Gordy, The Sqrlian Being (xyzzysqrl) wrote,

Vampire Bloodlines - Wrap-up

So! My final thoughts on Vampire: Bloodlines.

It's been a while since I played this style of RPG. I kept forgetting that they just expect you to take initiative, or that they expected you to... go do sidequests JUST BECAUSE. If you're trying to roleplay you have no particular REASON to do anything for anyone except the Prince and that's mostly because he will Dominate you into doing things if you don't agree to them.

I also felt there were places where the game... dragged on a bit, padded out a bit much. And man, you are SCREWED in the last act if you had a pure social character build. Hilariously so. The entire endgame is a running series of battles. I cannot even imagine trying to do that with Talky Talkerson. Nancy would have been in deep trouble.

Okay, now let's fill some gaps. What about those other endings I mentioned?

Join Ming Xiao
This is a real option. You can decide that the best thing to do is ally with the devil you don't know against the devil you do. If you do this, you don't fight Ming but DO fight the Prince's Sheriff. (In no ending do you directly fight LaCroix himself.) Ming shows up, kills LaCroix for you, then thanks you profusely. And explains that they have now killed all the powerful Kindred in LA.

Except one.

Cut directly to your character chained to the sarcophagus, which is rapidly sinking to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Credits. I would not refer to this as a "good ending".

Join LaCroix
He's only tried to fuck you over 37 times consecutively through the course of the game. Surely Sebastian LaCroix isn't THAT BAD a dude. In this ending, you go kill Ming Xiao. Then you come back, the Prince presumably pets you and gives you a collar or something, and the two of you open the sarcophagus side by side.
You both then die. More on that in a moment.

Anarch Ending
In this ending, you get dropped off at the Luckee Star and discover that not only did Nines LIVE somehow (although he's pretty beaten up) he also has the head of the werewolf that tried to kill him sitting on his bed. (My theory is that his hand grenade finally got used.) Go kill Xiao, go fight the Sheriff. This is the only ending in which you straight-up stab LaCroix, using a knife that's been sitting on his desk since Act 1. Chekovian! Then you can either throw the key at LaCroix and storm out, or try to open the sarcophagus yourself.
If LaCroix gets it, his dying act after you leave is to open the box. He dies. If you open it, you die.
More on that in a moment.

The Sabbat Ending
If you have almost no humanity, you can side with the Sabbat in the fan patch I'm using. In this case, LaCroix gets stabbed, Ming dies, and the casket gets hucked into the ocean -- without you riding it down. You monster.

Do It For Yourself
You kill Ming, throw the key at the Prince, give Nines the finger and leave for parts unknown. The Prince opens the box. He dies. More on that RIGHT NOW actually.


What you have to understand is that the actual plot of the game has BASICALLY NOTHING to do with the player character. Check this:

The Elizabeth Dane is a cargo ship, and one Smiling Jack happens to be on board inside a very old but unremarkable sarcophagus which he stowed away inside, having stolen the key at an earlier date. At some point during the voyage, Jack opens it from inside, crawls out. Kills everyone. Takes out the perfectly ordinary dead guy that was originally in the sarcophagus with him and sets up the last phase of his plan.

Then he swims (?) back to LA, and with his friend the cab guy starts spreading Rumors. The coffin contains a powerful early-generation vampire! It contains Caine himself! It'll start Gehenna, the end of the world, if it's opened! It's a super-powered mummy! It doesn't MATTER what the rumor is as long as people are TALKING about the thing, hyping it up, until even the major political players of the city notice. Like Prince LaCroix.

LaCroix is frankly desperate. He's trying to keep a tight grip on a city that's squirming through his grasp a little more every moment. He has next to no power, his own people barely trust him and the Anarch faction is ready to kick his short French ass out the door and to top it all off there's kuei-jin trying to move in. He's reduced to putting on public executions (which is semi-normal for vampires) in front of the Primogens and rebels of the city (come on, seriously?) just to keep face and pretend he's scary.

He becomes dangerously obsessed with that damn casket. As seen in the events of the game, he manipulates and schemes to get ahold of it. And he does.

What's inside?

The casket is packed, top to bottom, with high explosives and a little "goodbye :)" note from Jack. It's wired to explode oh-shit seconds after it's opened, just long enough for a certain Prince to consider his life choices. The last thing that goes through his mind -- besides the front of his skull -- is to wonder how the hell Smiling Jack ever got the better of him.

There's one final scene in any ending where the Prince explodes. It shows Jack in a lounge chair on a hill with a good view of Ventrue Tower as it blows up, chilling with that skeleton and enjoying the sight.

...Assuming Jack's plan goes off correctly. If it doesn't ... well, all the endings that don't end with a bang DO end with the Prince out of power, don't they? And as for YOU... you wouldn't do a goddamn stupid thing like open the damn box. The entire game's been telling you not to. You'd listen to that.


(There may be some gaps in the above plot, but that's what I was able to work out by paying attention to clues and cues.)

What's next? I was gonna do Kingdom Hearts, but I feel out of the mood for anything too long. So...

Crimson Skies! An Xbox launch title I played for a bit but never actually finished. I wonder if this is still even playable. Well. I'll find out.

See you next time.

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