloodlines is one of the great tragedies of our time.
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February 11th, 2009, 19:19
If Kieron Gillien had given it more than 7/10 Troika would still be making games today; I have no doubt.
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February 11th, 2009, 19:42
Dunno, if Troika had shipped games that didn't need fan patches on every occasion they might be in business today.
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February 11th, 2009, 21:13
Rare gem of a game indeed, good times in the Ocean House and strip club!
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February 11th, 2009, 21:58
Cool. More of such articles, the better.

It´s a pity that no fan patch can redeem the rushed last fourth of the game.
Still, it´s just 1/4 so my experience with the game was at the very most bittersweet.

Unofficial Patch 6.0 is just about to be released so I´m looking forward to replay it with the plus version. Hopefully it will be smooth.
There´s nothing new remotely that good anyway.
Last edited by DeepO; February 11th, 2009 at 23:25.
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February 11th, 2009, 22:04
Originally Posted by Melvil View Post
Dunno, if Troika had shipped games that didn't need fan patches on every occasion they might be in business today.
I don't know. Bethesda's still in business.
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February 11th, 2009, 23:13
Originally Posted by pnutz View Post
I don't know. Bethesda's still in business.
Bethesda's games are fairly bug-free by comparison.
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February 11th, 2009, 23:20
Yeah. Bethesda's games might sometimes appear unpolished in few areas and the fixlists in patches tend to look long, but chances are great that you are going to run through the entire game at least once without spotting a bug.

Each of Troika's games have been glaringly unfinished, they often looks polished in the beginning, but once you get further into the game the holes will be out in the open. The last level in Temple of Elemental Evil was extremely evident in this, you could see on the map that there were features that was intended for something and there's even named NPC's there that doesn't react when you click on them.

It's a shame, because I loved each of their games a great deal and they are all worth playing.

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February 11th, 2009, 23:47
Oh I've come across a few game breaking bugs in Beth's games. I've definitely hit game breakers in Daggerfall & Morrowind; I've never come across the characters, animation, writing or style of Bloodlines.
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February 11th, 2009, 23:56
Some people are willing to put up with some technical difficulties for a rich game experience. Some not, especially if you CAN'T experience the richness because the FRICKIN GAME DOESN'T WORK. A hem.
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February 12th, 2009, 00:18
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Oh I've come across a few game breaking bugs in Beth's games. I've definitely hit game breakers in Daggerfall & Morrowind;
I agree Daggerfall was a mess, although that wasn't uncommon for CRPGs circa 1996. Bethesda's modern titles have been pretty well polished upon release though, certainly compared to Troika's anyways.

Originally Posted by woges View Post
I've never come across the characters, animation, writing or style of Bloodlines.
Of course not, they're different games.
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February 12th, 2009, 00:54
Tsk, literalists.
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February 12th, 2009, 03:33
I enjoyed the article over all but it's still frustrating to see author's like Jim still trying to put the major blame Troika for the state of Bloodlines. This is clearly not accurate, as Troika was forbidden from working on Bloodlines for the majority of the Half-Life 2 code theft, since activision had no idea when HL2 would ship work was stopped.

Once activision got the word they could release, Troika was given about 3 months to get the game ready to ship, this is when all the cuts started happening, like the Multiplayer content. One day maybe a author will get it right by correctly praising Troika as Jim and others have done, while simultaneously getting the blame part right, we can only hope.

I think it's so easy for everyone to believe it's Troika's fault, since there games have been buggy, but once again with reason. Just like the fans, publishers want the next classic game, leaving their companies names being part of some legendary game, fans and critics alike rave about for years to come. Troika was one of the few companies capable of this feat, everyone knew it fans, critics and publishers.

Troika has made some of the finest RPGs ever made, with the most complex game world effecting choices, yet it's rare to find a critic whom recognizes this when they are reviewing a game filling gamers heads with misinformation about the bugs in the game. It's more than 90% of the time never mentioned that publisher have forced out the games prematurely, then even worst very reluctant to fund patches.

If I don't stop my post might become longer than the article.

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February 12th, 2009, 05:56
my feelings on the matter are just about the same. by the way good see you posting Acleacius!
i think many fail to realize as they look for the perfect game is that making a polished game is a heck of a lot easier when the developers aren't bringing anything new to the table. yet the 'hardcore' people continue to demand a laundry list 8 miles long of things that they want to see in a game why out the same time more than ready to point out every flaw in games like bloodlines that are a unique experience. maybe i'm not hardcore enough, but to me its like a chef who goes to a nice resturant and points out there's a teaspoon to much salt in his dinner. i mean i know some people are highly knowledgable about certain topics, games, cuisine, whathaveyou but its a shame that some can't enjoy things more. its almost as if some derive more pleasure from the analysis than the experience itself. i am not envious.
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February 12th, 2009, 07:10
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
Still, it´s just 1/4 so my experience with the game was at the very most bittersweet.
Oh, the different fonts were one of my favorite features of Bloodlines. It boggles my mind why it hasn't been copied to that extent in other games. Careful use of typography can be so very powerful.

1. DO AS I SAY OR ELSE …
2. Pretty please with sugar on top …
3. I want you to …

Also, while I appreciate the community patches, I thoroughly enjoyed the game even in its original state. So yeah, the probable fact that there won't be more games like it is to be lamented.

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February 12th, 2009, 12:00
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Yeah. Bethesda's games might sometimes appear unpolished in few areas
I heard other things about Daggerfall.

But on the other hand, who of the "newcomers" knows/remembers it ?

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February 12th, 2009, 12:32
One of the things that's great about the writing in Bloodlines is, because they actually bothered, you get the feeling of playing a totally different character with each house. It really adds to the value of the game (artistcally & monetary), and makes replaying an interesting and rewarding experience. Far better than any system I've seen since and probably hence.
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February 12th, 2009, 15:54
I've always wanted to pick up a copy of Bloodlines and this article finally got me to go look. WTF!?!? Used copies go for $60+. New copies go for $90+. Damn, I should have invested in copies of this game instead of stock!
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February 12th, 2009, 16:21
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
I've always wanted to pick up a copy of Bloodlines and this article finally got me to go look. WTF!?!? Used copies go for $60+. New copies go for $90+. Damn, I should have invested in copies of this game instead of stock!
That's lastin' value for you.

It's 20 USD/EUR on Steam, tho'
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February 12th, 2009, 17:04
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Bethesda's games are fairly bug-free by comparison.
Oh, I was referring to the mods required to make them interesting games. I'd agree that they're fairly bug free since Morrowind.

Neither requirement is a good thing, whether you need fan patches to make your game playable or fan mods to fix your bizzare/incompetent/lazy design.
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