There’s been a deluge of content dropping out of E3 like pedo conversations dropping in the Discord channels of ResetEra, and it’s been tough trying to keep up with all. However, we’re slowly getting around to some of the more pertinent pieces and one of them includes 18 and a half minutes of pre-alpha gameplay footage that was rolled out from the show floor by IGN… and it wasn’t pretty.
Now you might be thinking that the issue is a technical one, or a graphical one, or a visual one, but no. The problem is that apparently IGN had a Dean Takahashi moment and the YouTube audience ate out their culo harder than a Ricardo Milos Mandingo buffet. You can check out the 18 minute video below via IGN’s YouTube channel.
The video starts with three choices for the Thinblood discipline.
This includes Chiropteran for those who like to rely on supernatural abilities such as bats and swarms.
Mentalism is based around manipulating objects and using telekinetic abilities on victims.
Nebulation is based on using mists and fog to your advantage, including being able to choke victims. Like a poor alley-man’s version of the Force.
The video starts in side an apartment and from there the player makes their way down the stairs and outside, where the mist-filled night of Seattle envelops the player.
From there the player heads down the street and into a dance club, where some sexy chill-step DnB plays in the background. Upstairs the player meets with a contact and we see how the dialogue tree system works.
The player is then given a mission to track down a Thinblood named Slugg and proceeds through the Seattle downtown area to the location.
The player-character then meets with a dude who gives him another mission before telling him where to find Slugg, which leads to the player toward the underground entrance where they engage in some pretty pathetic looking combat, but mainly because the IGN journalist didn’t seem to understand how to play.
They proceed to chase a dude through some sewers and then go and beat up a bunch of women with guns. The combat looks kind of janky, but not as bad as Fallout 4.
Eventually the player character encounters Slugg and proceeds with the mission.
After an absolutely embarrassing fight scene that the IGN player handled worse than a CW show filmed in Vancouver, they eventually talk to Slugg again… and kill him.
Between these moments we do get to see some of the vertical traversal systems and the city scaling. It’s not quite parkour, but there’s an ample amount of freedom afforded to the player in order to make their way around both the upper and lower parts of Seattle.
Unfortunately, the gameplay video is marred by constant finicky movements and amateurish combat tactics employed by whoever was playing at IGN. This did not go unnoticed by the YouTube gaming community.
The comment about the guy using a 17th century ship as the controls actually seems about accurate.
The main issue is that it seems like they can’t properly navigate with the right analog. I’m not sure what was going on there but it was as if they were wearing the Batman suit from Tim Burton’s classic 1989 film and could only fully rotate after stopping and turning.
Then again, maybe it was the control settings that they had setup for the demo? Or the controller was broke? Or maybe the sensitivity wasn’t properly defined? Whatever the case, it didn’t quite do any justice to Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2‘s first gameplay outing.
It’s hard to tell how good the combat systems work when the player was shuffling around like a drunk zombie on stilts, and the AI had a tendency to group up, making everything feel… like a pre-alpha demo.
Now hopefully they improve the AI path navigation, because that was my biggest issue with the way the AI navigated the environments. They acted as if they had really small path-finding zones and narrow cones leading them toward short, unimaginative and robotic positioning during combat.
More nodes, more movement, and more activity from the AI would drastically improve combat, especially in areas where there are multiple routes and layers to move around in and through.
Actual combat animations weren’t bad, and the weapons looked decent enough. Hit detection was on point, and the rag-doll physics were silly but acceptable.
What wasn’t cool was the constant NPC voiceovers during combat. That was grating and annoying. Hopefully they turn the frequency of voice reactions during combat way down.
I’m waiting to see what more of it looks like before making a final judgment on the gameplay itself. The early talks about it being “political” and all the other typical talking points shuffled in from the Left (i.e., such as pronouns and decrying masucline power fantasies) absolutely raised massive red flags and instantly turned me off. The accompanying censorship of the forums from people criticizing the game didn’t help either.
There’s definitely a lot of potential there, though. The best parts of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is easily the atmosphere and city design. The moody depiction of a night-embraced Seattle almost feels like a daedal depiction of a modern day Gothic society that was brought to life based on an intricately detailed novel.
Unfortunately, if the game gets bogged down in its own politics, or if they fail to address some of the glaring AI issues, then the visual splendor of the northwest city could end up going completely to waste.