I’ve been a fan of the first Choice of the Vampire and have been eagerly waiting the release of Fall of Memphis. I purchased Fall of Memphis (FoM) as soon as I saw it was out.
Man, was I disappointed.
First off, there was way, way, WAY too much historical fluff. Setting the scene for a time and place is all well and good, and is applicable whether the setting be 19th century America, Ancient Rome, or a sci-fi future. But my god, I so did not care about some school superintendent being replaced with some other and teachers and blah blah blah. My eyes started glazing over after the bajillionth paragraph about education civil rights issues in the 19th century. “This is a game about being a vampire, right?”
Speaking of being a vampire: the abilities are worthless. Stats are listed like “shapeshifting” and “creation” and “lore.” They really didn’t mean anything in the first Choice of Vampire, but I assumed they would come into prominence with this second entry. No. I had a lore of three and could not tell a single benefit I derived from it. I also had a charm of three, and constantly failed all social checks. And the author makes a three in a stat sound powerful, since when I reached a stealth level of two, the dialogue was something like, “You have surpassed mortal abilities in sneaking and hiding, and are now invisible when standing still.” Which, by the way, was completely worthless – I guess the new black superintendent didn’t need my stealth abilities.
Most of FoM seemed to revolve around an election in vampire society, which largely consisted of watching NPCs argue and not much else. “Maybe I could turn someone else into a vampire,” or “Maybe this will fast forward to more modern times in Memphis,” or “Maybe I can become a Senator and run my own vampire city!” All cool-sounding stuff. None of which happens. You do have to decide whether to get rid of bonds that help Memphis get paved roads, though. Exciting, I know.
Also, I was busy playing the adventure when suddenly, halfway through, the Quaestor of Memphis was like, “And don’t forget to take care of Wilson.” What? Huh? Who is Wilson? This is the first I have heard of Wilson. And mention keeps being made of hunting someone named Wilson, for no reason I was ever able to discern.
FoM is about 1/10th the length of Zombie Exodus, took years to come out after the short first entry, and also cost money this time (money which, normally, I am more than happy to give). This is unacceptable. I know there has been some grumbling about recent CoG entries like Treasure Seekers of Lady Luck or Choice of the Ninja, and this is just another debacle of a release. Let me just reiterate my previous comment that CoG should just dump all their money on JimD of ZE and have him write non-stop.
Needless to say, I will not be looking forward to the next entry of Choice of the Vampire, when it gets released three years from now.