Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong – Review
Follow Genre: Narrative RPG
Developer: Big Bad Wolf
Publisher: Nacon
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One / Series X|S, Switch
Tested on: PC

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong – Review

Site Score
Good: Fits really well within the series' universe, Interesting story, Challenging puzzle designs
Bad: It's not always clear which options will have a certain effect, Some clues are easy to miss because of awkward camera angles
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is the most recent game in the Vampire: The Masquerade series. This game focuses on your investigative skills, uncovering the circumstances leading to and following the slaughter of influential vampires in the city of Boston. This game has been developed by Big Bad Wolf and is published by Nacon.


In this game, you’ll follow three vampires as they investigate a major incident that happened in the city they live in: Boston. As you start out as one of the vampires, you’ll learn that all vampires are gathered and confined into safe spaces. This is because something serious has happened at a party that was meant to be the celebration of a new alliance between the vampires and a group of warlocks. As you investigate further, you’ll quickly discover that all vampires who were present at the party had either been slaughtered or locked up. You’ll learn that this was done by a new menacing group of vampire hunters, naming themselves ‘the second inquisition’.

You’ll experience the story by talking to NPCs, and by exploring and investigating objects. As you explore your environment, you’ll often trigger cutscenes explaining a bit more about the story and the characters. By investigating you’ll also unlock background information which you’ll be able to read via the menu of the game, revealing a lot of information about the setting of the game. This background information is really interesting if you want to learn more about the setting and the characters, but it’s not necessary to read in order to be able to understand the story of the game itself.

Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong is a story-rich game that ventures deep into the lore of the Vampire: The Masquerade universe from the World of Darkness table-top role-playing system. It’s useful if you already know a bit about the world the game is set in, but it’s not required to be able to follow the story as it is properly fleshed out in the game.


The graphics are really nice; the characters are beautiful, the environments are designed exquisitely, and the atmosphere of the scenes will definitely draw you into this mysterious dark setting. The only minor issues with the visuals were that some textures seem a bit too stiff or shiny at times and the animations are not always perfect, which was most noticeable during dialogues.

The characters all look striking and unique, especially the vampires. They have an otherworldly look that fits perfectly with the kindred. There was a large variation in skin color, hairstyles, body types, and clothing styles, which was a joy to see such representation in a game, especially since vampires are traditionally mostly depicted as white-skinned, slender, and traditionally pretty. The different variations of the vampire clans were also really well represented by the character designs and animations.

The use of light in the game is really good, the overall lighting of scenes conveys a fitting atmosphere, and light is often applied to draw your eyes towards important clues you’ll need to investigate. Light, blur, and particle effects are also often used effectively to indicate where you can use certain skills or abilities, as well as to indicate whether you’ve activated a skill and to show the effect that skill has. These visual effects are a good representation of the skills and they are integrated well with the environment.


The game is fully voice acted, and the voice-acting is performed well. Sometimes the characters seemed to be a bit emotionally stunted, but that might have been intentional since vampires can of course be a bit.. cold-blooded. Other characters make up for that with obvious emotions conveyed through their voice acting. The internal dialogue of the characters is voice-acted as well, and this provides clues to help you on your way.

Music and environmental sounds are quite subtle but really help to set the mood and atmosphere of the scenes. Sounds are also used effectively to indicate important discoveries, or they help to direct you to a certain location.


Vampire The Masquerade: Swansong is a narrative-driven role-playing game with lots of puzzles. Most of the time you’ll be exploring your surroundings, trying to piece together what happened. You’ll do this by investigating the items you’ll find, the information you gather by talking to other characters, and by making use of your unique vampire skills.

The puzzles you’ll encounter generally revolve around trying to gain access to certain clues, finding people to talk to, and uncovering documents or items. You’ll have to manipulate people blocking the way, use your skills to get around blockades, find keys and acquire key codes, etc. The puzzles are pretty inventive, but the solutions aren’t always too straightforward. Some clues are easy to overlook, especially since some items are grouped closely together and you’ll need to pan around the zoomed-in view to find all objects you can interact with. However, often you’ll be able to identify the items you’re looking for without needing to find all the clues leading to it, and even if you miss something small, the consequences for the story aren’t that great.

Interaction with objects can sometimes be a bit confusing; you’ll get a list of interaction options when investigating an object. Some of these options can both be done one after another, but sometimes choosing one option will render you unable to perform another interaction. For instance, at one moment in the game, you’ll be able to interact with a letter that is concealed, but after you’ve concealed a certain suitcase, you won’t be able to interact with it anymore, even if you haven’t exhausted all interaction options you had.

All three characters you play have their own unique skills and abilities, which they use in different ways, unique to the type of character they are. For instance, one of the characters can copy the uniforms of the NPCs you’ll meet, which you’ll wear as a disguise in order to gain access to certain locations. Another character can teleport from one location to another, as long as it is in sight and not too far away, making her way of navigating a location very different from the other characters.

You’ll also be able to use certain skills during conversations; for instance, you can try to dominate somebody to bend them to your will, you can use your psychological insight to manipulate someone, or you can use your knowledge to ask prying questions. Using these skills uses blood points and you’ll have to drink blood in order to replenish these points, so you’ll need to use your skills sparingly. The chance of succeeding in these interactions is dependent on your skill level, the skill level of your opponent, and a bit of luck. Sometimes your chance of succeeding can be quite high, but you might still fail. However, if you do fail, you might miss a certain piece of information, but the story will still continue. You’ll be able to boost certain skills as you use them, to increase the chance of succeeding. However, boosting does increase the cost of using the skill.

The game doesn’t feature any combat, although there are dialogue types called ‘confrontations’ which you need to navigate successfully in order to succeed in an encounter. It’s not always obvious which choices are the right ones, but the consequences of failing to answer all steps in the most optimal way aren’t that impactful. Failing an entire confrontation will let you do the whole conversation over again, equipped with some more knowledge of what the right answers might be.

During dialogues and when you’re investigating certain items, you’ll have several options to choose from, and the choices you’ll make will have an effect on the flow of the story and the final ending of the story. As you finish one scene, you’ll be presented with a short summary of the actions you took and how you could have done things differently. You’ll be able to replay the scene again to see the effects of trying different options.

Each character has a character sheet with a list of skills and abilities you can upgrade in between scenes. For starting players it’s useful to choose between any of the presets the game presents you with as making your own character build is quite complicated if you aren’t familiar with the Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing system. You’ll gain experience in each scene according to how many clues you’ve managed to uncover and the encounters you’ve completed successfully. In the beginning, your skills won’t be very strong yet, but in subsequent playthroughs, you’ll be able to uncover all the clues you’ve missed in the beginning.


Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a good puzzle RPG with a really interesting story, rooted deep within the lore of the Vampire: The Masquerade universe. It’s not perfect and some of the game mechanics are a bit underwhelming, but the puzzles are varied and inventive, the conversation options will lead you to interesting outcomes, and the use of skills fits well into the setting and the characters. The game lends itself well for multiple playthroughs and titillates the player to dig deeper into the world of Vampire: The Masquerade and the skill system of the role-playing setting.

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Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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