The World of Darkness is a shared universe of tabletop RPGs developed by White Wolf Publishing. The most popular subseries is Vampire: The Masquerade, which you have probably heard of. But others, such as Hunter: The Reckoning and Werewolf: The Apocalypse have their cult followings, too.
While not as ubiquitous as the best Dungeons & Dragons video games, the World of Darkness does have a few solid adaptations of its own. That said, most of the games have received average-to-negative reviews since the early 2000s.
Still, if you love the World of Darkness universe, then check out these games.
1. Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines (2004)
If you know mid-2000s gaming culture, then you probably saw this one coming. Hailed as a flawed masterpiece and generally considered the best World of Darkness video game, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines is a gem. It features amazing writing, a world full of rich lore and a gripping story that sees you travel across Los Angeles to battle forces beyond your ken.
Bloodlines isn’t perfect, but well over a decade of community patches and mods have made the game much better than it was at launch. In fact, if you buy it on GOG, you get a version of the community patch preinstalled.
When you create a character, you pick from some of the different vampire clans, each with their own powers and weaknesses. I’m a huge fan of the Malkavian path, like a lot of people. While the game hasn’t aged all that well graphically, the soundtrack is peak 2000s rock, and I’m here for it. If you want the best that Vampire has to offer, you have to try Bloodlines.
2. Hunter: The Reckoning (2002)
Hunter: The Reckoning came out in 2002 for the Xbox and GameCube, offering hack-n-slash action in the town of Ashcroft. You take on the role of hunters, battling vengeful wraiths that were once sealed away, but have now gotten free.
The tabletop Hunter: The Reckoning game focuses on humans who are aware of the supernatural monsters in the World of Darkness. These hunters, imbued with sight and power, fight off the otherworldly creatures. The video game Hunter: The Reckoning supports both single- and multiplayer, letting you control one of four hunters who witnessed a horrible event prior to the game’s events.
Overall, this is a fun game, but unfortunately, it's not available on newer consoles. It never came out on PC, so your only options are to either own an original Xbox or GameCube and track down the game, or emulate it.
3. Vampire: The Masquerade — Coteries of New York (2019)
If you like visual novel adventure games, then Vampire: The Masquerade — Coteries of New York is definitely one you should try. You play as one of three vampires, caught in a conflict between two vampiric factions. Your choices affect the branching narrative.
Coteries of New York focuses more on the roleplaying aspect of Vampire: The Masquerade, letting you see the more subtle parts of life as a vampire in the World of Darkness. Whether you side with the Camarilla or the Anarchs, Coteries of New York offers a lot of replayability.
There’s also the standalone expansion, Shadows of New York, if you’re hungry for more.
4. Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road (2020)
Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road is a text-based RPG, available on PC and mobile devices. You take on the role of a courier as the vampire world starts to buckle under the onslaught of the Second Inquisition. You choose from a long list of clans, and then you get a lot of freedom to choose what kind of vampire you want to become.
There are few visual elements in Night Road, so this is perfect for people who love old-school text RPGs. Overall, Night Road has a lot to offer, with many interesting choices and outcomes, and some great Vampire roleplaying.
5. World of Darkness Preludes: Vampire and Mage (2017)
We might be cheating a bit here, but World of Darkness Preludes: Vampire and Mage is actually two interactive stories. One centers on a fledgling vampire, and the other on a new mage who’s caught in Sweden’s mid-2010s political strife.
Vampire: The Masquerade — We Eat Blood is one of those text message-based stories where you decide whether to let your vampire succumb to their monstrous nature, or have them hold onto their humanity as much as possible.
Mage: The Ascension — Refuge is a choose-your-own-adventure style game. You play as Julia Andersson as she learns that she has access to True Magick. You can choose to do good or evil with this power.
Both of these are fun games to try, especially since they were the first World of Darkness video games in the previous decade. Refuge is especially awesome, since there aren’t many representations of Mage: The Ascension in the video game world. Vampire: The Masquerade is popular for a reason, but World of Darkness has several other excellent properties, too.
The best World of Darkness video games: Outlook
You can liken World of Darkness video games to The Lord of the Rings video games. Many are average, at best; some aren’t great; but a few stand out as excellent titles. Obviously, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines is the best World of Darkness game, despite being almost 20 years old. If you like vampires, you have a lot of options in this universe.
There are many other World of Darkness games, including several from the Werewolf: The Apocalypse subseries. However, we wanted to highlight the best, and Werewolf has a rocky history when it comes to video game adaptations.
World of Darkness video games seem to be coming back to life, especially ones based on Vampire: The Masquerade. Bloodlines 2 is supposedly in progress, while we just published our review of Vampire: The Masquerade — Swansong. We just hope to see more adaptations of other series someday, such as Hunter: The Reckoning and Mage: The Ascension.