It has been more than 10 years since the last Legacy of Kain title was released for both the Xbox and PlayStation 2, and since then there has not been a peep nor a shudder with regards to what could happen with the series. Since the acquisition of Eidos by Square-Enix though, a major shake-up has seen the revealing of latest addition in the series – Nosgoth – to be a completely different beast to its predecessors. Nosgoth, is instead a free-to-play online multiplayer brawler that doesn’t really continue the story in any way – it’s only set in the same universe.
According to the developers on hand at the private playing room at this year’s E3, the game has been in development for the past 3 years, and came about from the desire to provide a unique experience for the free-to-play market. Seeing as the franchise has not had an entry for the past decade, it can certainly tick the box for being different. While there is no story continuity, fans of the past games can look forward to different sets of Easter eggs. For example, there was a statue of Raziel in the map that we experienced during our play time.
Players will choose between two factions – humans and vampires, and each plays quite differently. The human classes are pretty standard, most relying on some form of melee or ranged weaponry, or magic. The vampires were much more diverse – with large brute-like vampires, smaller but quicker ones and a vampire class that could fly. Each faction had four different classes, and as you played and levelled up, all the classes had access to specific abilities, which you could equip two at a time. One such ability was for a vampire to turn themselves into a human model, used in order to sneak up on the enemies.
The matches that we played had two rounds. In the first round, we played as the humans, while we got a taste of the vampires in the second. Personally, I had a little more fun playing as the vampires, and their more melee-orientated style. As a free-to-play title, we were reassured that you wouldn’t have to pay for any upgrades, and that most cost items were related to customising and cosmetic options.
While Nosgoth is looking to be its own entity, and the experience was enjoyable, there is a rather large market growing for the free-to-play titles, and trying to be distinctive can be difficult. It almost feels that with a historic and distinctive series such as The Legacy of Kain that the developers ought to be playing this up more than they are. In any case, the final release is due in late 2014 or early 2015, following the closed beta that is currently in progress.