Review – Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York

I admit I’m not normally a visual novel kind of guy. I enjoy reading, I enjoy gaming, but I’ve never really seen the allure of combining the two. Outside Ace Attorney, my experiences haven’t been positive either. So I admit I went into Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York a little skeptical. My introduction to the World of Darkness setting was through Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and I figured at the very least, this make the wait for the sequel easier. To my surprise I ended up really enjoying the impressively branching story, interesting characters, and high replayability.

The game starts with you choosing between three pre-made characters. Each one comes from a different vampire clan and has a different path through the main story. They each have different powers, unique dialogue lines and options, and diverging relationships with each prospective member of your party. It’s not just a cosmetic change, each character has a radically different story.



Basic gameplay is essentially a choose your own adventure, but there’s a few more options then I expected. There’s the world map for starters. At first it’s just where you rest, but once the game opens up it’s where you choose which quests you wish to pursue. You only have time for one quest per night however, and only a few free nights in-between main quest stages. The name of the game is balance, between everything you want to do and what you can realistically fit in. You are incapable of doing everything in one run, which just increases the already impressive replayability. Plus it’s a level of non-linearity I always enjoy in my RPGs and this one plays more like them than not. Building parties, exploring side-quests, managing time, the only real difference is the removal of direct combat and movement. Which is what Bloodlines is for anyway.

The World Map

I really like the design, it’s appropriate. The veins are also animated, which looks cool.

That isn’t to say there isn’t any combat or movement, but it’s handled through dialogue trees. Movement is what you would expect, you’ll get the option to move between places and you simply choose one. Different locations to explore, people to talk to, items to interact with, standard RPG stuff. Combat is a little more involved and revolves around your powers and the hunger meter. Each character has unique powers based on their Clan as well as a few generic options. For example the Ventrue has the ability to Dominate, which is essentially a Jedi Mind Trick. During encounters, combat and otherwise, powers are your main weapons and can drastically alter how things will go. There’s usually a few generic non-power options too, which you’ll need if your hunger is too high and your powers are unavailable.

Party Members

As far as RPG’s go, business as usual indeed.

The hunger and the Beast are the defining Vampire tropes. Your hunger is represented by blood screen effects, as it grows more of the screen is covered. You’ll frequently get the option to go on hunts, or be able to consume blood during other activities, which will sate the hunger if only temporarily. However, there’s always the thought of your diminishing humanity as you take more and more. For those who just want to be a cool vampire with little care for your superpowerless humanity, it’s still not risk free. Core to this setting is maintaining The Masquerade, keeping the hidden Vampire world hidden. So you need to be cautious, keeping under the radar and not treating everyone you meet like a walking drinking fountain. Breaking the Masquerade is a death sentence, and it is possible to die. The game over screen is a brutal start over too, so you want to avoid it if possible. It’s about finding balance, and being equipped to using fast-talking and your powers to get out of any possible scrapes. After all if you deny your hunger too long, the Beast is always there waiting to take control…

Death is real

Woe is me.

How much I enjoyed playing Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York surprised the hell out of me. I was expecting for a fun distraction at best, but there’s really a legitimate RPG experience in here. It’s certainly not the most complex title gameplay-wise, but this is balanced out by how branched out the story is. There’s a lot going on too, with each party member’s personal story, the main quest with all its layers, as well as a variety of side activities to explore. Replayability is honestly ludicrous and there’s post launch plans to add even more starting characters from new vampire clans. All in all, it’s the perfect thing to flesh out your understanding of this world before Bloodlines II finally becomes reality.


Graphics: 6.0

It’s a visual novel. A nice looking one to be fair, but a visual novel nonetheless.

Gameplay: 7.0

It’s essentially a narrative CRPG with all combat and movement removed.

Sound: 5.0

There’s a few music tracks and the occasional sound effect. That’s basically it.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It’s a fun trip through the Vampire: The Masquerade setting, perfect to play during the wait for Bloodlines II.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York was provided by the publisher.