Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption

aka: Vampire: Die Maskerade - Redemption, Vampire: La Mascarade - Rédemption
Moby ID: 1709
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$5.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

It is the Middle Ages in Europe, and people live in constant fear of demons and God's punishment. Christof is a warrior who fights the creatures of darkness. After being badly injured in a battle, he is nursed back to health by the nun Anezka in a Prague convent. Love strikes Christof when he least expects it. He realizes that it is impossible for him and Anezka to be together, but he swears to protect her and the town of Prague from demons. What he does not know is that Prague has become a battlefield for the struggle between different vampire clans. The Brujah clan sees a duty in protecting their wisdom and the unsuspecting mortals from the more vicious clans. They turn Christof into a vampire, hoping to use his skills and his passion for their cause.

Christof has lost his soul, his faith, everything he had ever had, becoming one of those he had always fought and hated. But his love to Anezka has not died. And so Christof agrees to help the Brujah, getting involved in a complex net of intrigues and struggle between vampire clans, a struggle that will eventually take him to modern times, to London and New York, where his fate will finally be decided.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption is based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. Much of the game is dedicated to exploring hostile locations, fighting enemies (mostly other vampires) to complete missions and advance the storyline. Gaining experience points, the player develops Christof and other characters by increasing their statistics (such as Strength, Intelligence, Manipulation etc.) or learning and improving various disciplines, the magic spells of the game. Disciplines require blood, which can be restored with items or by feeding on enemies.

Combat is action-oriented. The player can directly control only one member of the party ("coterie"); the rest are controlled by AI. It is possible to switch between different characters at any time. Following the ethical code of the RPG, there is a Humanity bar for Christof, which can be reduces if the player decides to kill innocents or make evil decisions in the game. The game has several different endings that depend on the protagonist's Humanity level. There is also a multiplayer option.

Spellings

  • Vampire: בעל המסכה - Hebrew spelling
  • 吸血鬼: 假面舞会 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Windows version)

269 People (195 developers, 74 thanks) · View all

Producer
Press Relations
Executive Producer
External Test Coordinator
Global Brand Manager
Associate Brand Manager
Marketing Director Germany
Brand Manager Germany
PR Director Germany
VP of CS/QA
Staff Planning Lead
QA Senior Project Lead
QA Project Lead
Production Testers
QA Testers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 52 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 88 ratings with 7 reviews)

Don't let the title or topic scare you, let the intro!

The Good
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.

The Bad
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!

Windows · by Cyric (50) · 2001

Love at First Bite? Um, no.

The Good
The graphics were quite good for their time, and the sound effects were superlative. The voice acting, with a couple of exceptions, was solid, and the characters were three-dimensional, i.e. they had their own dreams, aspirations, and agendas.

The Bad
To anyone who ever played the pen and paper version of this game, this is a horrible oversimplification and insult to their intelligence. The pen and paper version is a game that puts its emphasis on the story and the surroundings, building a sense of tragedy and futility juxtaposed with the eerie savagery of not being human anymore. This was apparently forgotten by the writers of the computer game's plot, who instead chose to use every stereotype they could think of from the pen and paper version. Playing the campaign in this game was like playing in a Vampire adventure ran by a barely literate moron who thinks "bittersweet" is a rather nasty form of chocolate. The artificial intelligence of the enemies in the game was almost non-existent, consisting of running around a lot and randomly attacking, almost always one at a time. Several times, the enemy simply stood there and let me kill them, even with the latest patch installed. In addition, the save system that shipped with the original version was horrendous; you could not save the game except at a save point, which was located in your haven! You might have to travel several levels deep into a difficult dungeon, and if you die, you would have to repeat hours and hours of game play. A patch remedied this to being able to save anywhere, but for a game released in 2000, and not being a console port, that is borderline criminal. Finally, the multiplayer mode was a complete failure. The editor was cumbersome and limited, and the graphics could not be altered without a degree in computer science. Playing online with strangers was not a viable alternative, either, as they would either kill you on sight, or make it their goal to annoy you to the brink of insanity.

The Bottom Line
If you have never played the pen and paper version of Vampire, go ahead and try this, because it will give you a very simple idea of what the real rpg is all about. Similarly, if you enjoy dumb-downed rpg's, by all means, play this game. However, if you are a veteran gamer, either computer or pen and paper, avoid this at all costs, because it will make you sad; for ultimately, this is a game that could have been great, but barely achieves mediocrity.

Windows · by Daniel Reed (28) · 2002

Brujahs and Malkavians of all countries, unite!

The Good
I've heard different opinions about this game; one of the most popular definitions was "Diablo with a better story and clumsy combat".

Indeed, Redemption has similarities to that famous title, being combat-heavy and pretty straightforward. However, it's a bit more sophisticated, integrating rules from a complex role-playing universe it tries to recreate in a computerized form. The core mechanics are simple: you have a party of up to four characters, and you can switch between the active characters at any time. You can also go into solo mode and navigate each of the characters separately, which opens new possibilities for battle tactics. You can spend the experience points you earn to upgrade your characters' basic statistics, or to teach them disciplines, the magic spells of the game. The main attributes all make a difference, including not only obvious ones such as strength or stamina, but also more refined manipulation or appearance. They affect certain disciplines, and if you want to specialize in some of them, you must raise the corresponding attribute before you can actually handle the spells. There are vampire-exclusive things here you won't find in your usual RPG. For example, the source of magic spells is your own blood, and one of the ways to replenish it is to feed on your enemies, which in its turn requires a special discipline in five different levels that determine its efficiency.

There is a wide variety of disciplines to learn. From the standard healing and buff spells to summoning wolves to fight for you and making enemies admire your beauty, there is quite a bit of stuff to experiment with. Although characters have different basic attributes (for example, Eric is not really well-suited to be a mage because of his raw strength and low wits and intelligence), you are unrestricted as to how you want to develop them further. Different vampires have different disciplines (like Gangrels having Animalism, which allows all kinds of communications and summoning animals), but you can also find tomes of magic in the game which will teach the appropriate discipline anyone you use it on. In short, there are many possibilities, and you'll definitely want to replay the game to exploit them all. It's a RPG that makes you think before finally deciding how you want to spend your hard-earned experience points, and that's just what I love in RPGs: choice.

Speaking of choice, there is also moral role-playing in the game, something I appreciate very much. In this game, vampires are not just cruel, soulless beasts. Various vampire clans have their own morality codes. There is a humanity attribute for all party members, which influences a variety of things, from weapons and armors the character can equip to their ethical views. Everything you do is recorded by the game, affecting your humanity level. Kill innocent people while feeding on them and you'll lose humanity. Bravely stand up against a vampire prince and defend your ethical principles, and your humanity will raise. You will influence the plot and achieve different endings depending on how much humanity you have left. You'll have to make decisions during the course of the game, which include some really interesting moral choices. For example, a person wants to die and asks you to kill him - what do you think is the more humane thing to do, to satisfy his wish or to refuse? The choice is yours.

There is a lot of other RPG-related goodness in the game. The hardcore dungeon crawling, the scope of regular battles, the challenging bosses. There is an insane amount of items scattered around, so every dungeon crawl is also a treasure hunt. You'll open enough treasure chests and break enough barrels to satisfy your collector's instinct. There are tons of weapons, armor, accessories, and magic scrolls in the game you can find in dungeons or buy. Melee and ranged weapons (bows in medieval times, guns in modern times), two-handed weapons, different kind of damage to deal and to protect from (bashing, lethal, aggravated), and so on. Once again, you'll have to think when visiting a shop and looking at the long list of wares.

The battle system was heavily criticized by many people, but I don't think the criticisms were justified. I think it was judged as an action game, which it is not. It is an RPG, and a challenging one at that. In RPGs the outcome of battles depends more on preparation, good strategy, and character building than on finger dexterity. You won't achieve anything by madly rushing through the dungeons, hacking away at enemies. You'll be outnumbered, surrounded, and killed. That's why it is unfair to say that the combat in Redemption is bad because it takes time to kill the enemies. There is a lot of variety in character building and plenty of little tricks that will help you survive. You can send a character solo, luring away enemies one-by-one and then attacking with the entire party. You can use long-ranged weapons to trigger the attention of enemies, then run away, or charge with melee weapons. There are many disciplines that will make battles easier - different kinds of magic and supporting spells, various ways of replenishing your health and blood, and other stuff to try out. Enemy AI is anything but brain-dead; for example, enemies would run away when low on health, and heal themselves, forcing you to chase and to corner them. The combat has much more depth than your usual action-based system, but there is still a good feeling of addictive hack-and-slash in the fast-paced battles.

Redemption has a highly original and attractive setting. Instead of your typical fantasy realm or sci-fi with robots and spaceships, the game is set in the real world. The unique twist is the separation of the game into two parts: Middle Ages and modern times. The first part of the game is set in the medieval Prague and Vienna, while the second will take you to modern-day London and New York. While the historical Middle Ages setting alone is already quite unusual and refreshing, the inclusion of modern times brings a new dimension to it. This is decidedly one of the coolest settings I have ever seen in a game. It is simply a blast to spend half of the game running through the narrow streets of Vienna, equipped with bows and swords, and the other half visiting bars and clubs in New York, wielding pistols and rifles. Everything changes drastically, you have plasma bags instead of blood potions, and computer hackers in your party instead of axe-wielding barbarians. The contrast between "ye olde medieval" era and the modern time with its pop culture is just too cool to pass. It's also quite funny to see Christof adapting himself to our epoch with contemporary attire, or the Brujah vampires turning from wise guardians of occult lore into punks.

It is possible to see that this game is set in a well-crafted, detailed universe. The different vampire clans are very interesting, and each has its own personality. Noble Brujah and insane Malkavians; arrogant, treacherous Ventrue and cowardly magic-using Tremere - you'll meet all kinds of people in the world of darkness. Everything here has its own history, "parallel" to the history of our real world, so the whole imaginary setting becomes really convincing. Legends, rituals, traditions, ethical codes, mythology and literature - everything is here to make the world more credible. When you fight against a certain vampire clan, you never fight just against some "bad guys". You are given information about them, reasons to why they behave as they do, their culture and traditions. This is noticeable in many details. For example, as you fight your way through hordes of ghouls faithful to the Lasombra clan, one of the characters will note that Lasombra are obsessed with painting and portraits because they cannot see their reflection in mirrors. Just a small detail, but one that gives you some insight on the enemy.

Redemption boasts an epic plot that attracts the player with its scope and emotionality. Essentially a darkly romantic love story, it can become quite fascinating to follow thanks to the captivating initial predicament and the way it unfolds through several centuries in one powerful arc. Most of the characters who join your party or appear as supportive or opposing figures are interesting, or colorful and exotic at the very least. By the way, the quality of the game's dialogues is surprisingly high. The English language of the game is rich and sometimes complex. Every person speaks in their own manner. Most of the conversations are cleverly structured and are a pleasure to read. Colorful expressions, irony, anger, compassion, and humor are clearly manifested in those dialogues. The modern times conversations are particularly amusing and well-written. I was literally laughing out loud during the conversation with Dev/Null, the Malkavian computer geek. The voice acting, often the weakest link in many games of that time, is totally acceptable here - while some lines sound over-acted or too bland, most of the dialogue is delivered with appropriate emotion.

Some people would argue that the strongest aspect of this game is its atmosphere. Indeed, Redemption has exceptional atmosphere that will draw you into the game world the moment you look at the title screen. I played this game usually during the day, but I was genuinely immersed into its world and felt as if I were there. The world is crafted in such a way that you'll have no doubts concerning its reality. Having good graphics alone would not be enough to create such an ambiance. That said, the technical quality of the graphics is outstanding; Redemption is easily one of the best-looking games of its generation. But what really makes those graphics stand out is their artistic quality. The locations of the game come to life because they were created with inspiration and aesthetic guidance. Every dungeon is unique. Even though most of the locations in the game are dark and macabre, there is a great variety within this color palette. This is not achieved by throwing in buckets of blood and scary monsters. Just look carefully at the detailed design of the locations, the architecture, materials, objects, everything that makes a location real, and you'll see that the power of this game's atmosphere comes from the creativity of its artists.

On top of that, the music in the game is fantastic. Once again, it is mostly of the same kind - dark, depressing, and threatening - but there is so much subtle beauty in it that you'll find yourself stopping and just listening to the music. It fits the game perfectly and is another important factor in creating its marvelous atmosphere. The sound effects are also great. You'll just have to listen to the characters' moaning when they feed on enemies, the creepy noise of ghosts' attacks, the sound of steps in a seemingly empty corridor, anticipating enemies that await you around the corner...

The Bad
My beef with this promising - and mostly satisfying - game is that it could have clearly been more. With its rich lore and gameplay system, it could have become the role-playing giant of its generation. Instead, it turned out to be a great experience without necessarily being a truly great RPG.

You spend most of your time in the game in the dungeons. The friendly areas seem reasonably large until you realize you'll be returning to the same hubs to sell loot and go on another mission. There is no choice involved in traveling: you go somewhere simply because the game sends you there. There is a lot of fun to be had in the dungeons, and the game's plot-driven nature makes the linearity somewhat more bearable; but it's a pity that the role-playing rules, tailor-made for rich exploration and interaction, were not better realized in this game.

Lack of NPC contact is another serious issue. Many people wander the city streets, yet the only way you can interact with them is by attacking or feeding on them. You can only have conversations with important characters. This doesn't make the cities of Redemption any less atmospheric, but certainly detracts from its depth as an RPG. You'd think that this flaw can really destroy the game, but surprisingly, you'll want to spend time in this world even though you can't talk to most of its inhabitants. I just can't help thinking what this game could have become if it had player-driven dialogues with unimportant NPCs.

The battle system has its problems. The pathfinding is not always optimal. Sometimes party members get stuck or circle around mindlessly while the enemy hacks away at me. Party AI could have been better - your party members would waste valuable spells on easy enemies, run to attack when they are low on health, etc. The biggest downside of the battles is the lack of damage feedback. Sure, you can feel that you're killing enemies quicker when you have more strength or a better weapon, but how big is the difference exactly? You can see that the enemy is bleeding under your attacks, but how much health did he really lose? As in some other conversions from pen-and-paper RPG systems, luck plays an important role in the combat of Redemption, and therefore the battles are not always well balanced.

The original, unpatched version of the game comes with a terrible save system. You can only save in your haven, or rely on auto-saves between different levels. In a game that is not very easy to begin with, it is just an additional frustration factor. Fortunately, it was corrected in the patch: in the upgraded version you can save anywhere you want.

The Bottom Line
Redemption is far from perfect, being neither a particularly fulfilling adaptation of the pen-and-paper rules nor an important factor in the development of RPGs. That said, it is quite engrossing in its own way, atmospheric and even addictive with its simple gameplay, and the epic ride from medieval towns to modern-day metropolises is not something you'll see a lot.

Now go away, mortal, and play this game, or we shall embrace thee before sunrise!

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181794) · 2015

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Game Resources for New Players phantom goat Nov 10, 2016
How do I run this on modern OS? (and getting a way to run in a window) BlaringCoder (169) Jun 30, 2016

Trivia

Credits

The post-game credits end with the following statement: "No szlachtas were harmed in the making of this game", followed by "Okay, well, maybe just one or two". The szlachtas are a common species of monsters you encounter in several dungeons of the game.

Endings

The game has several endings, depending on Christof's humanity level at the end of the game. All the endings have completely different flavours and should be tried out.

German version

In the German version, all blood and gore effects were removed.

Reflections

Some early ads showed that the vampire characters were unable to cast reflections (as per standard vampiric lore). This was changed for the final release, as in White Wolf's World of Darkness being reflection-less is a unique trait of the Lasombra clan (this is also used as a plot device in the game).

Information also contributed by Unicorn Lynx and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Matthew Bailey.

Macintosh added by Corn Popper.

Additional contributors: Kic'N, Unicorn Lynx, Jony Shahar, Naglfar, Hitman23, Xoleras, Havoc Crow, Crawly, Patrick Bregger.

Game added July 11, 2000. Last modified January 23, 2024.