The newest Big Bad Wolf release, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, brings the latest entry into the Masquerade franchise. Released this month to a majority of devices, Swansong is a narrative-driven RPG that brings players back to the world of vampires and their eternal game of blood and politics. So we, of course, wanted to check it out. You can find out how it is with our review of the Big Bad Wolf release Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong.
Story: A world of blood, politics, and intrigue
Playing through the story, the player will uncover conspiracies, deals, and threats that all impact the outcome of the vampires in the city of Boston. Swansong will begin with an event gone wrong, an attack, and everything is in disarray. Galeb Bazory, Leysha, and Emem Louis will be tasked by Hazel, the prince of Boston, to find out what happened and who’s responsible. Exploring the various locations, the player will investigate finding communications, notes, and audio that will unravel more of the mystery.
The story that unfolds in Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a connection story, while loosely, it begins to develop what may be fully explored in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. The player will be introduced to one of the main antagonists. For those who are more familiar with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Swansong is not the next significant addition to the franchise.
Instead, Swansong and Bloodhunt are in between games meant to fill out the story more and introduce players to this world of vampires. Both of these titles, in different ways, explain more about what is happening in this world of vampires, leading up to the titular release of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, which currently has no announced release date as of yet. So if you’re excited about the upcoming release of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Swansong will sure give you a chance to immerse yourself in that world for a little bit.
Gameplay: A slow narrative-driven investigation into the world of Vampires
The player will jump into the prologue, starting with Leysha and kicking off the events. After the prologue, the player can then select between Bazory, Leysha, or Emem, tasked with heading out to investigate the circumstances of the attack. Exploring the different locations to look for clues, talking to the various characters, and piecing it together will be challenging. Fortunately, players will be able to select from multiple skills and traits that will assist them in unlocking added conversation options.
Skulking around rooms like a spy, digging through drawers, bags, and cabinets, and using your powers to recall events. Digging through a history of secrets and violence, the player will have to dive through tons of text, audio, and conversations. This level of information gathering can be cumbersome for some but is necessary to the gameplay as gathering pieces of information will move the questline and aid in important conversations.
The team at Big Bad Wolf has also added new gameplay mechanics to these conversations, creating a conversation boss fight. These boss fights will have consequences that will reach the end of the game and have the player use their skills and discovered information to assist them in having a conversation that can offer further foresight into the attack. Again, the player will have to use their abilities to create the best outcome but beware of using them too often, which can have far-reaching consequences.
We found the game isn’t exactly exciting during our review, playing Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong. You won’t be fighting bad guys or running around the city of Boston. Instead, much of this game’s tension is built around the conversations and investigations in these small areas that will unfold throughout the game. The multiple-choice and consequence system is the backbone of this game. The skills you will improve will mainly be helpful during conversations, unlocking more choices.
Graphics/Audio: Beautiful but flawed
Like many games that we’re playing today, the team at Big Bad Wolf decided that their game Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong would also sport the fantastic Unreal Engine. So while players won’t be able to explore the open world of Boston, they’ll be treated to a handful of beautiful interiors and character models. Swansong is the first real look at what a new Masquerade title might look like in the future.
Unfortunately, Swansong is a conversation-based game. You’ll spend a lot of time watching characters talk. This is where Swansong kind of falls apart, with facial features that bring you back to Mass Effect: Andromeda. You get poorly timed surprise eyes and mouths that have yet to figure out speech. In addition, there is a general weirdness to the animations in Swansong. Hopefully, the team at Big Bad Wolf will have some of these issues corrected with some updates to their release Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong.
Conclusion: A narrative and lore filled world that’s not for everyone
If you’re looking forward to the upcoming release Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, then Swansong will certainly scratch that itch for now. It’s a short game that will let you wade back into the world of vampire politics, espionage, and blood before returning to the epic franchise. But, unfortunately, it might be a bit pricey for some at $49.99 for the Standard and $59.99 for the Primogen editions.
Interested after reading our review of the Big Bad Wolf release Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong. You can find it on PC via the Epic Games Store, Playstation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X|S. Additionally, if you want to learn more about Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, you can check the title’s product page, and you can check out the development page for the team at Big Bad Wolf to find out more about the devs of this title.
- Lore filled world
- Beautiful world design
- Clever conversation mechanics
- Presentation makes for a confusing story
- Puzzles can be dull