Nosgoth Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Nosgoth Preview



*Note: I’ll only be talking about the standard setup for each class

Vampires have fallen into obscurity recently. What I mean by that is you can now move 10 feet in any direction without being overwhelmed by the vampire-related books, films and TV shows that used to swamp the entertainment industry. One thing I always felt was missing from the tidal wave was games. And I mean good games. There were probably a few mediocre games, like browser “MMO” BiteFight, which was as engaging as a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. Many years after my hunt for a good vampire game ended, I came across Nosgoth. “Hmm,” I remember thinking. “A class based vampires-vs.-humans affair with large maps, asymmetrical gameplay and lots of bloody violence? And it’s free? Sign me up!” Then I discovered that it was in beta, and you needed to be either extremely lucky or buy into it. This was back when I had no financial independence, so this was pretty much a brick wall. But once I had my debit card of magic and wonder, I laughed in the face of the £3 entry fee and got to work.

I loved it. I simply loved it. For one, this game does vampires right. These aren’t the frankly ridiculous Dracula vampires with the silly accent. And these definitely aren’t glittering piles of angst and hormones, either. These are savage killers, born and bred to use dark magic and abilities to hunt and brutally destroy humans. One the other side of the coin, the humans are the most battle-hardened bunch of mercenaries to ever be graced with a British accent. Each class perform very differently, offering their own style of gameplay which all complement each other and counter the opposing team.

On the vampire’s side, you have:

Reavers: These majestic vampires are perhaps the most normal looking, with a lean humanoid build and average height. Their special ability is to leap (or pounce) long distances, pinning a human to the ground and savagely tearing into them until the ability times out, they’re shot off or the target dies. Imagine the Hunter from Left 4 Dead 2, but not as overpowered. They can also throw a grenade of sorts, one which makes a smokescreen which clouds the human’s sight and makes them visible to other vampires. Reavers also have the ability to either dodge oncoming projectiles, but not explosions.

Tyrants: Tyrants are more muscle than anything else, and use their brute force to crush the opposing team. Their skill is to charge headfirst into the enemy, which can hit multiple targets.. Once they’re up close and personal, they can use their fists to slam into the ground, causing another area of damage. They also have access to one of the most overpowered abilities in the game, Ignore Pain. This reduces incoming damage by 85%, which is even more unfair considering they have the largest health pool in the game. The only thing that makes this bearable is they can’t attack for the duration of the skill, so this ability is used to escape. These guys usually lead the charge into battle.

Sentinels: Sentinels are terrifying winged beasts. They love to scout the area, flying above the playing field looking for opponents. They can then easily tell the team where they are, which nearly always leads to a bloodbath. Once the fighting starts they can swoop in and grab a human, carrying him some distance before dropping him, letting gravity decide their fate. They can also dive-bomb opponents, damaging everyone in range. Once on the ground, they can either flap their wings at opponents, damaging and throwing back everyone in the cone of influence. These guys create duels for themselves, isolating one player to pick off at their leisure. This also increases the likelihood of your teammates’ attacks, as this creates one less gun to take damage from. Personally, this is my favourite class.

Deceivers: These are the real messed up vampires. Stunted and twisted, they shamble towards enemies, preferring to attack from behind and backstab them. They have the strange ability to take the form of one team member, infiltrate the team before swiping with their energy blade, attacking from behind granting additional damage. They can also conjure and send out shadow clones of themselves, which confuse the enemy. These bloodsuckers cause paranoia within the group, even causing them to repeatedly shoot each other to make sure they aren’t vampires in disguise.

The humans are, in my opinion, much more boring and use generic third person shooter mechanics. It works well, but not particularly innovative. Their team consists of:

Hunters: Generic guy #1. He uses a crossbow for normal attacks, but has access to explosive arrows and bolas, which snares vampires and prevents them from escaping. Easy to use, effective in most situations, but dull.

Alchemists: My least favourite class in the game. She uses a grenade launcher, which is incredibly useful against vampires hiding on rooftops, but pretty much useless at everything else. She also throws a flashbang- sorry, “sunlight vial” to blind nearby vampires, and a wall of fire to burn the enemy. I’m not too fond of her.

Scouts: Generic guy #2. In a nutshell, he’s the sniper class. He wields a longbow with a long draw time, but does incredible damage, both long and medium ranged. He can also hurl knives at vampires, and has access to (in my opinion) the most overpowered move in the game- Arrow Rain. He throws down a flare, which tells all of his Scout buddies off-screen to fire all their arrows in that general area. This creates an area of effect, which works on top of buildings and on the ground. It does have two drawbacks- it doesn’t work indoors, and the arrows can damage whoever used the flare.

Prophets: These strange killers use a mask that covers their entire face, and have a genderless body, so I honestly can’t tell what gender it is. It uses dual pistols, and can use a powerful shot which disables all special abilities for the target vampire. It can also throw a… something down which causes dark tentacles to writhe from the ground. Any vampire in those has its life leached and transferred to the Prophet. Useful in a lot of situations.

The game is well paced, tense and exciting. It does have some drawbacks though. Firstly, the matchmaking is a mess. You can walk into a game with four vampires and one human, or vice versa. Both situations are incredibly unfair for the one person. Secondly, the interface could do with some work. Entering a match that’s finished its first round, it would be nice to know if your team is winning. You’ll be told about the round score, but not about score for last round. It’s incredibly frustrating to win the round but lose the match because you couldn’t see. Lastly, I would like to have some enemy AI. When I want to play with some friends, the teams should still be full. If only one friend is online, it shouldn’t be a 1-on-1. AI placeholders would be greatly appreciated. But as an online game (still in beta, mind) this is an incredibly strong title. A few tweaks here and there would be nice, but I intend to enjoy it before the free-to-players come along and inevitably ruin everything.