Developed by Big Bad Ben Studios and published by Nacon and BIGBEN INTERACTIVE. Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a dark and gritty RPG set in a vampiric world. It was released for the Xbox One, Series S/X, Playstation 4/5, PC, and Nintendo Switch on the 19th of May 2022.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong – All Bark And No Bite
Vampire; The Masquerade – Swansong is the fourth instalment in the Vampire: Masquerade series. Now I have never played the tabletop RPG that the video games are based on but I have played a couple of the video games. Going into the game I didn’t set my expectations high but I was expecting a good story to sink my teeth into. So let’s find out shall we in this Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Review.
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The game tells the story of three vampires from different clans who investigate conspiracies in the game setting of Boston. They have to find out who orchestrated a shooting on the factions that could threaten the fact between the vampires and the humans.
Swansong is a game that is narratively driven from start to finish. You alternate from Galeb, Emem, and Leysha. The three main characters who lead the investigation. Each vampire has its own strengths and weaknesses that you need to utilize when it comes to some of the interrogation methods.
For players that are new to the series then it can take some time to get used to as it all seems a little overwhelming but with some patience, the powers and skills that you use and knowing when to use them becomes easier. Swansong is made up of chapters and after each chapter, you get to upgrade some of your abilities and powers are that essential to progress through the game.
Choosing wisely on what to upgrade plays a huge factor when interacting with the people of the city. You may choose to upgrade your thirst for blood so you can go longer without the need to feed but choosing that path may give you the lack of skills to enter people’s minds and manipulate them. So choose your skills wisely as there is no going back.
As for the story on a whole itself. It is a very slow burner and after a couple of hours, you begin to wonder if anything is actually going to happen but just stick with it because as with the other Vampire: Masquerade games. The story gets better and better.
Audio and Graphics
The graphics in Swansong are so bad that I went days without playing it. I was waiting for an update to fix them because it made the game borderline impossible to play. Big Bad Wolf Studio has stuck with the same graphics that they used in the original that came out way back in 2000. I seriously think it is time for an upgrade as even playing on the Xbox Series X they are just laughable.
From character models to not being finished, textures and backgrounds taking a few seconds to render in, and random objects clipping into things. The graphics are so poor that they put a real downer on the game and take the pleasure out of playing a really good story-driven video game.
The audio isn’t much better either. For a game with a dark tone and violent setting. It just doesn’t give you that edge of playing a game of this calibre. They are some areas in the same that don’t even have audio at all. Just the footsteps of the characters.
As mentioned earlier Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong takes part in chapters and so it’s entirely up to you how long you play each chapter but a full playthrough will generally take around 25 hours.
There are some collectables and optional mission objectives to do that you can just bypass but going back and playing through again will give you some replayability and some notes are actually easy to miss. So I will give it to Swansong and it does have quite a bit of replayability factor.
My final thought is that while writing this Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong review. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up the controller and play it again. One time was more than enough for me. If the graphics were made for a next-generation console and some combat was involved then maybe I would give it another go.
Maybe it’s because I’m new to the series and don’t know the lore but it will be a game that I will quickly forget. Fans of the series may very well love it but for me, I was expecting a lot better.
So with that in mind, I give Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong The Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.