The Legacy of Kain Lives on in Nosgoth
Kain you dig it?
The Legacy of Kain series was dormant for over a decade, and then Nosgoth popped up last year, although it wasn’t exactly what fans of the series expected. Rather than an adventure game, Nosgoth is a free-to-play competitive, team deathmatch game. In fact, apart from the setting, plot, and a few character designs, there’s little evidence that it has anything to do with the Legacy of Kain series. While that may not please die-hard fans, Nosgoth is shaping up well enough that it doesn’t need to rely on a pre-existing formula to stand tall on its own accord. You won’t see Kain or his nemesis, Raziel, but you’ll be too busy scaling tall buildings and laying into vampires with magic-arrows and bolos to notice.
Nosgoth is strictly a multiplayer experience, consisting of two-rounds where teams face off as humans and vampires. There are a handful of character classes to choose from, but it's the dynamic of playing as a human or vampire that refreshes your interest, round after round, as the game forces each team to swap sides. This shift flips the moment-to-moment gameplay as the camps play entirely differently from one another.
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Humans engage in long-range combat via bows and arrows, in addition to a small number of secondary abilities. Though you aren’t wielding sniper rifles or shotguns, the experience of playing as a human will feel very familiar if you’ve played other competitive shooters, though with the third-person camera, movement doesn’t feel too dissimilar to Gears of War.
Of course, a world filled with magic and creatures immediately separates Nosgoth from most other “shooters” on the market, but once you spend some time playing as a vampire, it really begins to feel different from other competitive action games. Unlike the relatively frail humans, vampires are tough melee fighters. Their considerable strength allows them to get in the face of their enemies, but lest they fall victim to incoming fire as they move in, vampires make use of exceptional traversal skills to move across the map. With the push of a button, they can scale buildings and leap across rooftops with considerable ease. Certain vampires can also charge a leaping maneuver that, if engaged at the top of a building, sends them halfway across Nosgoth’s maps in an instant.
The inherent differences between the two factions do a wonderful job of balancing Nosgoth’s battles, and by forcing you to switch between the two, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover the strengths of each teams’ style of play. This may be a problem if you favor one over the other, but given that each side controls simply and distinctly, and comes with its own strengths in combat, its easy to find something to like in each. At the moment, there are three classes to choose from in each team, but there are plans for more down the road as the game matures.
Nosgoth is currently in closed beta, so most people will have to wait until later this year to revisit the land of Kain. Once it finally goes live, potentially later this year, Nosgoth will be a free-to-play game that makes its money off of cosmetic add-ons and so called “side-grades.” Unlike upgrades, that typically power up players, Nosgoth’s purchases will only alter existing abilities. It allows you to extend the game’s variety without giving spendy players an unfair advantage over those who prefer to take advantage of the cheap nature of the free-to-play model. It may not be the next Soul Reaver, but Nosgoth is an interesting game on its own terms, and anyone with even a passing interest in multiplayer action should give it a go when the open beta kicks off in a few months.
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