Don't let the title or topic scare you, let the intro!
For starters, when you get done installing the game, you'll start to feel very cold and lonely as you let the intro finish up. From there, it just gets better. Extreme detail went into this game to make it engrossing and enthralling.
The graphics are as good, and occasionally far superior to, anything else out there. Some scenes are truly stunning, and you'll find yourself re-loading a saved game to see it again and again. Spell effects are superb, and the "floating camera" angles and the ability to control the camera are just fantastic.
The sound is excellent to. Between the background music and the sound effects and the dark, dank tone of everything, it just adds to the whole experience.
There are plenty of weapons and armor throughout the game, and the differences in weapons (bashing, slashing, etc.) actually make a BIG difference.
The story is totally encompassing, and it isn't too long or drawn out that you'll get annoyed with it. Everything has been timed so that you get new spells/weapons/toys just at the time you need them.
There's plenty of character development (though die-hard fans of Vampire may not like being forced to be one clan), and you even get to develop the characters who join your group.
I hate to admit there's something wrong with a game this great. But not admitting them would be just wrong.
There are some glitches to the game. The stark example of this is a dead character who shows up at a cutscene to do some talking.
Party memebers are rather idiotic. You can set some options to make them smarter, but I find that if you give them an inch, they'll abuse it (insert joke about a better idiot here).
Extrememly limited replay value. Oh, how I hate this one. Something you need to understand is that, in the Vampire world, everything is based on destiny. Nothing you do will ultimately effect where you go next. There are choices throughout the game as to what you want to do, but ultimately, it doesn't matter. I've been waiting for another Vampire game, but, alas.
The Bottom Line
I've never played the paper and pencil version of Vampire, and I didn't need to. The game is excellent at teaching you as you go (no stupid tutorial here, it tells you how to play the game as you go, and ties it in with the story).
For sheer story-lovers, this is your game. For hack and slash, you might really like the mix of hack and spell-casting, but you can't totally forget about evertying else.
Occasionally you'll feel like a general trying to order around a bunch of six-year-olds, but take some time, and it'll pay off big.
Oh yeah, don't let a six-year-old see or hear this game. He'll have nightmares for weeks!