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Video Game Review – Vampire: The Masquerade: Justice

What is Vampire: The Masquerade: Justice?

Become a vampire. Strike from the darkness and drink the blood of your prey. Use stealth, persuasion, and an arsenal of upgradable abilities to sneak past enemies undetected or punish the guilty in the seedy backstreets of nighttime Venice.

Review

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE: JUSTICE is a virtual reality video game that is available on the Playstation 5, Meta Quest 2, and Meta Quest 3. It is set in the World of Darkness published by Paradox Interactive and, more specifically, the Vampire: The Masquerade setting if the name wasn’t a big enough tip off. The setting is an urban fantasy horror setting where supernatural creatures live among us and wage covert wars for power.

The premise is you are a member of the Banu Haqim clan, formally a bunch of assassins but now having moved to a more generic “justice” motif. Specifically, you are a member of the clan called “Justice” so points for branding, I guess. Justice’s sire has been murdered by parties unknown and a sacred relic of the clan has been stolen. Justice must journey to the city of Venice and murder his way through rival clan, the Hecata, to avenge his sire as well as recover the relic.

I’m not a big fan of VR and only the fact that I am a big fan of the World of Darkness has me investigating any of these games whatsoever. I’m hardly alone in this opinion and it’s something that will immediately turn off a lot of gamers. However, the fact that being a vampire intrinsically appeals to a lot of gamers as well. This means that this is the kind of game that is tailor made for VR. Horror and first-person perspectives are also something that works well together as Resident Evil VII (also an excellent purchase for VR) shows.

The no-nonsense short review of the game is that it feels very much like a stripped-down version of Dishonored, which isn’t an insult but may be damning with faint praise. Justice is a serviceable character but he’s very much on the generic side of things. He doesn’t like his sire and he’s mostly doing this entire adventure out of obligation rather than genuine feeling. This makes it hard to become invested in the game’s campaign as support character, Pietro the Nosferatu, was held prisoner by the Hecata for sixteen years and seems like he would have been a more interesting perspective to follow.

The villains are similarly generic with Tomasso Giovanni, Elena Giovanni, and the mysterious Masked One. If you are familiar with Cults of the Blood Gods, you will probably have no idea what they’re talking about when they refer to the Cappadocians and Samedi taking over the Clan. The most interesting character in the game, as mentioned, is Pietro. The Nosferatu serves as your guide through Venice and seethes with vengeance because the Hecate not only used him as a juice bag for their experiments but killed his mortal family as well.

The gameplay is stealth based with Justice having a “blink” ability very similar to Corvo in Dishonored. You sneak around corners, go through vents, and use a miniature wrist-mounted crossbow to either drug or kill the countless ghouls wandering around Venice. Sometimes you must deal with security cameras and other times you need to use your powers. To refill your blood meter, you can and should chow down on literally hundreds of guards to keep yourself in top form.

You go through various levels with no real choices or alternate paths to take. It is a linear story and ends pretty much in the same place no matter whether you sneak past the guards or triple Venice’s yearly murder rate. But distilled to brass tacks: it’s fun. This is 4-6 hours of gameplay, depending how good you are, and none of it is an hour wasted. The graphics are serviceable but nothing spectacular.

The fact I paid thirty dollars rather than sixty also shows that it’s reasonably priced for the experience. Would I have preferred a sixty-dollar version of the with a more elaborate story, various weapons, and choices available for regular console play? Probably. However, this is a game free of jank and disastrous choices in a sea of more ambitious ones full of both. Go to Venice, kill the necromancers, get back the statue. Drink a lot of blood along the way. There are worse ways to waste a couple of days.

Available here

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