Nosgoth: Review and Gameplay

Nosgoth: Review and Gameplay
The Legacy of Kain series is back with its latest installment, Nosgoth

The eternal conflict between humans and Vampires is shown in a whole new light in the world of Nosgoth.

This is a rundown of all of the main aspects of Nosgoth, such as gameplay, narrative background and graphics, along with information about how the game is structured and the different features it boasts, along with reviews on these features.

1. Story     

In the battle-scarred, gothic world of Nosgoth, Humans and Vampires have been bitter enemies for thousands of years. One day, an exceptionally powerful vampire known as Kain raised six powerful humans, Raziel, Turel, Dumah, Rahab, Zephon and Melchiah, from the dead, transforming them into his Vampire lieutenants. He triggered a bloody war from which Vampires emerged victorious, creating a golden age for the Vampires and forcing Humans into slavery or exile. Suddenly, he vanished, traveling into the future to rule over a new era. This sudden disappearance of their leader led his Vampire lieutenants to fight amongst one another for the right to be his successor.

Meanwhile, the humans have been rebuilding their civilization and plotting to rebel against their former masters, erecting a fortress in the southern reaches of Nosgoth. The lieutenants, having learned of this new threat, have agreed to put their power struggles aside for the sake of protecting the Vampires' existence, and a gruesome war erupts between the blade-wielding Vampires and the gun-toting Humans. Will you embrace the dark forces of the vampires and fight to bring humanity back into chains? Or will you wield the weapons of Humans and work to exterminate vampires once and for all? The choice is yours.

Nosgoth is the first game to be associated with Square Enix’s Legacy of Kain series in over a decade. It is intended to pick up where the last game, Legacy of Kain: Defiance, left off. However, Nosgoth’s divergence from the series’ traditional RPG-like gameplay and linear narrative, not to mention the fact that Crystal Dynamics, the developers of all but one of the previous games (and even then they helped to publish it), was uninvolved in development, means that Nosgoth is best viewed as a spin-off of the games before it, made by a publisher trying to keep this long-forgotten saga alive.

2. Races

Humans

Humans have only one goal: to rid Nosgoth of Vampires forever.  Having freshly torn off the shackles of slavery, after rediscovering long-lost Human weapons technology, their tendency to use projectile weapons like guns and bows has made them a worthy adversary from afar and up close.

A hunter faces 3 Reavers, a Sentinel and 2 Tyrants.

Vampires

The Vampires are gifted with dark supernatural powers and exceptional close-combat abilities. They use these dark abilities as powerful weapons, turning the forces of the Underworld against any foe. More than comfortable with their place at the top, they will stop at nothing until all of humanity is in chains.

The Vampires of Nosgoth are pretty horrifying.

3. Classes

The player starts with two classes on each side: the Human Hunter and Alchemist and the Vampire Tyrant and Reaver. As the player progresses, they unlock each of the six other basic classes.

Human Classes

Hunter

The crossbow-wielding Hunter is the quintessential gunman of the Nosgoth world. Their main tactic is to send arrows flying at the opposition with one of a variety of bows available, such as a rapid-fire bow. Many gamers may feel that playing as the Hunter brings with it a sense of familiarity, as the camera and aiming are similar to those of a third-person shooter.

Alchemist

At first glance, the all-female Alchemists may not seem like much on the offensive front, but they have a trick up their sleeve: they are master pyrotechnicians. Armed with a handheld cannon that can fire potions and poisons alike, they can deal out a variety of attacks, such as sunlight, ice and fire. Even when all hope seems to be lost, an Alchemist can sacrifice herself by drinking a potion that triggers a large blast of energy that damages nearby Vampires.

Scout

Like the Hunters, the Scouts are archers, but they use a traditional bow and alternate between a sniper-like approach and close-range attacks. These highly skilled assassins can use throwing knives and camouflage to be optimally lethal to their unsuspecting victim.

Prophet

Easily the most macabre-looking of the Humans with their skull masks and toothed headpieces, Prophets wield dual pistols loaded with bullets dipped in impure blood, infusing them with hexes. They can spill this blood on the ground to fend off attackers, and can even steal the corrupted blood they need and crave from Vampires.

Vanguard

Though Vanguards do not technically have a projectile weapon, they use throwing knives and axes to pack a punch from afar and to put up a fight against Vampires’ melee attacks. Their massive, sturdy shields have clear offensive and defensive advantages, even the ability to deflect several Vampire abilities.

Vampire Classes

Tyrant

Tyrants are the heavy attackers of the Vampires, the muscled brutes who have no qualms with using their immense strength to gain the upper hand. They can use their Charge attack to ruthlessly mow down anyone standing in their path, and create a shockwave to cut through the earth and knock their enemies off their feet. As a bonus, they almost look like a zombie version of Kratos if you squint.           

Reaver

With a quick mind and quick feet, the Reavers are natural predators. They employ a primal hunting style, often pouncing on and clawing at their prey, and will sometimes even sprint on all fours. They can also use abilities like Shadow Bomb and Choking Haze to disperse humans plotting an ambush.

Sentinel

Have you ever wanted to play as the most disturbing-looking creature in an entire game? Have you ever wanted your enemies see you charging down the battlefield and think, “Dear God, what is that thing?”? Then Sentinel is the Vampire class for you! With beady black eyes, bulging root-like veins, and a body that looks like a skinned human corpse was left in a basement for a considerable amount of time, the Sentinel is guaranteed to make sure your opponents have that much more trouble going to sleep at night. As for their abilities, Sentinels are the divebombers of the Nosgoth world. Their bony, bat-like wings allow them to get a bird’s-eye view of the ensuing battle and swoop down to lay waste to their oblivious Human foes.

Deceiver

Deceivers are the true masters of manipulating the enemy.  While they lack in strength, they possess the ability to distort the perception of others, using a disguise technique to slip into enemy ranks, primed for a surprise attack. They can even possess a Human’s mind, taking total control of their movements.

Summoner

This class specializes in magic-type abilities. Trapped in decaying bodies, some rob bodily material from their prey to repair themselves, while others will call out to the spirits of the Underworld to aid them in battle by replenishing their abilities to attack, defend, and, of course, summon. Summoners also have a bomb-like ability known as the Abyssal Bolt, wherein the Summoner projects a sphere of dark magic that expands to an enormous size, then explodes, damaging any Humans caught within the blast radius.

4. Graphics

The graphics are definitely up to par in Nosgoth. It’s pretty impressive that the game’s engine can juggle such good graphics as well as multiplayer servers. Of course, they’re not crazy-realistic mocap-based graphics seen in games like what is gorgeously displayed in games like The Last of Us and the graphics-inspired short film Kara, but with a game of this genre that would be impossible with current technology.

5.Gameplay

Nosgoth’s gameplay could best be categorized as team-based PvP. Two opposing teams, one human and one Vampire, compete for victory. The teams switch races after each round, allowing both teams to experience the full scope of the variety between the races. Matches can be split into two different modes, Deathmatch and Flashpoint. Deathmatch is basically what it says on the tin, a classic free-for-all where the team that gets a predetermined amount of kills first emerges victorious. Flashpoint is a control point-based mode. Here the roles of the two races diverge; the Humans must capture two control points before time runs out, while the Vampires must protect these control points. This mode seems unfairly slanted towards the Humans, as Vampires only use melee attacks, so they must either wait to attack the humans until they’re right next to the control point or hunt them and leave the point vulnerable.

6. Trailers

The trailers give you a good idea of what the game and its graphics are like, as they use in-game footage. This is a relief to some, as many publishers just throw in a whole bunch of pre-rendered cutscenes in an attempt to trick the consumer into thinking such quality is consistent for the entire game. As an added bonus, the game’s official website has trailers for each character class and highlight the attacks and abilities of each.

7. Price and Release Date

The game was released on Steam on January 21, 2015, and is currently in early access. It is free to play, but fortunately does not force players to fork over unreasonable amounts of cash for components that are all but crucial to the game like most F2Ps. Their DLC bundle, which includes skins and access to all locked and future classes and their associated weapons, costs about $40.  As of April 25, 2015, it is only available for Windows.

Final thoughts

Imagine if Team Fortress 2, Assassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft all got together and had a lovechild somehow, and the result would not be far off from Nosgoth. I would not recommend it to hardcore fans of its predecessors, as it doesn’t have the same feel or memorable characters. I honestly feel it would have been a better decision to make it its own stand-alone game rather than attempt to tie it to the series, as that would prevent players from judging it by its similarity to its predecessors rather than the game as a whole. However, for gamers with a competitive streak and affection for gothic fantasy concepts who love to team up and lay waste to their opponents, this game is a delight.

Rating: 8/10

What do you think of Nosgoth? Should sequels like this be viewed in relation to their predecessors, or should they be treated as an isolated work? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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