If there was one game I did not expect to be playing this week, it was a person vs person vampire-themed free-for-all online title from Square Enix called Nosgoth. This game isn't your traditional shoot-em-up game, nor is it a horror flick. It's somewhere in-between, and it's going to be completely free to play once it's released outside of Beta mode later this year.
Nosgoth is a game that takes place in the universe of Legacy of Kain. This universe also contains two classic titles from the before times - Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain from 1996, and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver from 1999. As such, fans from these titles will likely recognize the environment, see similarities in characters, and feel relatively right at home in this world.
While we're still playing a Beta now, much of the full-fledged gameplay is already activated. This includes the store - which we've not had a lot of experience with yet, but whose appearance is all but unique. According to George Kelion of Square Enix, "all items in our in-game store – which we will be opening up in Closed Beta – are sidegrades, not upgrades. Each individual item has been balanced by having its own share of positive and negative attributes equally."
This game is made to be "free-to-play" but not "pay-to-win" - Square Enix has made clear that they intend all purchasable goods to be balanced with items already in-game acquirable by leveling up and advancing. Outside of the store, there's the extremely simple start screens and news reader you'll see here. This game is about community, clearly.
This game is a multiplayer title, so launching into play means launching into a match. Here you'll see us jumping in with three character classes for each side of the war. There are three classes for Humans and three classes for Vampires, each of them with entirely unique sets of skills.
For example there's a massive hulk of a class fighting for the Vampires which has no equal on the Human side - there's simply no character in the early stages of the game that's as hulking as he. Similarly there's no Vampire that's able to launch "Bola", a weapon which ensnares the enemy and makes them helpless against follow-up attacks.
For the Humans fight an Alchemist, Hunter, and Scout, while for the Vampires fight a Sentinel, Tyrant (massive), and Reaver. The Sentinel can fly, but isn't as robust as the Tyrant, while the Reaver stands as the most balanced of the Vampire crew - from what we've been able to tell so far, that is. Meanwhile the Alchemist has a collection of high-powered spells for magic while the Scout has the ability to aim with concentration.
First you're going to get a taste of the Humans in this hands-on gameplay video. You'll notice that we're attempting to switch back and forth through abilities, testing the lot as we go up against the varied skills of our enemies' also-changing ranks. This game pits a possible 5v5 game up from the start - though often we've ended up having games of 4v4 by the time the match is half over.
This game is akin to Team Fortress... though a very, very disparate Team Fortress from an alternate dimension would be a more accurate description. You're playing from a 3rd-person perspective and you're able to switch load-outs and classes between rounds and you're able to switch as many times as you like during a round - and we're right at the start here, so we're certainly going to see more abilities and actions as the game continues to gain production steam.
Next you're going to see some Vampire gameplay. This game pits Humans against Vampires in a 2-round setup, having you start as one or the other faction, then switching teams once the first half of the round is complete - or the first of two rounds, however you want to see it.
This game is both wildly diverse and radically simple. Wildly diverse in that there's one massive amount of abilities and pieces of in-game hardware you might use to battle your opponent. Radically simple in that once you're in the game, there are really only a few buttons you might tap.
You can roll out in teams, in formations to capture and destroy your opponents, or you can go it alone. You can stick near a health and ammo station (if you're a human) or you can kill to heal (if you're a vampire). In the end, the game is really, really enjoyable. It's not depending on next-generation graphics, and it's probably not going to get the attention that another PvP coming out this month is getting (*cough* Titanfall *cough*), but it's good fun.
This game is in Beta mode right now, and if you want to register for access, the team at Square Enix will more than likely be glad to have you onboard. Just be sure to let them know if you see anything particularly strange going on so they can fix it before the final launch of the title.
Below you're going to see an example of how massive this game's inventory of choices really is. Here you're seeing one big set of items and abilities all collected in one big drawer - this drawer is available to all players right out of the box, and just as free as the rest of the game.