Sharply written, well acted, and dripping with atmosphere, Bloodlines would be worthwhile for its memorable characters and story alone, but it also stands out as a stellar example of integrating shooter-style gameplay with RPG progression that offers meaningful player choices.


The game is set in White Wolf’s universe of pen and paper roleplaying games. Rival vampire factions vie for possession of a mysterious artifact that has just arrived at a Los Angeles museum, and you, a recently sired vampire trying to prove yourself useful, are caught in the middle. Newcomers to the setting will quickly learn about the political factions, clans (bloodlines), and rich lore of the world as the story unfolds and your character grows in skill and power.


The choices you make as you progress open different options for both the gameplay and the story, giving Bloodlines replay value beyond most RPGs. Quest availability does not change for the most part, but many can be completed in different ways – not only are there different combat styles (melee, ranged, magic), but depending on your character’s particular strengths many obstacles can also be bypassed by stealth, subterfuge, or smooth talking.


Although old enough to look somewhat dated now, Bloodlines remains a beautiful and engaging game very much worth playing. Be sure to grab the community patch.


Note from schild: This was the first game we gave “Game of the Year.” Ten goddamn years ago.


game: vampire: the masquerade – bloodlines (linked to Steam, as it can still be purchased)

developer: troika games

publisher: activision

release date: november 16, 2004

other games like it: Deus Ex (from ion storm)

author: samwise