Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 gameplay trailer is a big letdown for fans

Good combat can only take you so far in an RPG.
Willem, a vampire with a fat face and jagged teeth, screams and distorts the picture.
Screengrab via The Chinese Room

We finally got the opportunity to see what Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is really all about and, unfortunately, there’s not much to it. The 30-minute-long gameplay reveal showed lots of blood and guts and almost no good dialogue or RPG elements the franchise has become synonymous with.

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On Jan. 31, the extended gameplay reveal for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 came out, alongside a new gameplay trailer showcasing the many mechanics of Paradox Interactive’s upcoming RPG. It follows the exploits of Phyre, a pre-built main character of Brujah background. Players will have the option of picking their clans and customizing Phyre, though the extent of said customization appears to be fairly limited for a Bloodlines title. The 30-minute showcase highlights the game’s mechanics, from stealth to open combat to dialogue to “detective vampire” gameplay revolving around puzzles.

The response to the reveal has been lackluster at best. Depending on who’s hosting the video, the dislike ratios range around the 30 to 40 percent mark and the comments are not much better. Most players responding indicate the lack of customization, the nonsensical inclusion of a prebuilt playable character (defeating the purpose of an RPG), and the lack of quality in terms of writing and voice acting. The dialogue options also oddly resemble those found in Fallout 4, which were harshly criticized by the 2015 audiences, and one would think studios would have learned from those times. Alas, they did not.

The graphical fidelity and animations of the showcased game also fall short of a AAA release in 2024, and one that’s supposedly been in development for many years. They feel janky, unpolished, and generally look stiff. It still is an earlier build of the game, but even the cutscenes are just the bog-standard “zoom-in and talk” found in so many Bethesda and Arkane games—but somehow worse from a technical aspect.

The writing and voice acting feel cheap, uninspired, and unprofessional. The reveal only focuses on the game’s intro sequence, and I already want to mute all the characters. It may be that Baldur’s Gate 3 has spoiled me with its standard of quality in the acting department.

The options for gameplay seem to be on par with other RPG games of the sort, even the game’s predecessor, and we’ve only seen one vampire clan in action here. The first Bloodlines offered vastly different gameplay for each clan, with one even requiring the player to use the sewer system exclusively, as any light or sight could be harmful. If the developers pulled similar things off here, it may be a saving grace. At the moment, it doesn’t seem Bloodlines 2 will live up to the quality and expectations set by the original game, but may perhaps survive as a solid beat-em-up, if not a stellar vampire RPG.

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Author

Andrej Barovic
Gaming since childhood, Andrej spends most of his time ranting on how games used to be. He's been a writer for over two years, combining his love for literature and passion for video games. He's usually around after dark, grinding his way through the latest FromSoftware release or losing his mind on Summoner's Rift.