Tuesday, August 9, 2011
After installing VTMB, my first goal was to install the “Unofficial Patch,” a community made collection of improvements that address a vast amount of bugs plaguing the game. In my pursuit of home-brewed fixes, I happened upon a fairly rich selection of player generated mods. Some offer new quest lines, others gameplay adjustments or character re-skins. If I so choose, I can make the background NPCs more appealing or re-texture bland environments.
The older a game is, the more intrigued I am at the prospect of breaking its rules. Surely we have all felt, at one time or another, the temptation to bend a game to our liking. Justifying game adjustments demands an assessment of the developer’s intent. Vampire’s unofficial patch repairs serious flaws that Troika never intended to appear in the game. Perhaps they would have also approved of the addon I installed to improve NPC eye textures, giving their characters a more realistic and alluring look. Would enhancing the game's diner environment be going to far? What about modernizing character outfits?
The line between cheating and simply “adjusting” game elements is thin. At one point while playing VTMB, I encountered a bug that locked me behind a gate that needed crossing. In order to pass the barrier, I opened the console tool and turned on noclip mode, allowing me to move through the game’s geometry. Once the console was open, I could do almost anything with the game. Unsatisfied with Vampire’s ranged combat mechanics, I gave myself experience points to make up for wasted points allotted in firearms. While stuck in a particularly difficult warehouse, my skills not high enough to overcome my situation as stealthy as I wished, I turned on notarget, making me invisible to the enemies I effortlessly slipped behind and finished off.
Alright, I’ll admit I cheated, and here is why:VTMB is almost a great game. Within the first two hours of play, I knew it offered something special. Unfortunately the best parts seem buried beneath frustratingly unpolished mechanics. I am trying to resist the urge to abandon normal play entirely, making my character a minor deity amongst vampires, but the temptation is strong. While I feel comfortable making the game my own, with too much power in my hands, I may end up sacrificing a meaningful experience in pursuit of a better game.