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Author Topic: Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions  (Read 17883 times)
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hammer600
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« on: November 17, 2004, 06:01:51 PM »

Yeah, I know, that 700 pound gorilla called HL2 was just released( I should know since I am playing it) but I just got my Bloodlines copy.
Am installing as I type- so far 3 cds in anice jewelled case and a 66 page manual
I shall return.
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2004, 06:43:09 PM »

You will love it.  It is good.

It runs slower than HL2 for some reason, I think it's because you don't have access certain video tweaks.

Also, some Troika style bugs have slipped in, you know, those ones that should never have made it past QA.  It happens only in some cutscenes and some of the AI pedestrians, luckily, I have yet to find any other bugs besides those.
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weeskwee
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2004, 06:43:37 PM »

i read the gamespy review and they said it is a great game but the combat is mediocre. both third person melee and first person shoter style. i read no mention of this in the console gold review on the front page. please someone play it and let me know if this is really the case. i was hoping for some good combat. thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2004, 07:48:45 PM »

I have the game, but I dont know when I will get to play it-expect some impressions tonight.
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rrmorton
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2004, 08:42:59 PM »

Quote from: "hammer600"
3 cds in a nice jewelled case and a 66 page manual.


THANK GOD!

Nowadays, any game that comes in a jewel case is a must buy.
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2004, 08:51:02 PM »

Quote from: "rrmorton"
Quote from: "hammer600"
3 cds in a nice jewelled case and a 66 page manual.


THANK GOD!

Nowadays, any game that comes in a jewel case is a must buy.


i feel your pain brother, i feel your pain...
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Jeff
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2004, 08:57:22 PM »

Quote from: "rrmorton"
Quote from: "hammer600"
3 cds in a nice jewelled case and a 66 page manual.


THANK GOD!

Nowadays, any game that comes in a jewel case is a must buy.


And a PRINTED MANUAL that's more than 10 pages!
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Mr. Sparkle
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2004, 10:25:56 PM »

Quote from: "rrmorton"
Quote from: "hammer600"
3 cds in a nice jewelled case and a 66 page manual.


THANK GOD!

Nowadays, any game that comes in a jewel case is a must buy.


And GET THIS...  not only does it come in a jewel case, but a double sized jewel case...  that's right guys, no flimsy hinge arrangements for this bad-boy...  an individual section for each disk!

That's GOTY material right there!  

biggrin

Installing now...
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CeeKay
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2004, 11:30:20 PM »

VAmpire impressions?

I vant to suck yoor vlood!

1 cd!
2,2 cd's!
3, 3 cd's!

Taste my chocolately goodnesss!
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Calvin
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2004, 12:12:29 AM »

The character maker is cool smile thats as far as I got. I love the menu music. Its a pretty common instrumental track from movies. I heart it. gong to play later tonight, still no real impressions.
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Jeff
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2004, 12:34:44 AM »

Got it today. been playing a while now, and created a character from the Brujah clan.

I've done the tutorial segment, and the first few minor missions. Early impressions is that the game is gonna rock.

Some items of interest:

negatives:

source engine, yes. HL2-level optimization and perfomance? Not even close. I can run HL2 with all details maxed, 1280x960 2x/8x, and it's smooth as silk. VTMB i have to run at 1024, no AA, and it still gets a bit choppy at times.

the footstep sound effect is annoying.  There is no variation in it whatsover, and it does that thing where you take a step, and it 'clop clop clops' three times, like the effect is dragging behind the actual step. it also has the same annoying sound effect for walking thru water . SPLASH SPLASH SPLASH.  again no variation.  these are just minor nits.

Almost NO sound options. This was disappointing, as I just got new 5.1 speakers today that kick ass. My center speaker isn't being utilized in this game frown

positives:

so far TONS of dialogue, and a nice variety of dialogue options.  voice acting so far is decent to good. one exception of a guy who i met on the street, who was kind of bad.

after reading complaints of weak combat, I was pleasantly surprised with I feel is actually pretty good combat! Especially melee. Punches have a nice THUNK to them, and you feel like you are really kicking someone's ass. there's kind of a goofy cartoony blood splat, but it's ok. So far, I'm actually liking the combat. My character is a brawler, and he can do a ton of damage bare fisted. I look forward to getting into fights  :twisted:

the skill point system is cool, and there are many, many ways to advance your character.

the music is good.

edit to add: the tutorial segment was excellent. it lets you learn by doing.



the game's legs will depend on the quality of the story, and the quests.

So far, so good. It definitely has a pull to it, that makes me want to go back in.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2004, 12:54:44 AM »

I knew Bloodlines wouldn't be as well optimized as HL2, but sheesh, it's night and day.  I can run HL2 at 1600x1200 with most of the options at their highest (except shadows), and still get 20-40 fps using fraps.  I knew something was off when the game defaults to 800x600 at startup.  I immediately changed the res to 1280x1024, didn't touch any of the other settings, started a new game, and right from the first cut scene the fps are in the teens (I have an alienware P4 3.2, Geforce 6800 GT oc, 1mb ram).  I tried running around the first street, and the fps ranged from 15-27.  There really aren't that many video settings, so I tried the obvious and lowered the resolution to 1024, which didn't increase the fps even slightly.  So I went ahead and cranked it up to 1600x1200, and I was getting the pretty much the same fps, minus maybe 2.

I shut down shadows completely which gave a boost of about 4-5 fps.  I tried dropping the LOD slider to zero and back to full, but the fps difference was so minimal I just kept it at high.  Tried the same thing with particle effects, and that did seem to help while using disciplines. I tried unchecking the high quality audio and environmental effects, but neither seemed to have any affect on the fps.  

Anyone have good tips for boosting fps?  I couldn't find the option for lowering AA, where is that?
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2004, 12:56:30 AM »

One thing, Jeff--

Bloodlines's performance is tied to its sound settings more than most games.  Try turning off EAX or lowering sound quality for a performance boost.

EDIT:  Be sure to restart the game after disabling EAX and High Quality Sound.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2004, 01:01:01 AM »

Thanks LE.  Gonna try lowering the audio again, since I didn't restart after I unchecked high quality and environmental sounds.
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Mr. Sparkle
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2004, 01:25:41 AM »

There are rumors that this game was optimized to 800x600, exclusively...  and that any resolution other than that will kill your framerate.

Whether that is true or not remains to be seen...  but the Gamespy review suggests as much...
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Pharaoh
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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2004, 02:12:04 AM »

Performance - Turn High Quality Audio off. Its made a world of difference, and runs great at 1600x1200 32 bit on a 9800. With it on, the game hated me framerate wise.

Quick Impressions - Wow.

Just wow. Troikas promise has finally been harnessed IMO. After some close grabs with Arcanum and TOEE, this time they really crafted a great PC RPG. Great graphics, solid control system, inventory and character progression that is straight outta the White Wolf guides, and awesome atmosphere....I don't know where to begin, but I feel I shouldn't go so balls to the wall happy over the game until I get outta the second hub.

I guess my best comment is no game since Planescape Torment has struck me with such depth and gameplay. I love playing it, and can't wait to get back to it.

God I hope it stays this good.
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2004, 02:22:55 AM »

Quote from: "Mr. Sparkle"
There are rumors that this game was optimized to 800x600, exclusively...  and that any resolution other than that will kill your framerate.

Whether that is true or not remains to be seen...  but the Gamespy review suggests as much...
Untrue.  If anything, FPS doesn't change a bit with resolution.
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Jeff
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2004, 02:24:34 AM »

Hey, that worked thumbsup  MUCH better. I'm now playing at 1024, 4x AA, and it's very playable now,  and I'm testing this outdoors, in the rain (the rain was really killing fps before). Indoors, it's butter.

edit to clarify: what worked was turning off HQ audio.
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Turtle
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2004, 02:25:35 AM »

I think the best thing about Bloodlines compared to other RPGs are the faces during NPC conversation.

In other games, even Fallout, if you talked to someone you just saw either text bubbles, or a semi animated dead looking face on screen and a text bubble.

Here, everyone speaks and are animated with very convincing facial expressions.  This, I think, is a perfect use of Valve's facial animation technology, it just draws you in when you see these characters talk and their face reflects what they're saying.
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Jeff
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2004, 02:29:50 AM »

Quote from: "Turtle"
Here, everyone speaks and are animated with very convincing facial expressions.  This, I think, is a perfect use of Valve's facial animation technology, it just draws you in when you see these characters talk and their face reflects what they're saying.


That's true, and something I meant to add to my impressions. Every dialog response so far has been voiced out, which I really, really like. I fall asleep reading endless dialog, so voice helps a lot.
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2004, 03:07:51 AM »

So, how does your experiences mesh with my review experiences?  I'm curious to see if we are on the same page...
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2004, 03:09:54 AM »

Gamespot - 7.7
IGN - 8.4

Mostly complaints on bad AI and combat...
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2004, 03:22:12 AM »

Same as mine, although the guys from Gamespot are clearly on some sort of drugs...
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2004, 03:27:33 AM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Same as mine, although the guys from Gamespot are clearly on some sort of drugs...


I think Ocampo gives wacky scores.  This is the same guy who gave Dominions 2 a 6.2  :roll:
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Roguetad
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2004, 03:28:16 AM »

You're right, changing the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200 hardly changes fps on my rig.  Unchecking high quality audio helped.  Thanks for the suggestion.

As far as the game goes, I'm really enjoying it.  Too early for me to stack up against any reviews.
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Jeff
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« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2004, 03:32:46 AM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Same as mine, although the guys from Gamespot are clearly on some sort of drugs...


Gamespot seems determined to never be compared with IGN.  They are always low. If you look at Gamespot's review scores, compared with their user review score average, Gamespot is lower I bet 95% of the time.  They seem to have the 'critics are supposed to be tough' mentality.
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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2004, 03:50:18 AM »

Remember, Gamespot gave Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 a perfect 10.  Any game is worse than that, obviously.  And don't even get me started this guy's Dominion 2 review.  What a moron.   :roll:

GoGamer's shipped my order, so I'll see the game either tomorrow or the next day.  I'll be sure to post my impressions after a solid gaming session.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2004, 04:02:53 AM »

I don't know.  If you actually read the descriptions they assign to their numbers, that seems to mesh pretty well with the other revews.  They put Vampire:bloodlines at the high end of Good.

8.0-8.9: "Great"
This score range refers to great games that are excellent in most every way and whose few setbacks probably aren't too important. We highly recommend games in the upper half of this range, since they tend to be good enough to provide an enjoyable experience to fans of the game's particular genre and to new players alike.

7.0-7.9: "Good"
A game within this range is good and is likely worth playing by fans of its particular genre or by those otherwise interested. While its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, a game that falls in this range tends to have noticeable faults. A low 7 represents the average score on GameSpot, which is suggestive of the fact that the typical game found on store shelves is actually pretty good
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Louis Cypher
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2004, 05:32:54 AM »

Eh, I'll wait for more reviews.  Sounds like after a few patches, this game would be near perfect.  Most likely it will be under my tree Cool
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2004, 07:44:48 AM »

Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2004, 07:54:21 AM »

Quote from: "Jocke"
Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.


That's what I was thinking.  I'm happy to say that the combat is more like Prince of Persia than Morrowind.  Still awkward at times, and certainly not HL2 but workable.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2004, 04:45:26 PM »

Is there a way to skip the cutscenes?  It's been driving me nuts not being able to skip them, especially starting over with new characters.  I haven't been able to skip dialogue or fast forward through it either.
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dmd
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« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2004, 05:06:34 PM »

Quote from: "Demosthenes"
Quote from: "Jocke"
Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.


That's what I was thinking.  I'm happy to say that the combat is more like Prince of Persia than Morrowind.  Still awkward at times, and certainly not HL2 but workable.

Could you elaborate a little?  I've never seen PoP in action.  Is combat like a fish slapping contest with little numbers floating up when a hit is scored, or is it dynamic, where you're able to move around, fps style?
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Roguetad
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« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2004, 05:29:25 PM »

Quote from: "dmd"
Quote from: "Demosthenes"
Quote from: "Jocke"
Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.


That's what I was thinking.  I'm happy to say that the combat is more like Prince of Persia than Morrowind.  Still awkward at times, and certainly not HL2 but workable.

Could you elaborate a little?  I've never seen PoP in action.  Is combat like a fish slapping contest with little numbers floating up when a hit is scored, or is it dynamic, where you're able to move around, fps style?


That's exactly what is throwing some people off, you can move around like in a FPS, but you have stats tied to your melee and range abilities that will result in misses even though you have the target dead in your sights.  So to answer your question, it is dynamic in that you can move around and the action is realtime, but it's rpg skill based too, so you're going to see some things in combat that will seem a bit off (until you understand there are stats driving the combat engine).  MW was similar in that you could aim at a target, swing at it, but miss or do poo poo damage because your stats stunk.  If you're looking for a true FPS experience, like HL2, you won't find it in Bloodlines.  It's definitely an rpg that uses a FPS engine.
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« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2004, 05:33:16 PM »

Quote from: "Roguetad"
Is there a way to skip the cutscenes?  It's been driving me nuts not being able to skip them, especially starting over with new characters.  I haven't been able to skip dialogue or fast forward through it either.


Press space to jump through dialogue. Left click the mouse for subtitles so you can skip the voice and skim the text if you need to. Best I could find.
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olaf
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« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2004, 08:15:44 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Quote from: "Roguetad"
Is there a way to skip the cutscenes?  It's been driving me nuts not being able to skip them, especially starting over with new characters.  I haven't been able to skip dialogue or fast forward through it either.


Press space to jump through dialogue. Left click the mouse for subtitles so you can skip the voice and skim the text if you need to. Best I could find.

I havent found a way to skip cutscenes either...very frustrating especially when you want to play around with the different clan types.

olaf
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« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2004, 10:49:45 PM »

Quote from: "dmd"
Could you elaborate a little?  I've never seen PoP in action.  Is combat like a fish slapping contest with little numbers floating up when a hit is scored, or is it dynamic, where you're able to move around, fps style?


Now that I've stopped laughing...   The melee IS strangely like a fish-slapping contest, though I never would have put it that way, but from a 3rd-person perspective.  Now that I think about it the melee is a lot like sabre fighting in Jedi Outcast/Academy.  But there are also ranged weapons and magic powers that function basically as you'd expect them to.

Combat is not the focus of the game.  It's a sizeable portion but there is a LOT more going on.  The fighting is a little odd but it in no way wrecks the game.  Morrowind's combat is WAY worse and that is one of the best RPG's ever IMO.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2004, 11:04:42 PM »

Thanks Rage, skipping spoken dialogue works perfect with a tap of the spacebar.

Once again I can't help but get the early impression that this is another Troika gem that lacks that next level of polish to be a masterpiece.  I enjoyed Arcanum and even played through ToEE twice when it was a bug ridden mess.  Most of the glitches, bugs and AI scripting problems I've seen in Bloodlines were hammer-over-the-head obvious.  I just don't think they put a lot of effort or resources into quality assurance and testing.  I bought the idea that they didn't have enough time with ToEE to implement the changes they had already caught themselves, but not with Bloodlines, they've had a reasonable amount of time to QA the game and make changes.  

I'm really enjoying Bloodlines, but if they had just cranked up the quality and polish a couple of notches, the game would be amazing.  Things I'd like to see improved in the next few patches:
- npc AI scripting
- get with Valve and figure out how to optimize the engine better. If HL2 can run at 1600x1200 on my rig with better graphics at 30-60fps, Bloodlines should at least get somewhere near that ballpark
- main menu (don't make us have to exit the game to change resolutions)
- add more video options, as it is there's really not that much to tweak to try and improve performance
- fix positional audio
- figure out what's wrong with the rendering during the cut scenes and fix that (to include vamps floating across the floor when they're supposed to be walking and robot-like jerky animations)
- add a cancel option during the character creation process that takes the player back to the choose a clan screen, not make them go back to the main menu and have to select "new game" again
- add in a way to skip cut scenes
- consider improving firearms
- fix the scripted sequences that break if you're using certain disciplines
- stealth and obs. are very strong and seem too unbalancing to me.  I stopped playing my first character because of this and started another...forcing myself not to use stealth or obs.  plus they break some of the scripted events, which is annoying, resulting in a reload.

That's all I can think of at this time.  Certainly not as bad as ToEE (from what I've seen so far), but enough to make me scratch my head and think that QA is just not a priority for them.
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« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2004, 11:21:26 PM »

I love this game!! By far the best RPG I have played in a long time, and a real treat. I am ignoring HL2 for this right now. Yes, bugs are legion in this game, but its just too fun. Combat is definately MUCH more Morrowind than fish slapping. Learn to use your powers, maneuver with your melee weapons, and use firearms that are situationally appropriate-shotgun for vampire, handgun for stupid humans-it helps if there are only one or two. Melee weapons are much more effective for big groups.

Oh-so far I am loving my Tremere character. I cant wait to play this game again with a Malakavian and then Gangrel. The differences I have seen from just playing the very first bits indicates you can really approach this game differently with a second run through with a second character. Really well-designed approach to having multiple paths to your objectives. They really do not force you down one path.
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« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2004, 11:43:56 PM »

I'm playing a tremere too, very fun.  The aoe lifetap attack is pretty wicked.
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