Vampires have always been a topic of interest for many. From the books, the movies, and games, there seems to always be this connection with people. Maybe it’s the setting, the characters, or even the music that helps draw us into the world of Vampires. For some reason, the mystery of it all intrigues people to this day. But does developer, Fast Travel Games, allow us to take a bite out of the fascination of the world of the undead? Let’s find out with Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice for PlayStation VR2.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice is an open-ended, narrative Adventure RPG set in the World of Darkness universe. You have the power to strike fear into the hearts of a criminal underworld as an untraceable shadow, picking off targets one by one. But before you go in feeding off the blood of everything that moves, there are some things that you should be aware of. First, make sure those Sense controllers are fully charged as you don’t want to face something in the dark only not to be able to move because you forgot to charge them, do you? Second, if you decide to play while sitting, just know that you will need just a little bit of arm movement. Third, my gameplay footage did not capture a big bite (I had to) of it, but it did capture from the earlier parts of the game. But as always, I never want to spoil anything for anyone. And finally, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice is set in the World of Darkness series. For those that may not be aware, Vampire: The Masquerade has been around since the 90s and started as a tabletop RPG and then moved on to other variations, including games and DLCs on various platforms. In this edition, you play as Justice, who is part of the Banu Haqim clan, and who is well, out for justice for stealing an ancient relic and killing the clan’s sire.
When you first start, there is something I noticed before any visuals came across the PlayStation VR2 headset, and that was the music followed by what sounded like a woman gasping. Now, I have no idea if that woman gasping was a vampire or one of the unlucky few who met their fate, but it helped set the presence from the start. But when the menu came up, I could see the darkened state of Vince with the shadows of a troubled life, the canals of those who have met their fate, and the overall visual clarity that makes hiding from the pale moonlight and in the shadows something that, I as myself, a vampire, would use to target my prey. And this is all before the game starts. You will want to go into Settings and make sure to test things out such as your Movement speed & rotation, Comfort options, UI Options if you want to have subtitles and objective markers on or off, Body representation (if you want to have arms or just hands as well as play seated or standing), Audio, Language, and receive a brief description of How to Play.
Looking at the controls, you will want to pay attention to where the Bolt, Blink (teleportation), Heightened Senses, and Fire Bolts buttons are located as you will be using these functions, along with Grab, quite as it may become forgettable at times for some when you are playing or advancing your character.
When you have everything as you would like it, or at least as you hope it is, it’s time to start the game, but you will need to select your arms, voice (female or male), and one last time, if you want to play seated or standing. Once started, you are speaking and saying, that since there is not an elder to give the introductions, you will have to do. You learn that Justice is not your real name, but because of your current Vampire state, it really doesn’t matter who you used to be, but who are now.
Through each mission, Justice will narrate to help the story along, and in telling the story, you learn that you killed for the greater good. Your sire, Mahmoud, found ancient texts and relics over the centuries. That’s when we learn that he was killed and that his most prized relics were stolen and to achieve justice for the wrongdoing, you will need to go to Venice. Now that we are basically caught up, the ride on the gondola on the canals of Venice does give an eerie vibe. But it does get you in the tutorial for your adventure.
Trying to get to each point of the mission, the path is not always going to be as simple as you might like. There are times when you will need to climb up walls or across buildings. Just remember, swimming and Vampires are not a good mix even though I tried becoming the first Vampire high dive athlete many times. But remember, you will need to feed your hunger, even if that means grabbing a rat for a quick snack. You do have to worry about enemies while you dodge their fire, but this is part of the fun is deciding their fate. Seeing heartbeats through walls, you get to decide how you will proceed. Do you want to strike from above, try and sneak past them, use your spells, or crossbow? But what about biting the enemy’s neck? Yes, you can do that and it is as satisfying as you might think.
When it comes to the NPCs, you will want to make sure you try and interact with all that you can, as long as they are not trying to shoot you from rooftops, as you never know when it might help move the story along. Besides just missions, you can visit the Inner Sanctum or Pietro’s Hideout. The Inner Sanctum is where you can upgrade your skills to become even more powerful and even select how to interact with characters you want to talk to. Pietro’s Hideout is a secret haven used by the treacherous Toreador vampire, Pietro Giovanni. To reach the secret entrance, you have to solve a puzzle that uses the four elements and inside are many hidden compartments, secret passages, and secrets to unlock.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The graphics do look good on PlayStation VR2. Seeing how eerie Venice can be with darkness appearing on the streets almost inviting you to its space to the gloomy water and seeing the reflections of light hit just right to even having blood spurt out of the necks of humans and rats, needs to be seen. With the sound, you have the music, the voice acting, and just the sounds to help round out the experience as a whole.
There are a few things that I would love to see. First, an adjustment with the enemies. I am not saying make them easier or harder, but there were times when I felt like I was trapped and had to resort to whatever tricks I had to move on. I am not sure if this was by design, but I think many would appreciate having the choice of using violence or finding a rat who may have eaten a Snickers and I could have spared their life, at least for the time being. Second, an NPC touch-up. Some of the NPC looked good and then some looked like they had been a toy of the Vampires who were not drained of their blood completely only to have blood deprivation and not so alive. Third, more puzzles and environments. I loved the setting of Venice here, but I would have loved to see and explore more of it. And finally, more Vampire: The Masquerade. I am not sure if there are plans for more, but there needs to be as playing as a Vampire in VR is a lot of fun.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice gives us a taste of what is possible while leaving enough drops of blood to keep us hungry for more. It knows how to lurk in the shadows and pray upon those who may be unexpected of its bite. Sometimes we know who we think we are supposed to be based on what we have been told, but sometimes in life, we face the mirror of our own reflectionless image and become who we are truly meant to become.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some bonus challenges I need to complete.