Nosgoth is a spinoff of the popular Legacy of Cain series. Long time fans will likely be disappointed that Psyonix and Square Enix have chosen to follow the free to play model, creating a game that's very accessible if not very intelligent. There's little reference to the much loved series, other than a couple of scattered names and design motifs. But if you can forget the brilliant Cain games that came before it, there's still fun to be had in Nosgoth.
Play as vampire or vampire hunter, with several classes on each side to choose from. The main draw is Team Deathmatch, which sees teams of four pit against each other, human versus vampire. Here, you'll hurl across Nosgoth's beautifully detailed maps in two rounds, playing one species and then the other. This is a much needed swap, as the vampires - who can fly, climb walls and make joyous, deadly leaps - are both more enjoyable and more powerful to play.
As a free-to-play game, Nosgoth gives a fair amount without requiring you to pay up, and most rewards for sale can also be earned by the patient. Haters of the model can choose instead to pay a one time fee and get all the purchasable content at once. Overall, it's a fun, easy title, though it doesn't live up to the epic Legacy of Cain universe it inherited.
When Nosgoth was first announced, long time fans of the Legacy of Cain series were understandably thrilled - and then confused. These were games that were known for depth of storytelling and an incredibly detailed world. So why was the next game going to be a free-to-play online multiplayer?
The answer, as usual, is money. Nosgoth bears a lot more resemblance to other games in its genre than it does to anything in the Cain series. There are some scattered names and design motifs, but as a match-based multiplayer, there's little other room for story or lore. Instead, Nosgoth wants to get you into the action as quickly as possible, in an attempt to appeal to today’s fickle, impatient audience. You choose a mode, side and class, and then you're ready to play. There's not much options in the way of customisation - that's not what this game is about.
Working as a team is essential to surviving Nosgoth's dark world, and you'll spend your time either among vampires or the humans that hunt them. Play as the humans and you'll have technology on your side, with a range of weapons, traps and spells to bring down your supernatural foes. Play as the vampires, and you'll have less equipment, but more awesome natural abilities, like scaling walls, raining down sweet melee death on the unsuspecting, and even flying off with victims to smash them onto the ground below.
Each faction has a couple of starter classes to choose from, with more to unlock as you progress (or whenever you decide to cough up real money). As a Human, the basic classes include the footsoldier Hunter, the ranged Scout or the spell-and-trap Alchemist. For Vampires, you've got the versatile Reaver, tank-like Tyrant or the flying Sentinel.
The game has a couple of modes, with Team Deathmatch the most standout. This is a simple 4 versus 4 set up, with humans and vampires facing off against each other. If you're already wondering why anyone would play as Humans when there are Vampires to be had, the game takes care of that by making you play one round as each faction against the same opponents. Whichever side has more kills at the end wins.
Running through Nosgoth as a vampire is where the game really gets awesome - there's nothing like leaping down to tear your foe apart, only to bound easily up a wall when his friends show up. Playing as a vampire isn't just more fun, it also feels overpowered. Not only do their melee attacks deal a lot of damage, their climbing/flying ability effectively puts them on a completely different plane. Playing as a human often has you holed up in a dark ruin, watching the doors, but as a vampire you're constantly on the move, whether you're evading crossbow-fire, flying off with some poor victim clenched in your talons or escaping up the side of a castle. Vampires can also replenish health by feasting on any human enemies you kill (though doing so leaves you open to attack), while humans cast healing spells instead - snore.
The game only manages to balance this by forcing you to switch sides halfway through. Psyonix still has some work to do to make the two sides feel evenly matched.
Other than Deathmatch, the other modes are there and pretty standard for this genre of multiplayer, but not nearly as fun. Flashpoint, for instance, has you trying to capture or defend strategic points on the map, but in shifting the focus from killing to running around the map, loses a lot of its action value.
The graphics of Nosgoth are impressive - both striking and detailed - though chances are you'll be too busy avoiding death to admire the view. From the elegant vampire city of The Fane to the bleak, smouldering forges of The Crucible, Psyonix have created a world that is a joy to play through, whether you're stalking the ground as a human or vaulting the rooftops as a vampire. Spotted throughout are Shrines, which offer healing and ammo if you can guard them long enough.
Nosgoth has two currencies - Gold, which can be earned, and Runes, which must be bought. New characters can be rented for a week or bought permanently for considerably more gold. Earning enough gold to buy a character outright will take more than a few hours of successful play. The game also offers bundles with new classes, skills and a couple of other extras thrown in, which are more economical if you're planning to dish out real money. But if you're happy to play with the existing free characters, or slog your way to enough gold to buy the occasional skill or weapon upgrade, the title can still be played for free.
Nosgoth's multiplayer experience offers a fair bit of fun for those who enjoy match-based combat. Psyonix have been excellent thus far at releasing new updates with fresh classes, maps and much needed fixes, so it seems likely that Nosgoth will grow into a better game, though nothing likely to please fans of the Cain games. Still, as a free-to-play, it's beautiful to look at and good fun to play.Ready to enter the world of Nosgoth? Click here to play now!
What We Liked..
Vampires are super fun to play
Maps are beautifully rendered and detailed
Team Deathmatch stands out
.. and what we didn't
Little development of the Legacy of Cain universe
Vampires and Humans feel unevenly matched
What we liked..
.. and what we didn't