I have to admit, I was dead set on seeing Kain suck more blood using his invisible straw upon hearing the word Nosgoth back in E3 2014. It’s been a long time since we had a Legacy of Kain game, or at least anything remotely close to it, so you could only imagine the amount of hype I went through when I heard the word “Nosgoth”. Indeed, I was tad disappointed when I saw the actual demo on stream. Anyway, before I start this beta review, let me just throw this out the window: If you’re hoping to see the next installment to the Legacy of Kain series, then you better start looking elsewhere, because this is a completely different game. In fact, I think it’s just a random game tying to exploit the people’s familiarity towards the name, kinda like that Godzilla movie back in 1998 (oh no you didn’t!).
Developed by Psyonix, Nosgoth is a free-to-play Humans vs Vampire themed online shooter for the PC. Oh have the mighty have fallen! I never thought the day would come when I would see one of my most cherished worlds enter the world of free-to-play gaming (a bit of elitism on my part). Still, despite my fanboy-ish gripes, I still took the liberty of signing up for the beta. And you know what? Amidst all the disappointments I was preparing myself for, what awaited me was actually a fairly decent shooter that’s worth playing. Let’s begin!
Vampires vs Humans
In Nosgoth, both teams take turns in playing for the humans and vampires. At some point, the game acts as an arena-based version of Left 4 Dead, given that both sides play marginally different from one another. There are 4 classes per race, and although the humans have some interesting skills like the rain of arrows and bola, it’s the vampire classes who really take the cake. There’s just something so fun about running on walls and pouncing on an unsuspecting opponent from the top of a building.
Vampires have a more ‘gimmicky’ and more varied approach compared to their human opponents, relying on brute force, isolating opponents, and surprise pouncing. This makes matches both interesting and surprising, as these bloodsuckers, in my opinion, are the game setters for each match. They can also feed on dead humans to replenish their health.
Reavers play a lot like the hunters in Left 4 Dead. They can pounce on enemies and deal massive damage while able to dodge bullets at a push of a button. Tyrants serve as the brutes of the Vampire clan. Given their massive HP and ability to charge towards enemy players, these behemoths serve as the vampire’s frontliners. Sentinels, on the other hand are well known for their kidnapping ability, allowing them to swoop down and isolate enemies effectively. The Deceiver is perhaps my favorite vampire class of all, with their ability to control their opponents’ movement, thus making them easy targets for fellow vampires. It’s always fun to be the playmaker.
Humans, as you may have already expected, function a bit more traditionally in the shooter sense. To be honest, they are quite boring to play due to their regular run and gun nature. Heck, they aren’t even allowed to climb buildings, so their movement is partially limited. I guess I’ve played so many shooters to want something new at this point, especially since this is based on one of my most favorite games of all time. They do, however, have nifty tools such as bolas and various AOEs which aids them greatly in beating their more agile opponents.
Hunters serve as the typical shooter class in the game. They have bolas designed to hold monsters in place, as well an explosive shot that deals massive damage. The Alchemist, as the name implies, focuses more on concocted AOE items such as the wall of fire which levels the field greatly for their opponents. Scouts, much like the hunters are pretty basic, with the exception of their rain of arrows which deals good damage to those caught inside the target circle. Last but not the least, we have the Prophet, which by far is the most interesting human class so far. Unlike the other classes, Prophets are more of a support character, healing teammates at the cost of their own life while leeching life off enemy vampires to boost their trade.
There are 3 available game modes in the beta so far. You have Recruit, which is basically ‘Team Deathmatch’ for newbies; the regular TDM, which is self-explanatory; and Nosgoth’s own brand of Call of Duty’s Domination, Siege. Among the game modes, Siege is perhaps my favorite due to its team-oriented nature. Basically, Humans gain points by securing locations, while vampires rack up scores by killing the opposing team. It’s actually quite a ride, seeing that this is where proper team coordination really shines.
What Are You Buying?
As expected of any free-to-play game, Nosgoth also features a premium shop for those who want to go the extra mile. Apart from the regular xp boosters and character skins, the game also offers weapons and a variety of perks that you can use to enhance your playstyle. Those looking to play the game for free, however, can still enjoy these perks via the game’s daily free perks, allowing you to test enhancements before deciding to buy them. There’s also a Runestone tab, which I believe will be added at a later time. The game is still on its early stages after all, so I’m looking forward to seeing more.
A Good Shade of Gothic Horror
When it comes to visuals, Nosgoth does well in implementing the gothic feel its predecessors are well known for. The areas are both bloody and gloomy, with candlelit/torchlit areas that really brings this macabre world to life. To say the least, the graphics are impressive and are easy on the eyes, even when there are tons of things going on on your screen. The motion blur also does well in hiding subpar framerates, resulting in a more buttery experience.
I’m Impressed By Nosgoth
Sure, we didn’t really get the Legacy of Kain game we wanted, but Nosgoth really does have a lot to offer. It’s still in closed beta, so we’ll probably be seeing more soon. The classes are really fun to play, but I really have to hand it to the vampires, who really make each match diverse and full of random surprises. The game has a severe lack of game modes, given the variety of options present on modern day shooters; however, it’s also worth noting that the game is still on its early stages, so it’s only bound to get better with time. With that said, despite not having to do anything with Soul Reaver and the likes, Nosgoth is built to impress and is definitely a free-to-play game worth waiting for.Related: Nosgoth, Preview, Shooter