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Nosgoth: Arena Combat in the World of Kain

By Som Pourfarzaneh on June 24, 2014 | Previews | Comments

Nosgoth: Arena Combat in the World of Kain

I have some very fond memories of playing through Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive’s Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver in college, and have been wondering for quite a while about the status of the series.  As it turns out, Psyonix and Square Enix have been toiling away at a new title, Nosgoth, based on the titular dark fantasy setting, but it’s a bit different from what you might be expecting from a Legacy of Kain game.

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Nosgoth is a third-person multiplayer arena combat game that pits the two factions of Humans and Vampires against one another.  My guide for our E3 2014 preview was quick to point out that while Nosgoth takes some inspiration from games like DotA, it is not itself a MOBA, and looks to games like Team Fortress 2 and MMOs in general for its class archetypes. 

Each faction offers four classes, and interestingly, the factions themselves are asymmetrical: Humans are weaker in general but support ranged combat, while Vampires are stronger and limited to melee.  The design concept behind this imbalance is to encourage Human players to coordinate with one another and protect themselves from a distance, while Vampires will have to utilize their strengths to separate their enemies from one another and capitalize on their vulnerabilities.

In our preview, I played a couple of rounds in the game’s Team Deathmatch mode, and immediately noticed the intricate, detailed, and multi-leveled nature of its dark and gritty arenas.  I first played a Human character that utilized a crossbow as his main weapon.  Combat was intuitive and easy to understand, where left-clicking the mouse would fire a crossbow bolt and right-clicking would zoom.  Hitting the Q key would activate a bola special power that would tie up an opponent for a few moments, while the F key would fire off explosive rounds.  The game also supports sprinting via the Shift key and dodge rolling with the Spacebar.

Next, I tried out a Vampire class that would do a dashing double-slash when left-clicking or dominate an enemy with a correctly-timed right-click.  Its special moves included a dashing psychic knife mapped to the Q key, and the deployment of some sort of decoy mapped to F.  I could definitely see (and feel) the different play styles encouraged across the two factions, and the battles were fairly frantic and fast-paced.

Overall, the gameplay reminded me a bit of Forge but with much smoother combat and visuals.  Additionally, while Nosgoth is set between Blood Omen and Soul Reaver, it was pretty clear from our preview that the developers are intending to move away from any direct references to the series and explore some new territory with this title.

Nosgoth is currently in Closed Beta on Steam, and has Founders’ Packs available that will let you in with exclusive content.  Open Beta is scheduled for later this year.

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies.  He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600.  You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at MMORPG.com and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.