Stalk the shadows of New York in this lovely new Vampire: The Masquerade bundle

Tabletop roleplaying classic Vampire: The Masquerade has had a bit of a troubled history when it comes to video games. Even its most beloved installment, Bloodlines, is so riddled with bugs that the community had to step in and “fix” it. But in more recent years, we’ve started to see various developers having another crack at the franchise in digital form — with some of the most successful installments being the visual novel-style titles by Draw Distance.

After all, Vampire: The Masquerade in its tabletop format has always primarily been a storytelling experience that is supported by its game mechanics rather than ruled by them — so it makes perfect sense for video game adaptations to focus almost exclusively on the narrative side of things. As such, that’s what Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York and its follow-up Shadows of New York provide.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York

In Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York, there are three playable characters, all of whom are newly Embraced Kindred: a proud member of Clan Brujah, an artistic member of Clan Toreador, and a ruthless businesswoman from Clan Ventrue. Your choice of character doesn’t change the plot entirely, but it does allow you to make use of different dialogue options and vampiric abilities over the course of the adventure, meaning you can have several potentially quite different experiences along the way.

The narrative concerns your newly Embraced vampire being caught in the never-ending struggle between the Camarilla and the Anarchs, though of course you’ll also have to fend off the unwanted attention of the Beast that lurks within every vampire. Control your bloodlust, keep a close eye on both your enemies and allies, and you might end up having a more significant impact on the city than you ever thought possible.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York, meanwhile, was originally released as a standalone expansion to Coteries of New York, but is perhaps better thought of as a sequel owing to it having a different lead character and a completely independent story. This time around, you take control of a vampire from the Lasombra clan named Julia, making use of her shadow-themed abilities and opportunities to communicate with “The Other Side” in order to investigate the death of a local Anarch leader.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York

Both Coteries of New York and Shadows of New York are respectful of existing Vampire: The Masquerade lore rather than feeling like fan-fiction, being based on the series’ New York By Night sourcebook. In turn, the two games’ events have been adopted into official Vampire: The Masquerade canon, so if you enjoy the tabletop experience these games can very much enrich your understanding of the overall game world.

They’re beautifully presented games, too, featuring a gorgeous hand-painted art style that really makes the setting and characters look wonderfully vivid. If you enjoy playing visual novels and adventures for the art, they’re a great choice.

Both games were originally released in 2020, but fans have been clamouring for a physical release ever since — this sort of thing is very collectible, particularly considering how much money dedicated Vampire: The Masquerade fans doubtless spend on sourcebooks and other supplementary material each year. And, excitingly, we’re finally getting one for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, thanks to a collaboration between publisher Paradox Interactive and our pals over at Funstock.

Vampire: The Masquerade New York bundle

The collector’s edition is set to ship in the winter of this year, and includes a physical copy of both games on a single Switch cart or PlayStation 4 disc, plus a reversible hardback artbook — one end featuring art from Coteries of New York, the other Shadows — and a Vampire-themed USB stick with a hanging Camarilla symbol keychain that comes preloaded with a 28-track official soundtrack, 9 additional bonus tracks plus a selection of wallpapers for both desktop and mobile.

The bundle, which comes in a collector’s box with an attractive slipcase, will set you back £65.99 and is available for preorder right now! In the meantime, if you’re still hungry for more vampire action, why not take a look at Red Embrace: Hollywood?

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Pete Davison
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