Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines Has the Only Worthwhile Super-Speed Power I’ve Ever Seen in a Game

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines, the cumbersomely named 2004 PC game from the now-deceased Troika Games, is pretty much everything I want in a video game. It removes things I find obnoxious — such as grinding and other players — it tells a coherent story while still allowing you to feel in control of the narrative, and it gives the player a number of options as to how to approach gameplay while not making one option or character type feel more obviously “correct” than any other.

It’s also the only game I’ve ever seen that does a super-speed type power correctly.

My experience of super-speed type powers comes in two flavors; console RPGs and fighting games. In console RPGs, super-speed type abilities are simple for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain. In fighting games, however, super-speed powers do nothing but enrage me. You activate them, and then you have to quickly acclimate to the fact that you’re moving twice as quickly as you were before. By the time you become comfortable with the timing of button presses and how to move, the power is used up, and you’re left wondering why you did that in the first place.

By contrast, Bloodlines‘ super-speed power (called Celerity) slows down everything else around you. Your avatar doesn’t move any more quickly than it ever did, but rather, every other NPC moves so slowly that you manage to get several attacks off before they can perform even one. At higher levels of the power, even enemies’ bullets move so slowly that you can outrun them. There are even several amusing moments where spoken dialogue slows down while Celerity is active, which was a nice touch.

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines

The only downside I can think of is that Celerity becomes useless for quick travel.

Honestly, though, given how this representation of super-speed actually feels useful instead of pointless, I can’t understand why more games don’t take this route. Bullet Time doesn’t really count, because games with Bullet Time seem based on the idea that you’ll almost exclusively use it during combat. Celerity, on the other hand, felt like a special power that got better over time, which made me feel like I was getting better over time.

Game developers, take note: Super-speed powers should be EXACTLY LIKE CELERITY.

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