Looking for a good RPG to get you through the week-end? Well, if you can't find anything new at the local store, perhaps you should take a look at "Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption", an interesting role-playing game with some unique characteristics.
The storyline of "...Redemption" is simplicity itself. You are Christof Romuald, hero and Crusader, who is wounded during a war and sent to Prague, where he falls in love with a nun and saves her from a group of marauding beasts. As he gains his strength back, Christof comes to the notice of the city's vampires, beasts whom he has spent his life fighting, and he is attacked and turned into a vampire himself. Thus begins "...Redemption" - now a vampire, Christof must struggle to regain both his humanity and the girl he loves.
By telling a story from the vampire's point of view, "...Redemption" brings up some interesting gameplay features - for example, in order to survive, you need to replenish your energy by feeding on innocent humans or animals. Obviously, this means that you'll be spending much of the early part of the game hacking and slashing your way through city streets - which can be fun, if you're enjoy that type of thing, but can also get monotonous. If your energy (blood) levels drop, you'll "frenzy", which essentially means that you'll go on a rampage, attacking everything you encounter.
Most of the usual RPG elements are available in "...Redemption" - you'll recognize the brooding environments, the conversations with characters and trade with merchants, the quests and even the constant battles from other games you may have played in the past. But "...Redemption" does also bring a few new things to the table: for example, although the game begins with you only controlling Christof, other characters join your coterie as you progress through the levels (you have the option of shifting control from one character to another at any time during gameplay). "Baldur's Gate" has an equivalent feature, and it's good to see it included in "...Redemption".
Another interesting aspect of "...Redemption" is the concept of Disciplines. As already stated, in the initial part of the game, you'll spend quite a bit of time getting yourself ready for the later levels, gaining strength and buying armour. You can also learn Disciplines, mystical powers which can help you during combat. There are more than seventy Disciplines available, although perhaps half of them are truly useful.
From the gameplay point of view, "...Redemption" could do with a little improvement - while the story is interesting and the graphics and sound effects wonderful, the AI engine fails to back them up properly and can cause a great deal of aggravation. The "autosave" feature, which allows games to be saved only after the level is complete, could also do with improvement - I'd prefer the ability to save at any point rather than only at the end of each level. Finally, the third-person camera angle can be inconvenient during combat (although you can shift into first-person mode at any time, this is not feasible for a combat situation).
Despite these flaws, "...Redemption" is still fun to play - check it out if you're bored and need an RPG fix!This article was first published on 29 Nov 2000.