Fittingly enough for a game based on the Storyteller RPG system, Vampire's greatest strength is its plot. The various kinds of foreshadowing and all the intrigues, plots and mysteries work themselves out nicely. There are, to be sure, questions that are unanswered and some minor contradictions, but there is no doubt that Bloodlines has writing on par with Fallout and Fallout 2.
In fact, it even shows glimpses of the same kind of sense of humor. These are generally few and far between, but their discreet use adds a warm flavor to the game. At one point, the player's character finds himself in a conversation where a demand conflicting with his quest is being placed upon him. One of the dialogue options that opens up is along the lines of "Nobody tells me what to do. No... wait, a lot of people do, but here's my chance for payback." It's the kind of meta-humor that pokes fun at the game mechanics which, oddly enough, makes them more tolerable. In fact, the developers went to a fair bit of effort to make the linearity make sense. All factions involved want the player to, well, play along. Should the player seek to shirk his duty, his Ventrue prince will use the Dominate discipline to get him back in line.
The dialogue adapts itself at times to the player's clan. Often, this is merely a cosmetic difference, like the addition of a line or two ("Oh man, you're a Malkavian? You're really f*cked hahaha!
"), but at certain segments it can make a real gameplay difference. A Tremere can get access to a different hidey-hole, Malkavians and Ventrue will have the ability to use Dementation and Domination in certain conversations, and so on.
The early parts of the game also show off some great scripted sequences. Though this is hardly the first review to harp about it, the haunted mansion (a mandatory quest) is remarkably tense for a scenario where it's almost impossible to die. Never, not even during the sewers or the endgame, did my quicksave see so much use. I'll miss that F9 key.
Later on though, even as the plot tightens up and things begin to come together, the gameplay unravels. The trick scripted sequences and interesting level layouts are abandoned in favor of some really mindless, and at times frustrating, combat. Despite the usefulness of high hacking and lockpicking skills, or of high social abilities, dare not neglect your combat stats. A Brujah character is really the easiest way to finish the game, despite the extra frustrations of some puzzles.