Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Draw Distance
Publisher: Draw Distance
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Great introduction to the Vampire: The Masquerade universe, Beautiful art
Bad: Little replay value, Choices are of little importance
User Score
8.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)

Vampire: The Masquerade has quite the history. Starting out as a tabletop role-playing game back in 1991, it has spawned countless tie-ins such as card games, comic books and most notably for us, several video games. Bloodlines, released in 2004, was a roleplaying game putting you into the shoes of a vampire (or Kindred, as they call themselves in this franchise) trying to find their way in the very political Kindred community with its many clans who all have their own agendas. Coteries of New York does something similar, though this time in the form of a visual novel where all your choices (don’t) matter.

Story

Coteries of New York lets you choose a character to play with, each having their own background and personality. While this influences the start of your story (and many of your choices thereafter) the basic premise remains the same. After an unfortunate meeting with a mysterious stranger, you find yourself suddenly turned into a vampire. Without much of a clue of what’s going on or how this happened, you are whisked away by Qadir, who works for the Prince of the Carm, one of the most powerful coteries in the city. The court promptly decides to put you to death, as creating a new vampire without permission is forbidden, but the beautiful Sophie Langley can convince them to spare your life and make you her new ward. Sophie will teach you about Kindred society, showing you how to navigate the complicated relationships between the many clans and the new laws you need to obey, while always struggling to keep the hunger at bay and hide your existence from humans.

Like most visual novels Coteries of New York is bereft of cutscenes and the entire story unfolds in the game itself, with your dialogue options and the people you decide to befriend altering the way the plot plays out and which information you learn along the way.

Graphics

the art style is always an integral part of visual novels and the creators behind this game must have known that too. It looks pretty amazing, the backgrounds have dynamic elements so they’re not just still images but instead have some visual interest like flashing lights, moving elements and such. The character designs are very nice too and the loosely painted style really fits the atmosphere.

Sound

Coteries of New York has less music than expected from a visual novel. There is a constant background of ambient sounds but the music only kicks in at certain scenes. There is no voice acting in the game, so you will spend the entire game reading text. If that is not your style, this game just isn’t for you.

Gameplay

Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York is a visual novel. Most of the game will have little gameplay, with the occasional choices presenting themselves to you which will determine where you go, what you say or how you spend your precious nighttime. Sometimes the choices can be easy, like just determining which questions you want to ask in conversations. Other times picking the wrong option might result in your death.

One of the more important choices you will make are called feeding opportunities. These are points in the story where, if you play your cards right, you will get to consume a human’s blood, satiating your hunger for a little while longer. Doing this will always be risky, but not feeding makes your hunger grow dangerously and ignoring it for too long will have consequences, such as limiting your choices during other events. Every Kindred also has certain special powers at their disposal, determined by their clan. You can discover your powers gradually throughout the game and sometimes you have the option to use them, though it will drain your hunger faster.

Later on, you will get more options on where to go and who to spend your time with. This way you can make allies with who you deem useful, though there is little difference in the long run. The replay value isn’t very high since playing a different character in a second or third run won’t significantly alter the story you experience. Another disadvantage is that the game makes experiencing different choices harder than it has to be. There is no option to automatically skip through the text you have already seen in an earlier run, combined with the game completely deleting your save file if you die. This means that one wrong decision does not only force you to start the game all over again, but you can’t even fast forward through the parts you have already played, which can be extremely frustrating if you already put several hours into the game.

Conclusion

If you are completely new to the Vampire: The Masquerade world, Coteries of New York is an excellent place to start. The set up is simple but engaging and the game does its job in introducing the unique setting and concepts of this franchise, which will certainly get you interested to discover more. However, the game isn’t that long overall and even if you have the patience for it, you can’t experience multiple stories that each have their own distinct flavor as the storylines remain the same and you have to start over from scratch on each replay.

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Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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