The latest entrant into the world of BRs comes from the World of Darkness series Vampire: The Masquerade. Even though I’ve played a number of different tabletop games, somehow this specific grimdark setting never landed with me. The last time I really paid much attention to the series was during the days when CCP owned the property. Back then, I was rather looking forward to the idea of playing an MMO in that universe and learning about all things World of Darkness. Unfortunately, things with CCP and the MMO didn’t work out so well and we all moved on.
Now, almost a decade later, I’ve come across the recently released battle royale. At first blush it appears to check off all the typical BR boxes. So let’s sink our teeth into Bloodhunt and find out whether it has what it takes to rise above and become more than just BR minutia.
Combat and gameplay is standard but with a lot of rooftop running
Bloodhunt released a couple of months ago after a half-year delay. Supposedly the devs went back to the drawing board on a few items to improve gameplay in the interim. I didn’t play in the early access period, but if the two game modes currently available are the more interesting and varied goals they were working towards, I’m glad I missed the first round. With that aside, let’s begin with the gameplay and those game modes because they function just fine and there isn’t too much to get hung up on.
Popping up the game modes, you’ll see three options; however, one is just the tutorial. As a brief note, I thought the tutorial was serviceable – very short and simple, but it gave me a chance to see some of the game’s menus and skills in action before opening an actual match. My rig is getting up there in years, so having a chance to see the game and move around a bit while adjusting the graphics quality setting helps.
The two actual game modes are barely even that, though. There’s a solo queue and a three-person team queue – not a lot of variation. The gameplay follows the tried and true methods you’ll see in
Spellbreak Fallout 76’s Nuclear Winter Ashes of Creation: Apocalypse Fortnite. You don’t get to fall from the stratosphere onto a location, but you do get to view the map and click where you’d like to spawn. Then you simply run around and grab gear while killing foes that get in your way. The arena’s size will constantly shrink until one team is left alive.
Now, the World of Darkness spin means that you’re a vampire, so you have a few neat tricks up your sleeve. Or maybe not your sleeve. Maybe you’ll pull it out of… somewhere. What I’m saying is that the vampires in this game dress… not so subtly. Of course, being a vampire also means you need to drink some blood.
Using your spider senses on the “X” key, you’ll get a sort of X-ray vision of your surrounds. I just realized that as I wrote it. The “X” key gives you X-ray vision – nice. Spots with loot will be highlighted, but so will NPCs with magic blood or whatever is going on with drinking blood. If you run over and feed on them, you’ll gain some minor passive bonuses such as increased melee damage. Then, there are several classes, each with its own three skills. So, rather than having grenades on your “E” and “Q” keys, you have some magic powers, like super jumps and force pushes.
Beyond that, though, you’ll still be picking up different types of guns, melee weapons, and armor. There are also some consumables to heal up a bit. One fun thing you can do after you down opponents is choose to feed on them or finish them, Mortal Kombat style. Finally, there’s a lot of building-jumping. Getting near the center of a map and looking out, you’ll see a bunch of fleas hopping from one rooftop to the next. That’s because nearly all the buildings are just facades for you to climb up onto.
Classes and customization that I can get behind
I mentioned that each class has some unique powers but didn’t expand much on it. When you first log in to the game, you have to choose an archetype. I suppose the reason is that Bloodhunt chose to start players in an actual lobby that you can walk around in among a few other players. In most of the other BRs I’ve played, you usually don’t have an actual lobby until you’ve queued up, and the game is selecting players. Regardless, here you can choose a different class once a match starts or even from the lobby.
Currently there are seven classes to choose from. Now, while these classes do have access to three unique powers, they are actually separated by categories: clan, passive, archetype powers. Currently there are two archetypes per clan with the exception of the newest one. And while you share a clan power with another class, the passive and archetype powers are unique for each class.
What I really like about Bloodhunt’s classes is that not only can you switch them at any time but you can completely customize how they look. So many BRs choose to go the hero route, where you are playing not a character of your design but a character of the studio’s design. Sure, they’ll let you choose various outfits and colors, but ultimately you’re playing somebody else’s designed character. Not here. In Bloodhunt I can choose my build, my hair styles, and the outfits as well. Big props for doing this right.
World of Darkness lore provides some flavor text
Now, I know there’s a ton of hardcore World of Darkness fans out there. The series itself is gigantic, even if I just sort of missed it. Still, if you’re one of those people, you might find there is more lore added to the game than you’d think. I have to say, I was curious about the differences in the clans from a lore standpoint, so I went to the World of Darkness site, which just so happens to have a cute little quiz at the top you can take to find your clan. Apparently I’m a Toreador. Make of that what you will.
While Bloodhunt includes dailies and seasonal challenges, it’s also set aside some lore-related quests. Some will lead you around the lobby, but it appears that some of them will task you with finding items within matches too. It’s a cool concept. Spellbreak tried to do something similar in building an overarching story, but it chose to monetize it by locking it behind its subscription, which was pretty offensive honestly. And we all know how that ended.
So if you go looking for it, you’ll find all kinds of lore. Just look at those journal entries. That’s a lot of effort and shows that the developers weren’t completely throwing this together with the IP for easy monies.
With that said, it’s ultimately not necessary to know about it or even care if you don’t want to. You can play this as I did, completely ignorant.
Monetization could be a lot worse
As this is a free-to-play game, you know there’s going to be a store with some monetization schemes in play. There pretty much has to be. I love fully buy-to-play games, but I’d much prefer this setup to a subscription-based one – not that that would even be an option for a game of this sort.
Bloodhunt includes both a cash shop and a battle pass. Honestly, I don’t see anything offensive in the game’s store currently, either. Right now, it’s all cosmetics. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to buy into some of them too. They look awesome! The base cosmetics don’t include the most exhaustive number of styles, but as a free player I felt like I had plenty there to get me started in designing a character that looks as I wanted.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt. The gameplay didn’t stand out as the most amazing with never-before-seen features, but it worked for what it was. If you’re a fan of the series or just want to check out a new BR, then Bloodhunt should at least be on your list.