A fun battle royale title that mercifully doesn’t suck
Not to be confused with Vampire: The Masquerade: Swansong, an upcoming role-playing game that is due for imminent release, Bloodhunt is a free-to-play Battle Royale title that is currently available to PS5 and PC players.
The game is set in the same universe as Swansong though so if you’re looking for a few vampire-themed thrills before that single-player adventure is released, you might want to consider this one. You might also want to give this game a try if you’re bored of Fortnite and Apex Legends and want something that includes blood-sucking and superhuman powers to add fresh life to the usual Battle Royale formula.
But is the game worth sinking your teeth into? Or does this new multiplayer title suck faster than a hungry vampire who hasn’t had a bite to eat in days?
Well, I’m glad to say that this is a pretty decent title. Whether or not it will attract as many players as Fortnite remains to be seen but if you’re looking for a game that is more horror-based than that one, you could do far worse than this.
Developer Sharkmob has certainly created a game that looks the part with high-quality character models and a dark but visually interesting gothic backdrop. The animation is smooth and fluid, the powers you are given are enjoyable to use, and the Old Town district of Prague (where you currently spend all of your time) is spookily atmospheric.
As befits this type of game, this isn’t something that is narrative-driven – you should play the upcoming Swansong or return to the original pen and paper board game if you want a deeper examination of the lore that exists within Vampire: the Masquerade. But if you want a simple run and gun shooter with a few deadly abilities thrown into the mix, you won’t mind the thin plot and the lack of character development.
This bloodsucking game is largely good fun although in terms of gameplay, you will have experienced much of this before.
As with other games of this type, there are weapons that can be found across the city and they vary in quality to either boost or reduce your chances of a successful kill. The playing area becomes smaller over time to force people together – this time with a red mist that poisons you if you get trapped within it.
There are power-ups scattered around although these are gained from the blood of human beings as well as actual items. And you can play solo or join a three-member team, whichever is your preference. But despite these similarities, there are a few key differences.
For one thing, most of your time will be spent clambering around rooftops rather than down on the streets below as there are more weapon caches up above and there are fewer NPCs to attack you if you stumble into the wrong areas.
You have vampire senses too, so if you need to spot a human sacrifice, an enemy player, or a new weapon, you can hold down a button (R3 on the PS5) and get a better idea of what is around you. As the game is quite dark at times, this is especially useful as anything you need to see is highlighted in red or blue.
Your vampire sense isn’t your only power. Being an agile type of creature, you can also scale walls with ease so this is one ability you will be glad of when trying to escape the sight of a player who has spotted you. And depending on the vampire class you choose, you have multiple powers at your disposal too.
The Brute class has a ‘shockwave’ power that can send enemies flying back, for example, and they are capable of the ‘soaring leap’ power that enables them to traverse long distances. The Vandal class is very similar although they have the ‘earth shock’ power instead of the ‘shockwave’ that has similar results but with different animations.
There are a number of other classes, with powers ranging from invisibility to healing, so it’s worth exploring the abilities of each when trying to find your particular play style. If playing in a team, of course, it’s wise to have a mix of characters, such as one who can act as a tank while another stays back and heals from behind.
As the game is free, the developer obviously wants you to spend money on new skins that can be used to customize your characters. Thankfully, these skins are only cosmetic so buying a new costume for your vampire won’t give you any type of advantage while playing.
Unlike Fortnite, the costumes you can buy aren’t that interesting. Oh sure, they might make your vampire the epitome of cool – a new pair of shades is always a nice touch – but you won’t get jealous when you see what different player characters are wearing. As the game is played in the shadows, you probably won’t notice the outfits other players have kitted their bloodsuckers with anyway.
At the moment, the game needs a little bit of work. The powers are a little unbalanced so some players will naturally have the advantage in close combat. The Prague backdrop is good looking but more variety and location types within this setting are needed to maintain long-term interest. And the reliance on guns is a bit of a misstep as the game would benefit from a few more vampiric abilities for which to take out the enemy.
These are only minor niggles though as the game is pretty good overall, even if it’s not yet at the point to suck the life out of its nearest competitors. Over time, I imagine this game will get a lot better. It was released on the PC at the tail-end of 2021 and only recently made its debut on PS5 so the developers probably have ideas for future updates that will make the game even stronger.
If you’re thirsty for another Battle Royale game, this might just be what you’re looking for. With decent graphics, fun traversal techniques, and some interesting character classes, you should have a good time, whether you take on your victims alone or with a team of two other players. Soaring through the rooftops at speed and height will never get old and slowdown and bug crashes are rarely an issue (on the PS5, at least).
The gunplay is a little boring though so this needs to be improved. And as mentioned, a few more locations would add more visual interest. But other than these slight issues, the game can be recommended. As it’s free-to-play anyway, there’s no harm in giving it a go, unless your partner has kitted out your gaming room with garlic and crucifixes and forbidden you access to your PC or console.
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Verdict - 7.5/10