Set in the world of the Legacy of Kain series, Nosgoth is a third-person humans vs. vampires team battle title that feels a lot like a Left 4 Dead arena of sorts in its current alpha state. The combat in this free-to-play title is four vs. four and lasts around 10 minutes per round. Teams take turns playing as each side, so each team will play as both the humans and vampires over the course of a full match. The gameplay is fast, intense, dark, and grisly fun, but the real question lies in how much staying power the title will have over time.
Players can choose from several different vampire and human loadouts that come with different weapons and skill options. As part of the free-to-play model, players can acquire new loadout skins and swap out weapons and abilities to create various play styles. Gold is earned from each match and can be used to purchase abilities and weapons. Skins tend to only be available via the cash-only currency.
The gameplay is simple but surprisingly refreshing, as the small team sizes keep things intimate and the game brings some cool concepts into play. In general, the vampires excel at close-range combat and disabling opponents in various ways. Vampires also have the edge in maneuverability, as they can effortlessly climb walls and terrain to quickly close in on human quarry. The bloodsuckers recover health by executing fallen humans. This maneuver is time consuming and leaves the vampire vulnerable, but they can drag corpses behind cover to consume their prey in a safer manner. One of the vampire breeds specializes in leaping and disabling humans, reminiscent of Left 4 Dead’s Hunter. More interesting is the vampire that can swoop down and lift humans high into the air, dropping them off into a pack of voracious teammates. It’s as fun as it sounds, and playing as the vampires is definitely the best experience you'll have in Nosgoth.
You might think otherwise given the predator/prey relationship of the game factions, but humans are quite capable of defending themselves and crushing a team of vampires. Humans are more focused on ranged attacks, and recover health and ammunition at shrines. The alchemist class has a grenade launcher of sorts, combined with the “assault rifle” crossbow wielder and “sniper” bowman. A variety of grenades and special attacks are available.
Whatever side you’re on, the real driving force behind a game of Nosgoth is team play. When playing as humans it's imperative to chop down any stray vampire that attempts to snatch a human away from the group, and working together as vampires allows chain disables and disrupts to prevent the humans from unleashing burst damage and area of effect attacks.
In this current alpha stage, Nosgoth is loads of fun, but it remains to be seen how the model will play out over the long haul. We're curious to see other kinds of things Psyonix will add to give the game some variety and longevity.