COG's Vampire the Masquerade Games Overall Discussion Thread

Now that all four (that we know of) games in COG’s Vampire the Masquerade line have been released, I thought we needed a discussion thread for the games as a whole, to better discuss what we liked and disliked, what we hope to see in the future, etc.

Night Road

As many others have said, Night Road ended up creating a high standard for the games to reach, in terms of choice, replayability, writing, and gameplay (your opinion may vary on how successful the other games were in reaching that standard). I adored just how much it felt like a VTM game; from the atmosphere to the quests to the characters. For each clan I played as (Lasombra, Gangrel, Banu Haqim, Ravnos, and Nosferatu), I genuinely felt that it impacted the story and my relationship with these characters. There were times I disliked the choices I had to make, but could recognize why they were necessary, and that really hammered in the whole theme of vampires being monsters, and this being a compelling, dark world…of darkness. Out of all four games, it felt the most traditionally like a video game versus an interactive fiction game–which was both fantastic, and sort of frustrating.

Where the game suffers most is unfortunately due to some of the downsides of this medium: the lack of a save feature, and the messiness of the stats screen. It’s fantastic that the game is so massive and intricate, but it can get exhausting when, if you accidentally misclick an option or misunderstand something, you had to either move forward with a potential awful choice or restart entirely. If any game in COG and Hosted’s history ever made a good case for implementing a save system, it’s this one. At the least it would have been nice to have some sort of checkpoint system in place. The stats screen is also a hassle: there’s so many to check with a game this heavily stat-oriented that it becomes a headache to glance back and forth at everything. I ended up just taking physical notes just to have an easier time playing everything.

Out for Blood

I’ll probably have the least to say about this one; because I have not played it since release on account that I cannot figure out what system I purchased it on :upside_down_face: (it’s not on Steam, it isn’t in my library, I can’t open it in Firefox and it doesn’t seem to be in the Chrome Store either???) But looking at reactions off-site, it seems to be one of the less popular games, which surprised me since the only thing I really disliked was the ending I got, which was the FBI ending. I liked the unique perspective that it gave in the world of the Masquerade, and as I said at the time of its release, it’s my favorite thing the author’s written for this medium. I think the first third of the game is so interesting, and I liked how it built up the mystery of what vampires are like. I was a little sad that we couldn’t play as an experienced hunter, but I had fun playing as a hunter regardless. I also loved how diverse the game was–I can’t think of many COG/Hosted games that featured an RO in a wheelchair, and it genuinely felt like each RO was given mostly equal treatment–which is nice, since it’s pretty easy for writers to heavily focus on one over the rest of the cast.

Similarly to Night Road, I had issues with the stat screen and the lack of a save feature, which I think would have really helped with this game. I also felt like the last half of the game, specifically related to the plot was shallower than the early part of the game. I’m not sure if it’s because this game was a bit more character-driven than plot-focused or not.

All in all, I really liked Out for Blood because it was a fun perspective in this world, and it also gave me a new appreciation and enjoyment of Jim D’s writing.

Parliament of Knives

As someone who always preferred the Anarchs over the Camarilla, this game gave me more appreciation for the Camarilla as a whole, even as I rolled my eyes at how horrible vampires are at creating steady governments–seriously guys, just give up and move towards a democracy or something. All this backstabbing can’t be good for stability in the vampire world. I liked politicking with the various factions, all within the context of solving this big ol’ mystery of what happened to Arundel, what’s going on with the Tremere and Banu Haqim, what is your sire planning, etc. Heck, I’ve played the game four times and I still feel like I haven’t found all of the story details yet, in the best way possible. I loved the characters, and found myself wishing for more content with many of the NPCs (Lucca, Trevor, Kashif…please let me love you…).

I would say the game went a bit too far in the direction of simplifying the stats, though. I felt like I never had to think about what action would be most practical or plausible to pull off. I had fun, but I wish there was a little bit more difficulty to some of it. I kinda wish there were more ugly Nosferatu. I didn’t feel like my clan mattered as much as it did in Night Road, which was a bit disappointing since there’s only the three. I also had trouble taking Ottawa seriously, but I recognize that as a mild, anti-Canadian sentiment I’ve developed out of jealousy for their healthcare system.

Sins of the Sire

It’s funny: I played this game four times back to back, thrice more over the next few days, and played this far more than any other game in the line, and yet I struggle to really say what the game was about. I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than other people did–I thought the writing was spectacular, until it wasn’t, the characters were compelling, until they weren’t, and that the author did a fantastic job of hammering in the loss that comes with becoming a vampire.

Writing wise, the language used was so lovely to read. I literally played the game repeatedly over and over again because I enjoyed reading it so much. But once you get through with meeting Gor, I felt like the writing dropped off in quality, as if the rest of the game was someone’s first draft. It was a little disappointing because I know Natalia can and has written so much better–hell, Natalia wrote so much better in this very game! It was like I was reading someone’s graphic summary of the game. I would have loved to play the game I was reading the summary for.

With regards to the characters, I found some absolutely compelling; Markos, Persa, and the MC’s relationships with one another was so beautiful and exciting to read. I wanted and still want to learn more about these characters. Gor was lovely as well, with a background I thought was very unique and creative for a vampire in this setting. But I left the game feeling that the others weren’t as interesting, which is fine in theory–all the games released had a few characters that just sort of were there. But here, it was like a revolving door of people I thought I would be learning more about only to never see again. This is an issue in a game where several of these people could end up being your sire. I know that the whole point is not quite having a relationship with your sire, but you would think that if my sire is secretly one of these people, there would be some sort of dynamic or strong interaction with these characters. I think I felt the most connection with Markos (for obvious reasons), but his status as a sire made the least amount of sense to me. I still don’t get why he lied to us, and it kind of made his plan seem stupider than it would have had he been honest about his intentions with us. I also felt that the romances were weak. Which is fine, it’s not the main point of this game, but at times I wondered why there were romances at all if the game didn’t seem invested in exploring them. With that said, I loved Markos’s romance because it was one of the few times in an IF game where I genuinely wondered if my RO even liked me, or was using me. I still don’t know, and I like that sense of doubt.

The best part of the game was how much it made feeling like a vampire suck. Like. I genuinely felt like I lost my life when my character became a vampire. At times it felt like the MC had a bit of an open wound in regards to their living life. Admittedly, some options were a bit more lacking in others, but it genuinely felt to me like my MC had a life before they became the character I explored the world as.

TLDR: While I liked some games more than others, I love how each game had its own different feel to it. I liked the creativity of the authors, and the unique perspectives they all brought to this universe. I wish there was a save system in place to make it easier to replay (not sure if COG will ever release a new ChoiceScript language, but if they do, this really should be implemented). I wish there was a better way to implement the stats, or make it easier to view while playing.

I also wish there was a more uniform standard in the writing. Twice these games felt rushed within the second half, which is something I hope is looked for more in testing circles for COG games in the future.

All in all, I loved this line, and I never regretted a single purchase. I really hope we see more games, not just for VTM but any of the World of Darkness lines, or maybe more licensed works within existing IPs. I would absolutely love to see COG continue this sort of thing in the future.

What about you guys? What did you think of the VTM games, and what would you be interested in seeing in the future?

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Out of all of them… Night Road was better crafted and written. The rests were almost half assed and failed to grip or even handle the realm of VTM other than ‘You is vampy’, with the expection of Out for Blood, and even then there were far too many inconsistencies, rushed pathing/endings, far too much confusion. Knives was semi decent, yet felt hollow. And Sins is just a cluster f of too much short writing and failed attempts at keeping true to the VTM style, not to mention too many inconsistencies as well.

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I wish people wouldn’t throw the “half-assed” accusation around so casually on this forum. Parliament of Knives is 600,000 words long, and Out for Blood is almost half a million. Do you have any conception of how much work is involved in writing things of that length? Parliament of Knives is as long as six PhD thesises! If you don’t like it, fine, but please don’t try to imply that the authors were lazy. Writing a 600,000 word interactive novel in less than a year is a pretty damn bad way of being lazy!

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Been a good while since I touched the first 3, so i might be off on some things. Call me out on them if need be.

Night Road-barring one really terrible bug I got at the end early in its release, the game was quite solid. Honestly I feel that this has the best balance between dealing with the politics up top and the ground-floor activities. Really good start to the quartet.

Out for Blood-I actually really liked this one since it gave a perspective that most VtM media in general doesn’t touch: that of the muggles. Sure, the plot doesn’t impact much in the grand scheme of things, but having that small-scale perspective is quite nice.

Parliament of Knives-on the exact opposite side, this leans more heavily on the political side and…for the most part does it well, though I feel it didn’t do characters as well as OfB. Ending also felt a touch rushed at the end, but it made up for it by the ending I got which was a nice twist.

Sins of the Sire-i feel this started off the best in terms of immersing you into the world…but also felt the most rushed, with the amazing setups leading to…less-than-stellar finishes. Quite novel in the fact that your powers choose your clan rather than the other way around.

All in all, all probably worth your time, but if I had to choose one, Night Road would have to be it.

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As James said, the games aren’t half-assed at all, in my opinion. He said it better than I can. But can I ask why you think this part specifically? I thought all four had a relatively decent handle on the lore and setting, although some definitely explored it better than others.

So if we got more VTM/WoD games in the future, would you prefer them to be more similar to Night Road? I think the games all had at least one or two elements I’d love to see in later games, but I think Night Road overall has been the most popular.

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Eh, I can’t really give a concrete answer to that…partially because it has been so long since I touched the others so I need a good refresher on their intricacies, but also because the perfect VtM CYOA would be a mix of the 4, I feel.

Night Road’s framework, with the emphasis on both sides from Out and Parliament respectively…and with the writing from the first half of Sins.

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I loved how much Night Road felt like Bloodlines(Which was my introduction to Vampire the masquerade) and how it played i guess you can say(How the stats and the car system work ect). For Knives i loved the political plotting, manipulation,backstabbing, etc. (In fact I will say out of everything I played here so far Knives along with Lords of Infinity and Stars Arisen are the ones who excellence at it). In Out for Blood I didn’t really cared about anything about story or especially the characters who I just felt were boring. It just never hook me I guess. Sins I have only played the demo so far so i can’t give my option on it.

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Night road was really well mechanics wise, the characters weren’t the best, but the amount of fun you could have with different character variations made up for it. Out for blood had a really interesting concept but I didn’t like it much more than that, the writing was good but I felt like the pacing was unnecessarily fast to the point where the entire plot was over in a tiny bit of game time, with a lot less emphasis on the environment, surroundings, and character interactions, and some people I’ve talked to have told me that it doesn’t have the same vtm feel to it as the others with all of the political maneuvering. Parliament of knives was easily my favorite, didn’t have the awesome mechanics system as night Road, but the plot was spectacular, the writing was top-notch, the characters were pretty good, and there was lots and lots of political intrigue.

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Wait, what? These were written in less than a year? That’s… not enough time. At all. If that’s the case, that’s exactly why they suffer.

I have only played the demos of all of them so far, but I’d actually consider buying all of them except Sins of the Sires. The demo for Sins is so utterly devoid of any real content I don’t want to pay money to know for sure whether it improves or not.

I was confused why that was relevant, since it’s not a VtM game, and only just realized that the VtM games are not all written by the same person, and the same person did in fact write both Werewolves 2 and PoK…

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In fairness, to be clear, I don’t actually know that that’s true. I was basing it on the timing of the release of Werewolves 2, but I guess authors can work on more than one project simultaneously! But even so, 600,000 words is a major job whatever the timeframe, and not what could reasonably be described as “half-assed”.

Oh heck, if the same person had written all four of them and released them all in the space of, like, a year, that person definitely wouldn’t be describable as half-assed!

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I like NR and PoK,I think they give me a complete story experience and characters are attractive.Lately I spend lots of hours on PoK to try different choices to read different parts of this story.I’m happy with what I got.
I don’t like Out for Blood very much,because I’m sorry,there’s no characters I interested in.The perspective of the story is good,but…anyway it’s just my problem. :cold_sweat:
Haven’t bought Sins of the Sires yet,the demo is interesting to me.I read the feedback on steam,people say the other part of this one is a little rush and just like unfinished.You know…consider the words is just half of the other games…I’m not sure if i will buy it…

:joy:OH!! I didn’t know…I like Werewolves by the way,I want to know what happens next in Werewolves 3.

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Out for Blood is a bit half finished though, the ending I got just didn’t make sense because the content is just not there, not sure if the writer added it yet.

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Big ol update patch is coming to it apparently.

As for personally, I loved most of em. Night road through and through was a great novel. The writing was solid, characters nice, and most importantly it had some really solid choices available. When I can go all the way from becoming a self made blood baron to an SI informant cause I hate my unlife that much, it’s solid

Out for blood I admit I have a bit of bias as I am a big hunter lover in the world of darkness. It was overall really nice, with one or two things kinda sticking out like some endings being empty but hey it’s coming soon enough so I’m okay with. The writing was a bit…too strange personally? It feels like people sometimes shouldn’t react certain ways, like when the first 10 mins of the book have you hit something and the MC starts hearing voices in the forest is still willing to look around for who he hit. Something is wrong 12 ways to Sunday and if you thought different I woulda thought you were insane. But hey super open means you can act however you want, fine by me.

Parliament of knives and sins, alright. Didn’t really catch my attention all too well. But pretty sure that’s the politics part cause when I got to Athens’ big boys I started to zone. Overall they were enjoyable, fun character interactions.

I do have one question thinking about it actually. Why he hell is out for blood a vampire the masquerade game?? It’s literally just hunter 101 you get an introduction to the supernatural threats and everything lmao.

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That’s where most of the criticism of out for blood came from, the fact that it didn’t really feel like a vtm game and just felt like your usual vampire killing type of game

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That’s… definitely not what the demo suggests. Maybe it has exactly the same problem Sins does, but it’s not obvious because the demo of Out for Blood actually does present a conflict, unlike the demo of Sins.

I have rated and reviews the VTM series numerous times on a discord server so this is like my favourite past time.

  1. Parliament of Knives
  2. Night Road
  3. Out for Blood
  4. Sins of the Sires

There’s a key thing I look for in these books and its “how much is the masquerade experience”. Sins of the Sires is a special case for last place however.

Parliament of Knives by far had the most important aspect of VTM. The politics. It’s fun to be a super powerful vampire that knows every goddamn discipline on the planet but the VTM series isn’t all about that. It’s in the name, Vampire the Masquerade. The vampires here are fundamentally built upon tricks and deceit to get by, they’re not like Garou/Werewolves. I never played the Tabletop but that’s what the universe is mostly about, who can you trust and who is going to stake you and leave you out in the sun to burn?

Parliament out of the four did this amazingly. I found myself wanting to trust my sire but I couldn’t, she was changing parts of the city like getting the Banu Haqim out, going against the word of the last Prince. On the other hand, I got punched through a wall by the Anarchs! So who do I trust in this situation? It was very difficult and I loved that feeling in VTM of watching my back, dancing in the intrigue that the others books just didn’t have.

Now we move onto Night Road. Honestly, the plot line and characters are bit flat. The writing wasn’t the best out there but there was just so much customization that it held up enough for me to replay it. There were numerous clans, numerous disciplines and missions to go through. However, you always run through the same missions and like all choice books, you go through everything eventually. I also prefer the system where you mainly just have the three disciplines and getting another one is supposed to be gained through something special, MC just having Protean, Obfuscate, Celerity, Dominate, Blood Sorcery, all at once is fun! It doesn’t make me feel too good about it though.

And here is where I start getting really “irritated” about the other books. I have ragged on Out for Blood many times to my friends. It barely has a hint of VTM. I joked about it being called Vampire Exodus: Safe Haven, there is no camarilla, there is no anarchs, there is no politics. That is not the worst part I’m angry about. Out for Blood has a problem with its “factions”. You got Chastain and the Thin-bloods. Chastain is actually very well done, I call her an anglerfish because she is very effective at persuading you to join her side. But that might be due to the fact that the Thin-bloods are the most incompetent group I have seen in any choice game. Monroe is an awful and pathetic leader because guess what, her group kills a child, then tries to kill you twice and she still cries like “I’m sorry MC, but can you still help us with Chastain because I can’t do anything.” No joke, I have went on more than five rants on the discord just on Out for Blood, it is everyone’s favourite past time to listen to me yell about it.

And finally we have Sins of the Sires. Out for Blood made me angry reading it. Sins of the Sires made me depressed. It honestly does not have much from a story standpoint. From a choice game stand point it has even less. It has basically no clans, every clan plays out the same because you find out at the 80% mark. The stats aren’t fun, there are so few choices or avenues you could take, I’m inclined to say it has none. The writing is extremely awkward, “I’m a civilized monster” from a Brujah asking for your pronouns. Worst of all, there is no plot. I cannot call it a plot. The whole things is a prophecy quest where you kill the prince. That’s it. Nothing else. It’s just not well written. At all. Oh yeah, forgot to say, for a book called Sins of the Sires you really don’t give a damn about your sire. You mention your sire once in the book and that’s at the very end

And that’s another vtm rant done. I just hope we get another Parliament or something.

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Based on this review I’d dislike Out for Blood even more than Sins, despite the fact that Out for Blood has a much more enjoyable demo to me.

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Sins of the Sires had more VTM than Out for Blood, I’ll give it that very important point. But at least Out for Blood reads something remotely like a book and a not a fever dream. It speaks a lot about the book if I’m rating the one with less VTM above it

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Parliament of Knives is far and away my favorite game of this set for sure. It was just incredibly strong the whole way through, far and away the most “Vampire: The Masquerade” of the lot as far as I’m concerned. It had politics, intrigue, action, and even some sad reminders of just how weird and hollow a Kindred’s relationships are. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming expansion/dlc/patch/whatever is being done for this one.
Night Road was a cool set of mini-VTM stories with a lot of fun character build interactions but they didn’t really tie together in a way I found compelling. Still great though.
The other two games definitely felt rushed to me, though I liked the characters in Out for Blood (wish we had more time spent with them) and I really liked the setting and prose in Sins. Sins felt like an incomplete version of Parliament of Knives - it had all the ingredients for a great VTM game but was way too short and I had a hard time following the plot by like the halfway point.

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