Image: Fast Travel Games
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice impressed me at Gamescom 2023. In our preview, I reveal what you can expect from the dark VR game.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice was presented at this year’s Meta Gaming Showcase. The VR spin-off of the role-playing game series from the fantasy universe World of Darkness will be released for Meta Quest 3, Quest 2 and PSVR 2. During my visit to this year’s Gamescom, I was able to play the vampire adventure for a little over an hour at publisher Fast Travel Games and was impressed.
Justice for a vampire
In Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice, you take on the role of the vampire “Justice” and investigate a conspiracy within her own ranks. After the murder of a friend, you receive an anonymous clue that leads you to Venice. The dark atmosphere is already apparent in the story’s introduction.
In a room lit only by candlelight, I stand in front of a desk while Justice summarizes the events so far. Then it’s off to Venice – how could it be otherwise – with a gondola through the narrow canals. As a vampire, I am of course only on the move at night in the Italian tourist stronghold. If you have problems with dark environments in VR, Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice might not be the right VR game for you.
Already a feast for the eyes in Quest 2
Everyone else can look forward to a visually stunning journey through the lagoon city. I row between old buildings in the moonlight, catching glimpses of the narrow alleys I will soon be roaming through, and the surrounding water reflects the few lights that are there.
For a preview version on Quest 2, Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice looks really impressive. On the more powerful Quest 3 and PSVR 2 VR headsets, the graphics and atmosphere should be even better.
Along the way, Justice spills the beans, recalling her dislike for her master who made her who she is today. In these brief passages, Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice cleverly builds up the protagonist without interrupting the flow of the game with cutscenes or long reading passages.
I also have radio contact with my mysterious informant, who gives me useful tips. The quality of the voice acting here is excellent.
The Children of the Night creep around silently
To be able to grab objects in my environment, Vampire: The Masquerade gives me telekinesis. I point my hand at an object, press RG or LG, quickly move the controller towards me, and the object is in my hand.
In addition, there are powerful vampire abilities such as “Blink”, which allows me to cover distances of several meters at top speed. This teleportation allows me to cross canals, reach high windows, or eliminate enemies quickly and unnoticed. To do this, I hold down the B button, aim, and press the right trigger.
To sneak silently through the darkness as a child of the night, I also have to climb walls. The climbing passages are typical VR with grabbing and pulling and remind me of The Climb or Horizon Call of the Mountain.
When searching for clues, I can use Justice’s “heightened senses”. When I hold down the left trigger, details in the environment light up. This helps me find small items faster, and arrows show me where to go next.
When the blood thirst comes
Of course, as a vampire, I can’t do without a certain amount of bloodlust, and I need to tap into a main artery from time to time. When I use vampire abilities like the Blink, the hunger increases, and eventually, I cannot use my abilities. I also regenerate health by sucking blood.
I have a kind of watch on the inside of my wrist, so I can check the gauge at any time. Drinking works exactly as you would imagine: I sneak up behind a person, grab them by the neck, and move my head toward the carotid artery. There is a cracking sound, blood spurts out, and I can see on a display how much of my “drink” is left in the vessel.
Optionally, I can also complete a bonus challenge in the levels and finish them as a pacifist. In this case, I’m not allowed to kill people – you can imagine where I get my blood from.
Sneak or fight? You decide
In a later level, things get serious: I have to cross a backyard guarded by several patrols. Here Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice is very reminiscent of the stealth mechanics of games like The Last of Us or A Plague Tale: Requiem. I have to be constantly careful not to be seen and not to make a sound.
I can distract guards with bottles and rocks, and shoot tranquilizer darts with a small mini-crossbow. There are also new vampire abilities that allow me to set enemies on fire or escape unseen.
A three-part skill tree allows me to upgrade my combat, stealth, and movement skills in exchange for experience points. Of course, I can also swing my fists, but that’s the least effective technique.
The sneaking in Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice is quite challenging, and it’s difficult to get past the night patrols unseen. Still, sneaking is probably the safest way to go because when I go on the attack, alarmed colleagues rush in from all directions and things quickly get hectic.
Preview Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice: My impression
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice has what it takes to be a real VR hit. The atmosphere in the dark alleys of Venice is thick enough to cut through. The VR game is already visually convincing in the pre-release version on the Quest 2, there are excellent voice actors and a promising noir story in the World of Darkness universe. The deciding factor will be whether the game mechanics offer enough variety throughout the entire game and how the story develops.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice will be released on November 2, 2023 for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3 and PSVR 2 and is expected to cost 29.99 Euros.
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