About Vampire: The Masqerade - Bloodhunt
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt - A Battle Royale With Bite
Kill or be killed.
Welcome to the World of Darkness
Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodhunt is a free-to-play battle royale set in the World of Darkness universe. Vampire: the Masquerade originated as a tabletop role-playing game, but has seen some notable success in its first Bloodlines game, among others. Developed and published by Sharkmob AB, Bloodhunt came out in Early Access on September 7th, 2021. It’s currently available to play on PC and PlayStation 5.
A Bloodhunt in Prague
Playing as vampires from the World of Darkness universe, gamers will play in teams of three or solo, trapped within the confines of Prague. In typical battle royale fashion, the play area periodically shrinks in size, while players use weapons and vampiric abilities to eliminate opponents.
Three vampire clans are available to play: Brujah, Nosferatu, and Toreador. Players may heal themselves and boost their abilities by drinking the blood of wandering mortals but must be careful not to reveal their vampiric nature in front of mortals either, lest they become bloodhunted, which will mark them on the map for everyone else.
Concept Rating: 4/5
Bloodhunt’s graphics leave a lot to be desired. Even the opening cinematic feels rather dead, with the models too stiff to feel like the exciting, bloody battles they should be.
The Heightened Senses ability (which is available to all vampires) acts to highlight weapon caches around you. However, the current static-y feel of the ability feels more like an impediment than a boon and is more distracting than a battle royale has any right to have.
That said, the environment of both Elysium (the lobby you’ll return to between matches) and Prague look and feel great, and invite you into the world.
Most music and sound effects fall out of notice, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The opening cinematic music doesn’t quite fit with the World of Darkness vibe, but more notable are the death notifications in-game. A bit too loud and not a sound that bodes well for repeated use, the death notification sound could certainly benefit from a revamp in future updates.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 3/5
Choose Your Clan
Sharkmob offers three Clans for players to choose from, each with two archetypes. Each Clan shares an ability in common, but each archetype has its own secondary ability. Players enticed by melee will likely gravitate towards Brujah, with the Brute and Vandal archetypes. Stealthy players will enjoy the Nosferatu archetypes: Saboteur and Prowler. Toreador archetypes are best for team players, with Siren and Muse options. A great addition to future patches would be the addition of other Clans and archetypes, but with so many Clans to choose from in World of Darkness and balancing to be considered, it’s unlikely too many more will ever be added, if any.
Since scaling walls provides no resistance for vampires, players will find gameplay gravitating towards rooftop shootouts, only returning to the ground for some loot or a quick drink. Luckily, Sharkmob has done a good job of varying the terrain, so to speak, with great nooks and crannies to hide in.
Fans of Vampire: The Masquerade will find a decent amount of lore to sink their teeth into where world-building is concerned, but newcomers shouldn’t find themselves too confused either. Two pieces of V:tM lore Sharkmob employs in Bloodhunt mechanics include diablerie and humor. After downing an enemy, players have the option of diablerizing their opponent, draining them of blood, and revitalizing themselves in the process. Humans scattered throughout the map have the chance of imbuing players with one of four kinds of bonuses if fed on, depending on their blood humor: sanguine, choleric, melancholy, or phlegmatic.
Some fine-tuning is still required when it comes to consumables and loading times. Consumables aren’t easily accessible with the default keybindings and take too long to navigate through the UI. Loading times for matchmaking can take an irritatingly long time, which matches poorly with battle royale games in particular.
Gameplay Rating: 3/5
An Entertaining Mess
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt is a bit of a mess, but it’s a fun mess. Moreover, for a free-to-play game that’s still in Early Access via Steam and PlayStation 5, it holds up pretty well. Performance is a major issue that the team will have to address moving forward, but Bloodhunt offers a bit of fun to sink your teeth into while waiting for Bloodlines 2 to release.
Replay Value Rating: 3/5
Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodhunt is still a bit rough around the edges, but serves to entertain fans of the franchise and battle royales at no cost.