I come into playing VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE BLOODLINES without having any former experience with the VAMPIRE RPG or game. I didn't really know what to expect from the game, but the HALF-LIFE 2 engine and non-linear gameplay had me sold immediately.
The story picks up with you being a new vampire. However, you are one who joined the ranks without the approval of The Prince of Los Angeles. You're given the opportunity to prove yourself and after creating a character and picking a class, you're unleashed on several different districts of L.A. including Santa Monica and Downtown L.A.. Though the gameplay is from the first-person perspective, there is more of an RPG-feel to the game that might remind you more of KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC.
Also adding to the feel that will remind you of KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC is The Masquerade and your Humanity. As you do evil things, killing innocent people or feeding to the point of draining someone's blood completely you will slowly start to go insane. You might lash out and try and feed on a random person in public. Public usage of your power is also another bad thing besides bringing down local police officers if you do something like feeding, you may also be breaking The Masquerade. This is a set of rules to keep the Vampires hidden from public view, and you can attract varying levels of attention from cops to vampire hunters. How you play the game is up to you though, and the way you treat characters early in the game changes how they may react to you later on.
The RPG elements extend a bit besides just having skill sets for things like picking
The point is that there are tons of places to go in the game and all sorts of interesting trouble to get yourself into. Besides all of the neat sidequests you can find, there main story narrative is pretty interesting also. Within the first couple hours you'll reach a haunted mansion that is polygon for polygon one of the freakiest game areas I've played this year make sure you play this one with headphones/surround sound and the lights out.
That's part of what I think makes VAMPIRE work so well. It's an absolutely beautiful game and really sucks you right into the world. I don't know that I've been as immersed in an RPG since KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC. The HALF-LIFE 2 engine looks great. The only drawback might be some of the animation but I didn't notice too many problems and compared to most PC games it looks great.
The sound of the game is maybe the biggest underwhelming aspect. It's there, it's solid, but there is nothing great. Decent sound effects, good music, but sometimes parts of the game just seem too quiet. It's not bad, but there is nothing to write home about.
All in all, this is probably one of the best three RPGs that will be out this holiday season along with LOTR: THIRD AGE and KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II. It's definitely worth checking out if you're interested in RPGs, beautiful graphics or really just all around quality titles.