PAX East – Nosgoth Hands-On Impressions

I love animations. One of the greatest things about the technological advancements in video games over the past decade has been the ability to make characters move so much more fluidly in the middle of the action. Nosgoth, the latest title from Psyonix and Square-Enix breathes a lovely life into the world of third-person online games with motions that feel very natural, in spite of its otherworldly premise.

Nosgoth is essentially a third-person, team-based, action title that features vampires versus some sort of knights. In fact, it’s a spin-off of the Legacy of Kain series. As a multiplayer battle version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the general goal here is to annihilate the other team, or at least that was all I was tasked with in the demo I played. Together with several other people on other computers, we hunted the opposing vampiric team. The set-up is exciting, and the action was frantic, but I was met with some issues during my time with Nosgoth. As gorgeously rendered and animated as it all was, the core gameplay felt far from groundbreaking.

Nosgoth VampireAdditionally, it seemed like there was an imbalance between the two teams. While the humans did little damage with the strongest given loadout, the vampires were significantly faster and could kill a human in a few attacks. While they are required to melee attack up close, it made little difference. The demo I played had a team of all the same human characters though, and showed off only a couple of the different vampires. In that sense, this may not have been the best demonstration of what this game has to offer. Still, if that imbalance stands among any variety of allies and opponents, this ought to be addressed and fixed to help even the playing field for the best possible gameplay experience.

As finicky as the balance feels though, the controls feel smooth and responsive and the character animations are, as I mentioned, beautiful. Specifically, the sprinting animation for the humans feels fluid and natural as they anxiously stumble about the terrain and breathe heavily. But, unfortunately, that’s not quite enough to carry the game.

Nosgoth screenshotWith the extreme popularity of titles like League of Legends, more games have adopted the free-to-play model, including Nosgoth. As such, you can probably expect the game to continue to grow and hopefully become much more expansive and refined in the coming months.

For now, Nosgoth definitely has plenty of potential to be an excellent online battle game, but only time will tell if it ends up the game it deserves to be with plenty of diversity and a hearty challenge, worthy of a new massive fanbase and proud new offspring of the Legacy of Kain series.

You can register for the closed PC beta for Nosgoth right here and weigh in on the action yourself.

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