Vampire: The Masquerade review – Swansong
At some presentation, the guys from Big Bad Wolf admitted that they are fans of the World of Darkness universe. Unfortunately, love alone was not enough to make the game worthy of such a big name as Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong. We share our impressions of the role-playing adventure game created by the authors of The Council.
The plot of Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong revolves around the Boston court of the Camarilla, which is currently ruled by the ambitious Prince Hazel Iversen of the Ventrue clan. Kindred, close to the ruling elite, and members of the Primogen Council are drawn to Hazel’s domain due to a crisis situation: someone announced a “red” code in the city – a special vampire protocol that signals an extreme level of threat.
Among the colorful guests of the Prince, there are three main characters whose interests the players will look after: the rebellious star Emem Luis from the Toreador clan, the founder of one of the main jazz clubs in the city; Camarilla protector Galeb Bazori of the Ventrue clan, devoted to the ideals of Hazel; and the Prince’s court diviner Leisha with her daughter Halsey, both of the Malkavian clan.
Shortly before the events of the game, a reception was to be held in the Kindred Loft to celebrate the unification of Boston and Hartford Chapel, which would allow Hazel to put the Boston court at the head of the blood market, significantly strengthening his influence in the region, and along with the position of the Prince at court.
But something did not go according to plan, communication with the participants of the meeting was suddenly cut off, and then the unknown person announced a general alarm. The Prince then mobilized all her remaining resources to ascertain the truth and analyze the gravity of the situation.
Everything would be much simpler if it were not for the behind the scenes characteristic of the World of Darkness. Hazel has a difficult relationship with the Primogens, who don’t even try to hide their distaste for the Prince, who doesn’t want to be the council’s puppet. Among them are Berel Underwood, a child of Galeb corrupted by power, ready to do anything for the sake of influence; former beloved Emem and her sire Hilda, who will not let go of the past; a suspicious but seemingly loyal New Orleans occultist, Dayan.
Galeb Bazori has a ghoul, a talented Silicon Valley start-up girl who is pushing for the blue economy. Galeb promised her Becoming, which irritates Berel very much, who harbors a grudge against the sire. Mistress Emem, who was responsible for organizing the reception, is suspected of treason. And Leisha is generally a child of the moon, suffering from loss of memories. She is periodically “covered” with visions, which is why she is forced to return to the Institute and undergo therapy in separation from her daughter. And this is only a small part of the characters presented in Swansong.
The Prince sends Emem to negotiate with the Warlocks, who may consider what happened in the loft a provocation; Galeb checks out to the apartments of Jason Moore, the man who handles the daytime financial operations of the vampires , when the court’s security chief finds out that it was he who announced the “red” code; and Leisha, as the most inconspicuous, is instructed to conduct an investigation at the scene, and at the same time find her psychiatrist Dunham and child Hazel, who disappeared from the radar on that ill-fated night.
Who attacked the Boston domain – the warlocks from Hartford Chapel or the damned anarchs? Could it be that the Tremere isolationists from the Salem Domain set it all up and Diane is involved somehow? But what if the mysterious organization Crimson Oaks, whose members participated in several assassination attempts on the Prince, is to blame? The player will have to figure out this and many other things.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is similar in essence to Big Bad Wolf’s previous work – episodic adventure The Council. If you were hoping that you would wander the city at night, hunt mortals and fight anarchs while observing a masquerade, you are in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt, (but Bloodlines is still better).
The gameplay of Swansong is based on exploring linear locations using vampire abilities and communicating with mortals or vampires, where the skills of rhetoric characteristic of Kindred are used. The role element is provided with the ability to influence the development of events and the characters themselves.