Vampire: The Masquerade, Back and Fang-tastic
By Kat Aschman
In 1991, White Wolf Publishing released the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, a dark look at the concept of modern vampires and their connection to humanity. Through the the 90’s and early 2000’s several more related games, novels, and live-action RPGs were released (there was even a very short lived TV show). Now, Vampire: The Masquerade is back with its first title in a decade, Vampire The Masquerade: We Eat Blood. We Eat Blood is a text-based role playing game available on Steam and the Android and Apple App Stores.
As a bit of background, I’d like to say that I’m not someone who plays video games. While there are a lot of games with amazing plot and stories and characters that I love getting involved with (Dragon Age being the first to come to mind), it’s almost always been through supplemental materials, such as books, comics, or a tabletop RPG. That being said, I really enjoyed We Eat Blood. The story is told entirely through a phone with texts and photos the player sends and receives, in a manner of storytelling that reminds me of “choose your own adventure” books. It’s a much more casual style of gaming, which is enjoyable for a complete and total newbie like myself — though don’t let its casual manner fool you into thinking it will be easy. Making the wrong choices will result in a swift and painful death, as I found out many, many times.
Design-wise, the game is fairly simple but effective. On the PC version, you have a image of a smartphone that you interact with, sending messages and flipping through contacts; I would imagine that on the mobile version of the game it would be scaled to fit a phone screen, to create the illusion that it’s your phone sending and receiving the messages. There are also several times when rain, blood, and cracks appear on the phone screen, which again would work better as an illusion on an actual phone. Though I will admit, when the raindrops first showed up, I thought that something had gotten on my computer screen and tried to wipe them off, so, points to the gamemakers for realism.
We Eat Blood was somewhat of a perfect game for me, since it was so heavily story-based; story and narrative are mainly what I’m interested in. Throw in some gorgeous and stylized art, as well as dialogue that strikes the balance between creepy and hilarious, and you’ve got several hours of enjoyable gameplay. It’s definitely worth playing through at least twice, to make sure you unlock all possible chapters and story threads. The game will automatically save your progress, which not only makes it easy to go back through chapters, but also is a relief to someone like me who has a very bad habit of making choices that end in painful deaths. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys grisly and gruesome modern vampires, or the previous Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop games.