I’ll say this for Square-Enix, they definitely go the atmosphere right in Nosgoth. As a human, you feel trapped and distinctly hunted, waiting for the jaws of death to swoop down upon you. As a vampire, you’re a supreme predator, skulking your way through the shadows and across rooftops, stalking your charge. The action is fast and furious, and you’ll often find your spleen carved up into multiple pieces before you know what hit you.

“Terrifying” is the word I use to describe both Nosgoth’s ambiance and its pace. I’m not a great first-person/shooter player – and I separate those terms because of the melee/ranged dichotomy of Nosgoth’s two factions – and the speed at which things happen can be a little disconcerting. I’m more Heavy than Scout, to use a Team Fortress 2 comparison. If you like that kind of fast-moving action, and don’t mind occasionally getting ripped to shreds by something you can barely see, then Nosgoth’s got a lot to offer.

In case you’re new, Nosgoth is S-E’s upcoming human vs. vampire free-to-play lobby-based arena game. It’s an asymmetrical game, in that the vampires are strictly melee fighters while the humans use exclusively ranged weapons. Going in, I felt like this could be a major imbalance, but it didn’t seem that way, at least in the few matches I was able to play. (Being alpha, there weren’t a whole lot of people around, so my opportunities for matches were limited.) You’d think that the vampires would be at a supreme disadvantage, but their movement abilities – charges, rooftop climbing, and flight – make up for their lack of range.

Each faction has three classes, each with its own distinct play style, and you can mix and match special abilities to further customize your killing machine. Humans have their weapon and two abilities while vampires have three abilities. Right now, the only play mode is Team Deathmatch, with each team taking a turn as the humans and the vampires and the total score after two round determining the victor. It’s enjoyable enough, but more variety will likely be needed, both in the game modes and in the classes.

There’s also a tendency for humans to clump together and play defensively, while the vampires attack from all angles. It seems appropriate, given the milieu, but giving the humans reasons to play less passively – like with control points or capture-the-flag mechanics – would help mix things up a bit. Still, it’s alpha, so S-E probably isn’t interested in much more at this point than making sure the basic mechanics work.

The cash shop is relatively bare at the moment, with just a few items, cosmetic skins and abilities up for sale. They seem to be mostly sidegrades, so pay-to-win probably isn’t going to be an issue, but I do bristle a little at the fact that buying with in-game gold, as opposed to real-money currency, gives you the item for a limited period of time – seven days for the ability I purchased. It was inexpensive, the amount that could be recouped in just a few games, but I’d like to see the option to buy something permanently for (a much larger sum) of gold.

Editor’s Note: As someone pointed out I failed to notice you actually can purchase items permanently for additional gold. At the time this article was written, that amounted to roughly five times more than what was required to simply rent the item.

Nosgoth looks and feels great, if you can adjust yourself to the speed and sudden violence of the action. It’s a rib-tearing, heart-rending good time that will certainly find an audience. It’s still got a ways to go before it’s ready for launch, but Square-Enix is on the right path.

By Jason Winter

24 Readers Commented

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  1. Rex Splode on January 29, 2014

    Hmmmm perhaps the third person battle arena wont be so horrible? I mean… yes a part of me wants to Nerd Rage at this game and yell at the sky all the reasons they need to just make another game like the previous ones! However.. finally finishing or starting the endgame story line of Kains story and his rule in his Nosgoth with the true Soul Reaver is probably a undertaking that needs to be done with care as to not mess it up and make us fan hate the game makers. So I understand their apprehension and hope that the long wait is someday rewarded with a proper sequel and conclusion so the story line we all so love and cherish. Its a pay and in game currency based game though….

    Sigh.. whatever, all I hope is that this game is honestly, and truly successful. Why you ask? Why would a true fan of Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain want this game to be successful? Well.. because I just want another game about my damn vampires I love so much. THIS AIN’T TWILIGHT!

    These are the real things that go bump in the night. I hope this game succeeds with strengthening the setting and its fan base with a flood of new fans that before had never even heard of the game. And from this.. this.. game, perhaps, PERHAPS.. we will finally get our next LoK game that will finally finish his story line. But we will only get that if a game like this makes money and draws in some fans to add to the dedicated fan base the games already have.

  2. Flrs on January 27, 2014

    I’m taking my part in alpha tests and the game looks promising, esspecially when it comes to teamplay and tactics. With random people it might be a bit chaotic but when you get some friends the game shows its potential. Vampires and Hunters have their perks and also disadvantages, you will be more and more succesful as soon as you learn them.

  3. x on January 26, 2014

    The reviewer obviously knows nothing about the lore of Legacy of Kain

  4. Bic Boi on January 26, 2014

    Vampire midget buttsecks.

  5. rudolfo on January 25, 2014

    Another Forge?

  6. Adu on January 22, 2014

    Damn…..thought that would be a action mmo.

  7. samkoz on January 22, 2014

    sucks that there isn’t much people that play, also servers are only up from 5-11pm.
    LOVE THIS GAME THOUGH big fan of legacy of kain games.
    graphics are really nice and smooth, game has similar aspects as gears of war and left 4 dead 2. but with vampires. Wish there were more gamemodes than just death match

    • Derp on February 14, 2014

      It’s a alpha what do you expect.

  8. cacaballz on January 22, 2014

    Square Enix….*barfs in a bag….drinks it* Ahhhh that is better.

  9. RT on January 22, 2014

    Alpha Tester here.
    Actually there IS an option to purchase permanent skills for the in-game gold currency. All the skills I purchased are perms.

    • RT on January 22, 2014

      And… it was already corrected. Good.

      • Darc on January 22, 2014

        You know you have signed a non-disclosure agreement right?

        • RT on January 22, 2014

          I do, but there’s no harm in correcting, it’s not like I’m giving away any new information that’s not in the article. If anything, it’s even beneficial to the publishers.

          • Eviil on January 24, 2014

            Yeah there is no harm in saying whats corrected. The agreement is more from leaking information that would spoil’ people before release. Content, video game play etc UNLESS they have already showed it.

  10. Razer on January 21, 2014

    Hopefully SOE has learned it’s lesson after Bullet Run got canned.

    • LordHikaru on January 21, 2014

      Square Enix… not Sony

      • LordHikaru on January 21, 2014

        >_> not to confuse anyone. I meant ur talking about the wrong company…

    • Zac on January 22, 2014

      I kind of liked that game, sure as hell enjoyed it more than the last few installments of BF and COD

      One of the biggest problems with it though was: it was way too free. Unlocked pretty much everything without paying a dime and then dropped 10$ cause I felt bad for playing for 400 hours without paying anything 😛

      That and the tiny amount of marketing it got was terrible.

  11. Adrian87 on January 21, 2014

    Same like Jason i have only been able to play a few matches (almost 2 hours game time) due to low amount of players, but i have been enjoying the game quite a bit. Like it has been said in the article humans kinda have to stay together to have a chance to survive. Alone you are an easy target to be jumped on, charged at or dived from the sky.
    What i don’t like is that it fells like winning means who gets more kills at their vampire turn, but i guess that’s asymmetric games (don’t have much experience with this type of games). But to be fair i have played a game were even as vampires we got easily obliterated because we mostly attacked one at a time. So i guess you do need some synergy as vampires to.
    Nosgoth is a lot of fun (especially as a vampire with the flying and wall climbing). Definitely gonna play more of this.

  12. Psyonix-Corey on January 21, 2014

    Hi Jason,

    If you look in the store, there is actually a Permanent option for all items that costs more gold than the 7 day rental. Hope that clears things up for you!

  13. removalmitt on January 21, 2014

    the way the cash shop works as you state (at the moment) where you have to pay real money for permanent item / upgrades sounds viable if the cost of acquiring via in game money stays relatively achievable

    they’ll have to have lots of variety within the game at launch or I think the novelty will wear off pretty soon after

  14. Caz on January 21, 2014

    Sounds very interesting for me, let just wait little bit and see what happens, i want it 🙂

  15. Zac on January 21, 2014

    Rape! Raaaape! Somebody, anybody call the police! They’re raping Legacy of Kain -.-

  16. mounted on January 21, 2014