UPDATED AND REWRITTEN:
a while back i ran a V20 chronicle so i was able to get actual play time. i will try not to get too detailed as that can be hours, but in summary, this game love is well deserved, it's fun, flexible, and my player had a blast and i am planning a chapter 2 of the chronicle soon that will have the Sabbat.
first, the POD, it is a hefty book, should of realized that when it said 500+ on the side bar, that said, it's serviceable, and my pages haven't fallen off yet. the art is really good albeit cheesy, but i look at it as that early 2000s late 1990s cheese, when everyone was being edgey AF.
next, this is a World of Darkness book, so as such, information is a pain to find, so you will want to get the pdf to save you some time in searching specifics. i do like the LARP rules and safe guards they have at the beginning of the book, this game can get dark so you want to make sure your players are safe and they're protected in that this is a game, and the ST understand Fade to Black tools and such. i appreciate that.
there are many here that say V20 is superior to V5, and here's my 2 cents on that: V20 is revised revised edition akin to 2e of Adnd, with a large metaplot. V5 tries to ground vampires to local conflicts while the metaplot is the background, meaning it focuses more on the personal horrors of being a vampire. you hear there's a war going on, but there are no specifics (or lack of clear direction if you want to get meta). to me, V5 isn't bad as it does update the game mechincally, however, what it lacks is the personality that V20 clearly has, each clan is unique with clear curses, banes, strengths, and how they operate. imo the giovanni are a clear example of how unique they are. another recent example is the Sabbat, in V20 while they're still monsters and antagonists, they have a CLEAR hierarchy and culture that was thought out, you understand the Sabbat better and maybe want to run a Sabbat Chronicle. the Sabbat believe gehenna is where the antidullvans arise and kill all vampires, but the clear difference is they plan to fight back. V5 sabbats to me, seem like vampire terrorists with no clear goal in mind. gehenna is here, so we fight everyone including themselves with no clear direction from the Regent or any other hierarchy. it's like they forgot the Code of Milan.
game play is simple, it's a d10 system, so you roll an attribute plus an ability that best fits the task, and roll. as ST i love that there's a default number for success which is 6, however, i can make it easier or harder depending on what's going on, and set a number of successes needed. it makes it much simpler to call for checks, and when someone is doing something pretty specific i am not tied down to specific checks either, i can call for different attributes and abilities that best fit the task. where it gets tricky is combat, but once you understand the rules of combat, it's VERY deadly and pretty fast paced. i thought Cyberpunk 2020 was deadly, vampires can take damage but it'll catch up to them quickly.
overall, the praise AND criticism of V20 are deserved, and i am of the mindset that there is a game system for everyone. that said, i use V20 rules for the V5 Chicago by Night setting, and it's different enough that it could be (and is) a V20 chronicle, so if you want to run Vampire, with better established lore and be more powerful, this game is for you.
[5 of 5 Stars!]