Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice Review: An Insatiable Hunger for Venice

Fast Travel Games first meddled with the World of Darkness with 2021’s Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife. That was a suspenseful horror, full of atmosphere and vengeful ghosts. Action-oriented it was not. This year the studio returns to the World of Darkness once more in Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice. This time, however, you’re not on the back foot. Instead, you find yourself in the shoes of a vampire hunting for answers in Venice, Italy. And whilst you’re still sneaking around, this time you get to be the blood-thirsty killer.

With all the multiplayer games that seem to be arriving for VR headsets, it’s nice to see Fast Travel Games release a story-driven, single-player game. Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice revolves around a vampire, called (you guessed it), Justice. A classic revenge narrative after his sire is killed, you head into the murky underbelly of the City of Bridges. By doing so you learn about the power struggles of the various clans as you scour the streets at night.

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Into Venice, we go

As a vampire, you’re graced with plenty of superhuman abilities that give you tactical advantages. Leap from building to building, attack enemies like a steam train or unleash brutal magical skills that can rip foes apart. It’s great fun being a vampire quite honestly, having the freedom to sneak about the city streets, through open windows or perch atop roofs for a good lookout.

Venice feels dark, grim and suitable atmospheic, even on Meta Quest 2. As you’re a vampire it’s always night as you carry out tasks given by Pietro, a vampire who has seen better days. He wants his revenge against those who imprisoned him. There’s enough of an interesting narrative that Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice doesn’t need to lean solely on its action gameplay.

But when I say action, what I really mean is plenty of stealth gameplay. A vampire you may be but you’re not a tank. Bullets hurt a lot, so the best course of action is always to stay hidden. The environments facilitate this very easily although it can take a little while to get accustomed to the finer points of navigating each area. Whilst you are given the freedom to tackle each route/challenge how you see fit – climbable pipes, ladders, cabling etc. – this is still a very linear game. Kill or don’t kill, stay high or don’t, but there’s always a singular door at the end.

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But to use all of your fancy skills you need blood and a steady supply of it. In classic vampire style, the main way is to grab an enemy and draw them in for a bite. This replenishes your health as well as your abilities. However, this means getting down to street level, putting you in greater danger of being spotted and killed. The other approach is to scavenge rats for tinier blood boosts. Safer but far less brutal and satisfying – yes, biting the necks of unaware foes turns into a gratifying experience.

What isn’t is when their mate clocks you doing it and kills you. Being spotted and killed can occur quite frequently, firstly because guards spot you relatively quickly. Get two or more and it gets tricky, once they spot you and the icon above their head turns red they instantly spot and shoot next time. Which leaves you at the mercy of the frustrating loading screens. Nothing more immersion breaking in VR than being brought back to a loading screen time and again. Get past this and Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice enjoyably opens up.

Serving up a nice Dishonored vibe, Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice‘s missions roll at a nice pace with optional bonus objectives to up your XP. All of these can be replayed to gain further XP and collect any secret artefacts littering each area. The XP can then be spent on character upgrades such as more health from rats, better intimidation skills (NPCs can unlock new paths or clue you up on secrets), or unlocking new arrows.

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The good and the bad

Even a vampire needs some ranged weaponry and you’ve got a small crossbow mounted to the back of your hand. Now, this isn’t some Apex Constructlevel bow shooter. This thing is good for shooting locks or stunning an enemy for a few seconds so you can tactically get by. Due to its secondary nature, it’s easy to forget to use it on occasion. Especially when creating and loading an arrow can be a bit of a faff.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice may have many good points yet it doesn’t get away with being perfect. The enemy can be frustratingly inconsistent at points, ranging from dumb to savagely accurate. Using a glass bottle or a brick to distract or lure an enemy can offer different results each time.

And on one occasion – only once mind – the game completely crashed midway through a level. Bringing right back to the Quest’s home screen. Thankfully, the game features checkpoints so there was no need to restart the whole sequence again.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice Review Summary

If you’re looking for an atmospheric single-player adventure then you can’t go too far wrong with Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice. Just like Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, Fast Travel Games has brought the World of Darkness to life once again, delivering a rich experience with minimal flaws. Being a vampire has never been so much fun, with plenty of lore to keep immersed in the fantasy world. Overall, an entertaining 10+ hour adventure. Plus, it looks good on Meta Quest 2.