Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Tips To Help You Not Suck
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is a complicated game that throws dozens of important choices at you right from the start. It’s rather easy to talk yourself into a corner and miss out on key pieces of information or overlook a vital clue for a puzzle that’s got you stumped. Our beginner’s tips for Swansong help avoid some of the more common pitfalls and get the outcome you want.
Use Willpower wisely
Your vampire gets a limited amount of Willpower at the start of each scene, the blue diamonds used in conversations to influence people’s thinking, and for the most part, that’s all you get. You can replenish some through conversations and certain items, but usually only between three and five Willpower points, sometimes more.
It may be tempting to use Focus and force your way through an exchange to get what you want or use your skills whenever you can. However, it’s usually best to hold back at least eight Willpower points to use in a Confrontation. These have more serious ramifications for failing and can influence endings and available objectives.
A note on Focus
Focus in general is a bit tricky. In theory, you can use it to boost your chances of success should a conversation option end in a tie between you and the other speaker, so long as you have at least one point in that skill or trait. In practice, it rarely works that way, something Swansong even acknowledges.
Unless your opponent has a significantly lower skill level, they almost always increase their Focus as well, reducing your chances of success and wasting your Willpower when you lose. It’s best to use Focus if your level is one or two higher than theirs, and you start with at least a 30% chance of success. Even then, keep an eye on the forecast outcome to see how likely it is they may respond in kind.
Just because you can use a skill, doesn’t mean you should
You’ll often find none of this matters anyways thanks to how Swansong structures its dialogue choices. The presence of a skill option–a choice that requires rhetoric or persuasion, for example–isn’t always the “right” choice. Sometimes it even makes things worse. Pay attention to who you’re talking to and their relationship with your character before deciding whether to spend Willpower on a choice.
Check everything–then check it again
Swansong rewards methodical sleuthing. Whether it’s a seemingly innocuous cup, a photograph, or a bloodsoaked piece of clothing, even the smallest items often have some kind of clue to offer or can help push the story forward. In some cases, it’s worth checking everything again after a new development, as a few items take on new importance once you’ve gained more knowledge or altered the scene in some way.
Not every item is of vital importance. Some–files and notebooks in particular–are just there to add context for a situation.This knowledge can still come in handy, though, and give greater insight into what dialogue choices might get the outcome you want at a later point.
Talk to everyone, multiple times. Swansong has no quest markers or any kind of indication that someone might be important, so the only way to know is if you’ve spoken with them to get their story and perspective on the situation at hand. Sometimes, it’ll just be standard lore you get for your trouble.
More often, though, you’ll find–and hopefully write down–a piece of information that clashes with someone else’s testimony and opens a new path forward. If you ever come across a character talking about someone else you’ve met, make sure to go back to that character and see if they have anything new to say.
The trouble is, Swansong doesn’t actually keep track of any of this for you. The only way to look back on a curious tidbit you learned or an important pass code is trekking all the way back across a stage to check the object again, and that’s just tedious.
A general rule is that if there’s something specific in a description or on an item, such as a date or even mention of a location, write it down. Take Galeb’s first full stage, for example. Tucked away in a random book on the floor in a hallway, among several other books, is a brief mention of a hidden emergency chamber. This location ends up being crucial for completing the main story objective, but it’s easy to forget in the midst of all the other evidence you gather.
We don’t need no education (Kidding, you really do)
Regardless of which starting class your vampires end up in, you can distribute your skill points however you like. Make sure to invest some in education and deduction, especially for Leysha. Each scene has a couple of interactions or conversations, sometimes more, that require at least one point in education or deduction.
Without them, you’re forced to ignore certain dialogue options and miss out on key information, often information that’s necessary for completing side tasks. You can still finish a scene and earn plenty of experience even if you have to play dumb and overlook obvious connections in conversations. It’s just much less frustrating this way.
Keep your Hunger in check
Swansong delights in throwing unexpected situations at you, especially if they require you to use your vampire powers and increase your Hunger meter. Some sequences actually have multiple choices in a row where you can either use a power or deal with a less savory outcome.
The problem is, if your Hunger is too high, you’ll lose control and instantly kill whoever is nearby–not a good thing to do. Try and keep your Hunger below five as often as you can, especially if you’re headed into a new area or starting a new objective.
On a similar note, only drain each victim once. There’s almost always another safe room you can find to lure a new human to, and the increase in suspicion from killing a vessel isn’t worth it.
Don’t fret over missed objectives
No matter how carefully you plan, it’s almost inevitable you’ll miss something or make the wrong choice. And that’s okay. The scene results screen shows you everything you did right, including what paths you missed and which objectives you failed. Use that when you replay to guide what you do differently.
Failing some objectives will influence the story, but you’ll know what these are when they happen–letting a fugitive escape, for example, or defying the Prince’s orders. Others, such as not gaining intel on every council member in the first scene, just mean you lose out on some lore and experience.
Always use consumables
This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to use your consumables. Coins, pictures, and club cards restore Willpower for Galeb, Leysha, and Emem, respectively. You can use them even if you haven’t spent any Willpower yet to go beyond the amount you start the scene with.
Others, such as lockpicks and keycards, are more dependent on your stats. If you have at least one point in their corresponding skills, you can use them to boost your chances of success in the next related interaction–picking locks, hacking computers, and the like. It’s an easy way to compensate for certain skills you might have overlooked, and no consumable carries over to the next scene.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.