Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

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  • Make sure you don't ignore your combat skills. Even if you want to play a diplomatic or sneaky character, you still want to have at least one combat stat at 9-10 by the end of the game. There's a lot of unavoidable fighting.
  • Your life will be a lot easier with decent lockpicking skill. However, you don't need to get it up above 8-you'll always be able to use Blood Buff to get it to 10 and pick any lock in the game.
  • Similarly, Persuasion 9 is the highest necessary to make all the skill checks, and even then, you only need 9 for a minor sidequest in the Giovanni mansion. Get it to 9 before then, or just leave it at 8.
  • Firearms SUCK early on. The revolver is pretty much worthless, even against human opponents, even if you have decent firearm skill. Even if you plan on playing a gunfighter, it's never a waste to put some early points in Unarmed to get through the start, since you'll use Unarmed when trying to feed on enemies during combat. Don't worry, the guns are MUCH more effective once you get to the third city section. Also, don't tattle on Mercuri - he's the source for the best guns in the game.
  • There's a quest dealing with a plague in the second section of the city. The boss you'll eventually fight will be really tough if you take him on as soon as you can, especially if your combat skills aren't up to snuff. You'll have a much easier time if you wait till the better guns I mentioned become available, or your character starts to become a powerhouse.
  • Enable the console. There are a few bugs you might need to use noclip to get past. Also, consider noclipping the sewer dungeon if it drives you nuts.
  • You want to install Wesp's unofficial patch. The Steam version is probably pre-patched to the latest official version 1.2, but if not the official patches include all official content. Wesp's patch comes in Regular and Plus editions (selectable within the installer), the Regular version is just straight bugfixes while Plus tries to improve or balance the game as well. I would go with Plus personally because they are not intrusive changes.
  • Male or female really doesn't seem to matter, even with the seduction skill.
  • Don't play Malkavians first time through, you won't understand anything (your mad character will only make sense if you already know what's happening). Don't play the Nosferatu either, because they can't move about freely or access a lot of sidequests. The more "generic" clans are probably your best bet.
  • If you kick ass in most FPSs, remember this is mainly a RPG - your damage with ranged weapons depends more on character skill than player skill. Most weapons don't do headshots, sometimes even counting headshots as a partial hits.
  • Pick one: fists, melee weapons, or guns, don't try putting skills into all.
  • Lockpicking and hacking are needed to and pass all missions, unless you cheat, so take your pick, as having both at once is difficult.