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Author Topic: Vampire worth getting?  (Read 3281 times)
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Fez
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« on: January 24, 2005, 03:38:14 AM »

Hi, I've been considering getting Bloodlines, but I wasn't sure if it was worth it.  Have the bugs been fixed by the latest patch?  I don't want to open the Bloodlines thread above because it contains spoilers, so I'm not sure whether the game has been improved by the patch(es)?  Thanks!
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Daehawk
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2005, 04:55:44 AM »

I cant comment on it's worth yet cause I just installed it tonight and have'nt got past the tutorial yet. But on bugs I can say I have one now and Im still in the freaking tutorial. Yeesh. And thats with the patch.
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2005, 06:21:38 PM »

That's very disappointing.  Like Fez, I'm very interested in the game, but I'm no more interested in suffering through game-stopping bugs than I am in supporting a company that would release their game in such an awful state.

It's a real shame -- it seems like this game had a lot of potential.

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Daehawk
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2005, 06:44:17 PM »

Well thats Troika for ya..great potential wasted. The bug I have is not a game stopper though if thats any help. It has to do with keybindings and such. I bound my middle mouse button to USE and left E and default. Well theres a note on the wall I need to read and if I use my middle mouse for it it just opens and instantly closes and i cant get the password I need. But if I use E instead its fine. So annoying only.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2005, 07:30:55 PM »

I enjoyed the story, setting and rpg elements, but this is another example of good content and sloppy execution by Troika.  

They’ve managed to take the source engine and turn it into a rig killer, bringing even high-end pcs to their knees.  Activision released a statement a few weeks after release that stated the game plays best at 800x600, and that you need to set your swap file to a certain size (forget what they recommended) to avoid large performance hits.  The game actually defaults to 800x600 at first load up, which was a red flag for me right from the start.  Unfortunately, on my rig the framerates have very little variance from 800x600 to max supported resolution.  I didn’t expect the graphics to be on par with HL2, but with worse graphics and less use of the more demanding graphics features, I would’ve thought the performance would be ok.  There are a lot of graphical glitches in game, including during the cutscenes!  You’d think they would at least get the cutscenes right.  In fact, the very first cutscene that introduces the story is buggy and often has characters floating across the floor, very noticeable clipping, and other unexplainable problems.  

The sound is buggy too, to include an unbelievably annoying footstep effect that isn’t timed with the motion of your character.  I never could get EAX to work, and the hardware audio option can result in some major performance issues.  The lip synching can be bad too.  

The combat system is so-so, with melee being much more effective than ranged combat.  The disciplines are all cool and fun to use, but some of the flashier ones can really bog down framerates (even with particle effects turned down).  Generally I enjoyed combat, but it definitely felt clunky at times.  

The story was very cool, and I felt like my character was influencing the world around him.  Like I mentioned earlier, the rpg elements are good, but the quality of the coding and poor utilization of the source engine make for another defective gem from Troika.  That’s not to say you want have fun playing, I did, but it’s hard not to imagine how good the game could’ve been with no bugs, better optimization, and a cleaner combat system.
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farley2k
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2005, 07:42:21 PM »

I think the game was very good.  I encountered a couple of big bugs - including one game killer but overall the game was worth the trouble (until the last 3rd or so where it went downhill)

Overall I would say for $20 the game is a must buy, for $30 it is alright, and for full price....well not really worth it.
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Sarkus
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2005, 07:55:55 PM »

I got about half way through Bloodlines and that's where it sits.  I'll echo the other sentiments about disappointing use of the Source engine and bugs and add a few of my own.  

1) While I found some of the quests addictive, I never felt drawn in by the overall plot.

2) Too much hints and innuendo, not enough action.  This game is clearly taking the "Interview with the Vampire" style of combining vampires and eroticism, but it never delivers anything.  

3) Too much of a focus on combat.  Troika keeps trying to recreate the brilliant aspect of Fallout where you could beat the game from many different angles, including non-combat.  I don't think you can play Bloodlines as anything other than a largely combat focused character.

I think I've given up on Troika.  Every game they've released is flawed and incomplete.  Every game they blame the publisher for forcing them to push it out the door before it was ready.  And every game it turns out they were given significant extensions by that same publisher, extensions beyond dates that Troika originally promised.  I wonder how many more opportunities they will get.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2005, 10:58:39 PM »

I've enjoyed it quite a bit.  No serious bugs yet and I'm fairly far into the game.  I can't speak to the sound problems - I don't have surround sound, so I tend to turn off the various advanced sound options.
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FlyingElvis
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2005, 02:45:46 AM »

I am loving the game. The bugs I've encountered have been limited to technical glitches. Nothing major.

I think the game has interesting characters, quests and enjoyable combat.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2005, 06:41:35 AM »

I've enjoyed the game overall, but the run through the sewers part in Hollywood was blech. No idea what they were thinking with that part. Its like some annoying Bloodlines version of a dungeon crawl just stuck in there for no reason. I hope this doesn't preview how they rest of the game will be.
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dangerballs
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2005, 10:13:08 AM »

Quote from: "Sarkus"


2) Too much hints and innuendo, not enough action.  This game is clearly taking the "Interview with the Vampire" style of combining vampires and eroticism, but it never delivers anything.  


That's not really the fault of the game, its the fault of the license.  Vampie has always been at heart a goth love-orgy.
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Calvin
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2005, 04:11:22 PM »

I think the best way I can sum up Vampire is that it is a game that is far better in theory and conception than it is in implementation or design.

The combat is mediocre, the game is extremely buggy, the vampire powers are grossly underutilized and realized, and many of the RPG elements (equipment, clothing, weaponry) are incredibly simplistic.

However, the game has tremendous atmosphere, looks very good, captures a vampire feel exceedingly well, has an engaging, interesting, well laid-out story, some of the powers are extremely cool, and the game has tons of potential.

But therein lies the problem-this seems to be the curse of all Troika games. The concept and potential far exceed the sum of the finished product, and this, to put it mildly, is a big problem in this industry. We forgave Arcanums bugs for Sierra's meddling, and again TOEE's for Atari's interference (although I firmly believe Troika got MUCH too much a pass for the disastrous state they shipped the game in), but is three strikes enough for us to realize that as a developer, Troika obviously leaves much to be desired in the technical or at least the quality assurance department?

I don't know how well the game sold, but I have heard that the company is in trouble. Its a damn shame as they are talented, but clearly some sort of management overhaul is needed.
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Arkon
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2005, 04:21:55 PM »

You know, I played Arcanum, loved it, encountered very few bugs.  I still play TOEE and have never had a single problem with it.  I have vampire and play it to death, have yet to encounter a bug and the performance is just fine, running at 1600x1200 max settings.  My machine is about a year old now, so not top of the line by any stretch of the imagination.

Is vampire perfect?  Far from it, and perhaps my opinion would be different if I encountered some of the bugs that others are having.
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unbongwah
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2005, 04:34:27 PM »

I've only been playing Bloodlines for a couple of days - just reached Downtown the other night - but I've enjoyed it.  That said, it is definitely a flawed gem, at best: the graphics are quite good, but not stunning, and performance can be surprisingly choppy sometimes; there are still bugs even after the first patch (haven't encountered any scripting bugs myself, but I have crashed to desktop more than once); combat feels clunky and unbalanced compared to your average FPS (ranged weapons feel underpowered, IMHO); and the vamp powers are unbalanced - both the nicest and worst thing I can say about them is that my favorite powers are the grossly overpowered ones.  Cool

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the original Deus Ex: seriously flawed in some regards, but the experience as a whole makes it worthwhile.  [I recall fewer technical difficulties with DE, though; bugginess seems to be one of Troika's trademarks.]  It's not as open-ended as it professes to be; and its RPG mechanics are fairly lightweight, so those weaned on complex systems may be disappointed.  But despite its shortcomings, I think it's a pretty good game overall; but you definitely need some patient benevolence to put up with its flaws.

[Honestly, my biggest disappointment at this point?  That you don't have more character customization options.  C'mon - at least let me change my hairstyle! biggrin]
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2005, 07:34:25 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"
I don't know how well the game sold, but I have heard that the company is in trouble.


Really? What are those rumblings/rumors?
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2005, 08:11:31 PM »

Quote from: "Arkon"
You know, I played Arcanum, loved it, encountered very few bugs.  I still play TOEE and have never had a single problem with it.  I have vampire and play it to death, have yet to encounter a bug and the performance is just fine, running at 1600x1200 max settings.  My machine is about a year old now, so not top of the line by any stretch of the imagination.

Is vampire perfect?  Far from it, and perhaps my opinion would be different if I encountered some of the bugs that others are having.

Now we know how Troika's test machines are configured. :lol:
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2005, 08:56:11 PM »

So far I like it, but I think I prefer Vampire: Redemption's way of having multiple characters at once and being able to pursue a lot more disciplines for each.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2005, 04:36:36 PM »

From what I understand, Troika doesn't have a QA department.  Their QA is done by the publishers.  Honestly, I'd love to see them bought by Valve or Bioware - someone with deep pockets and a QA team who will let them take the time to build a good game.
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Daehawk
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2005, 05:24:09 PM »

From what I understand they had plenty of time .Vampire was done months before HL2 came out so they could release it. They basically just sat on it till they could let it out the door. They shoulda used that time to debug it hehe.
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Jon Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2005, 05:54:50 PM »

Quote
From what I understand they had plenty of time .Vampire was done months before HL2 came out so they could release it. They basically just sat on it till they could let it out the door. They shoulda used that time to debug it hehe.

What's your source for this information? Linoleum on quartertothree, who claims to have worked on the product, says this isn't true. It seems to be a popular misconception. http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=14938&highlight=

The rumors about Troika's demise continue. http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16709
I hope this isn't true, since I love Vampire, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Life for independent PC game developers in the US has only been getting harder.
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Calvin
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2005, 06:56:56 PM »

Quote from: "wankerjr"
Quote from: "Rage"
I don't know how well the game sold, but I have heard that the company is in trouble.


Really? What are those rumblings/rumors?


I cannot substantiate them. I despise it when nameless/faceless internet geeks do this, but I honestly must say "gaming insider rumor"

So, I understand completely that this must be taken as a complete and utter rumor, but I would not be suprised if it works out like this frown
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unbongwah
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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2005, 04:58:05 PM »

Quote from: "Daehawk"
From what I understand they had plenty of time .Vampire was done months before HL2 came out so they could release it. They basically just sat on it till they could let it out the door. They shoulda used that time to debug it hehe.

A popular misconception: Troika & Activision were contractually obligated not to release Bloodlines until after Half-Life 2 came out (part of their Source license agreement); when HL2 got pushed back a year, this meant they couldn't release Bloodlines either.  However, this does not mean Bloodlines was actually ready to be released fall 2003, any more than HL2 was.  They were working on it the whole time - and frankly, it still came outta the oven a bit undercooked.

All that said, I think it's a pretty good game.  It's still a bit buggy, but not horribly so (at least for me).  It's also a bit more linear than I expected, but that's actually fine by me, since I tend to find "open-ended" RPGs boring.  [*cough* Morrowind *cough*]  Honestly, I think this game would appeal more to the Deus Ex crowd than the traditional RPG crowd.
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solarisgax
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« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2005, 02:16:04 AM »

I think Bloodlines is an incredibly fun "game".  Redemption was a much better product, but Bloodlines captured the "pen & paper" essense of the game.

The overall plot pales in comparison to Redemption, but the individual quests and how they were implemented somewhat makes up for it.

Bloodlines as a product can be better polished and the overall plot can be strengthened, but I have a feeling that if a gamer can get over or resolve the technical problems, he/she can enjoy the game.
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2005, 07:38:23 PM »

I would not and cannot recommend Vampire: Bloodlines.  There are such glaring bugs and errors in the first five minutes of play (the characters in the introduction 'glide' instead of walk, and sounds don't match events onscreen, etc) that it's like Troika didn't even touch the game after 'finishing' it--and it only gets worse.

Troika continues to be like that insightful highschool English student who just writes an essay the night before and throws it at the teacher without bothering to proofread or spellcheck it.  His points are good and he obviously shows a great deal of craft and talent, but the paper still ends up getting an F due to comma splices, mispellings, and grammatical errors.
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2005, 07:51:37 PM »

The thing I don't understand is that I kept hearing that "Vampire is done" for a couple months this fall and that they were only waiting for Half-Life 2 to release (due to contractual obligations involving the Source engine).  If it was "done" for 1-3 months, how could this many bugs get through QA?
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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2005, 07:52:56 PM »

Simple, activision made it gold and didn't want to spend any more money on it and sat on it.
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« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2005, 10:31:51 PM »

It's obvious that Troika has some very creative and gifted minds on their team, but over the past 5+ years they've really set the benchmark for releasing games that shine with potential but reek of sloppiness and poor quality control.  I enjoyed arcanum, TOEE (patched), and I've enjoyed bloodlines, all 3 of which were beaming with potential...and full of more bugs than you could imagine (game stopping ones in all 3).  

They've also become very good at spinning their PR to blame everyone but themselves for their bug filled games.
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2005, 11:07:54 PM »

Quote from: "Rob_Merritt"
Simple, activision made it gold and didn't want to spend any more money on it and sat on it.
The publisher excuse was believable the first, fishy the second, and downright doesn't work the third time around.

Sorry, Troika.  At some point you just have to put forth the extra effort and fix the damn bugs.
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« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2005, 04:09:13 PM »

One would think they would have learned from their mistakes.  If the problem was no funding/responsibility for making a patch, and it didnt work out the first time, than it should be a big item on the contract the next time.  Sadly, they either keep making the same business mistakes.  

Hire a fricken lawyer, guys.  IMO, their buggy games are damaging their sales; I dont buy a game until at least a few months after it is release (most of the time, anyway), so if I hear it's buggy, I'll either skip it or wait for a deal via preowned or bargain bin.
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Fez
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« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2005, 10:13:45 PM »

Well, I got Vampire and I'm now in the Downtown area.  So far my experience is definitely mixed.  The story, while not the most engrossing vampire tale ever, is strong enough to keep me interested.  The big problem lies in the control of your character.  I find it particularly frustrating when I get stuck under floors (such as in the crawlspace in the hospital downtown) and when I spend several minutes trying to crawl/hop into a sewer access pipe.  The controls are just not particularly fluid except when running around in open spaces, which, at its best, feels a bit like KOTOR I in terms of control (and I can't say that was my favorite in that regard either).

Other than the frustrating control issues, the graphics haven't been causing me too many problems, although the cutscenes and conversations do have their share of glitches, including stutters, poor lip synching, occasional volume drops, etc.  The world also could stand to be a bit more vibrant, as there are times you enter areas to find that there is nothing to interact with.  It would be nice if there were more items and puzzles to deal with.

Lastly, combat truly is pretty weak imo.  I never really know what I'm doing, and strategy seems to be almost completely useless or unnecessary.  Again, it's a bit like KOTOR I but only because it keeps that combat system's worst qualities.  From what I've found, there is no way to pause combat in Vampire, so it can be a bit hairy to use a variety of disciplines during a single combat.  It seems to mostly become a press the mouse-button as much as you can to attack (with the boss encounters at least) and use maybe one or two disciplines if you can.

All that being said, I am still playing it, so that's one good thing.  Although there are times it gets very frustrating.  Definitely, as a suggestion, you really need to make sure you adequately boost your attack AND defense skills as the game progresses.  I had a fairly well trained melee character who could not get past one boss until I had spent some more training in defense, and there were really no queues to suggest beforehand that I would aboslutely need to put training into that area.
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