How may of you would say Bloodlines was the best PCRPG of 2004?
I'd be one. I havent had this much with a game in quite a while.
I'd be another...
this is the area troika needs to work on a little more. they've run into the same problem three times in a row, with three different publishers. at some point, they need to recognize that maybe more of the burden for quality QA should be on their shoulders as they take the blame regardless of whether they do the QA or the publisher does the QA.
its almost as if they actually prefer this "out" they have had. judging from their responses about their "hands being tied" in terms of patching and buggy games, it almost seems like they prefer it so that they have a built in excuse when fans complain.
"its not our fault. we want to patch the game. but its our publishers call".
considering they have 3 titles under their belt now, you would hope that if, in fact, this isnt what they want as a security blanket, then theyre established enough to negotiate in the contract to be able to do their own internal QA and patch releases when they see fit. if their next game is just like toee and vtmb, then i think thats a pretty good indication theyd rather do a sloppy job on their games and then hide behind the fact its "not their choice" on whether a patch is made or not.
or maybe im just cynical towards their product after getting burned twice.
I really hope that's not the case...but it DOES have a glimmer of truth.
I'm really liking Bloodlines, and the only "bugs" I've noticed are engine related. The game engine seems like a massive system hog, and I'm not really sure why. Is it just the graphics? They're nice, but I had expected more in terms of game world interaction with the engine.
While I'm having a good time with the game, I wonder how much of a difference replaying with a different clan character would have? I don't really get the impression that anything in the game has any clan relevence, which leads me to my biggest complaint about the game. The PC's dialogue. It's terrible. NPCs have some great dialogue, but the options for my character are embarrassing and quite limited.
I'm sorry, but my Tremere does not say "Dude, that **** is WACK!" or act like some idiot, dolt or thug. Too often I feel like I'm playing Grand Theft Vampire in terms of dialogue.
I also don't see many combat options for replays. And the combat is horrible. Button mashing at it's best.
In other areas though, the game is utterly captivating. Wonderful atmosphere, the music (which I thought I'd dislike) fits very well, the voice acting is solid, graphics are great and there's very little gothic melodrama and angst. Some of the missions are truly engrossing, and it looks like Troika had a lot of fun with this. There's some great humour and some real edgy stuff.
I'd feel pretty confident in giving it RPG Of The Year overall, though with the caveat that my cRPG experience in 2004 was made up of playing old games, and I don't own a console so I'm looking soley at PC games.
A. How much have you invested into the 'Charisma' and 'Research' Skilltrees. Both affect persuasion IIRC, and change your dialouge options significantly. All three characters I've played so far I've invested heavily in those trees (Toreador, Malkavian, and Tremere), and it changed the options significantly. The amount of Humanity you have also affects your dialogue options, so I'd advise keeping it as full as you can. With a vamp with full Humanity, and high persuasion, I usually found there's polite responses for schmoozing, and one or two impolite/sarcastic responses to piss people off (because you're a 'badass vampire').
B. I believe (though I'm not sure as I'm no coder) that a lot of the problems with the speeds were due not only to the memory leaks (sloppy coding) but lack of engine optimization (double sloppy coding). I accessed the console just to see what cvars were in it, and found that the 'physcannon' cvar is in it, even though that's a holdover from the Grav-Gun in HL2. I imagine there's more too...'noclip' is there as well; but I found that was pretty useful anyway for instance in the Chantry, for whatever reason, if you turn 'noclip' on, you'll find the Newsroom that's always on the TV is in the same map, you can jet up there now that you've can't hit any of the game's walls, and for whatever reason, there's a $150 Money Clip sitting in the corner of the newsroom.
Try to play as a Toreador, and then try to play as a Nosferatu. You will see the difference. You cannot dream of playing Nosferatu running around the streets, and count on maintaining the Masquarade.
Here are some comments on what annoyed me:
* The first thing that annoys me is the bugs. Yes I did see the bugs. One was where the game crashed when trying to travel by boat. And the other one is when I have to push a thingy that blocks a door, and nothing happens. The door continues to be blocked. Both are fixable with giving console commands, but it shouldn't be that way.
* Second thing is that some bosses can only be defeated by "tactics" - meaning by figuring out the weaknesses of the AI, and using them to your advantage.
* Thirdly, while I like the fact that for a change I could play a roguish character and actually sneak my way through everything. The better I got, the odder it became. For example I could break windows without anyone seeing me.
* Once again, the developers think that you are either plaing male, or female gay... except for one male ghoul, you can only flirt around with females....
* Combining together shootemup action with skills, makes for frustrating combat. Why do I have to aim right with the gun, when the skill of my character makes it miss anyway?? And if I as a player don't aim good enough, then I'll miss, no matter the skill of the character.
* Also, why give you possibility to build a character who sucks at fighting, when the only way to win the game, is by fighting?? and lots of fighting..
* Oh.. and the fact that I can't choose if I want to fight 1st or 3rd person. Every time I unsheath a melee weapon, the game goes to 3rd person view!
* The flamethrower!!! BOOOOOOOOH!!! :angry:
OK, now to all the pluses
* The fact that you don't get xp per kill, but per finished quest is something I really love. You could say that you get xp per encounter, or goal-oriented xp. Sometimes not killing all the opponents (or actually not killing any of them) gives you more xp, then killing.
* the fact that the gameplay differs according to what clan you belong to, and what skills you have. Different quests can be finished in many different ways. YAY!! (pitty, that this is true mostly to sidequests)
* the feeling that you are just a pawn among scheming vampires, not a big hero, is a big thing for me. You don't get acknowledged for your skills, untill pretty much the end of the game. Also, you know that the prince sends you out, not because he acutally thinks that you accomplish his quests, but because he thinks that you'll probably die and cease to be his problem. But if you, for some unkown reason manage to fulfill the quest - that's a gain for him as well.
* the ovarall feeling of the game, that you are taking on things you better should leave alone, that you have been dragged into something you don't really want to be part of, but don't have any choice anymore.
* The severed arm!!! And it's all I have to say about it
Do you know what I would have loved to have in the game? Don't laugh. But I would have loved romance plot with Nine Rodriguez
I had that problem too my first playthrough, I imagine you turned on 'noclip'. However, while it may APPEAR the bar won't move, you just have to be at the VERY edge of it to get it to move. All I can figure is one of their cleverly placed 'invisible walls' jutted out a little too far there.
2. Female characters are more useful because there's more mission critical targets to manipulate via seduction. However if you REALLY feel like seducing the chicks in the bars, you can either ramp up your Appearance and Subterfuge skills manually, or use some handy-dandy cvars. I do agree that this was a rather poor choice...but I can see why they made it.
3. Some things I liked about the ways you could manipulate the XP:
When you were setting up a character at the beginning, since you got a set amount of 'levels you could invest in the skill trees rather than having a set amount of XP to upgrade them with, it was more useful to throw all your levels into the same category, saving on XP later.
Troika released a game with a game stopping bug . This is a thing that should never, ever be allowed to happen. Its like selling cars who cant be refueled.
..oh, yeah. And the endings all suck.
Ironically enough, even before I'd heard of that bug I'd never enountered it, and after I had, I've played through it again...still no problems, playing it through a third time now, almost there, I'll be knocking on wood! :ph34r:
As for the endings...