Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt has been available for a couple of weeks now on PC, a new entry into the saturated battle royale genre. But the vampire flavouring of this one piqued our interest.
Set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe, Bloodhunt casts you as a modern-day vampire with just one goal in mind: survive. No matter what it takes, and no matter who must die for that to happen, you simply need to survive as long as possible. And since this is a battle royale game, that means going up against a city full of other vampires, all with the same idea as you. But only one can be crowned victorious.
The setting of Bloodhunt is fantastic, and it’s one that gives the game an edge over its competition. Sure, the green, often-barren spaces of the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may make for fun, open combat, but in the narrow city streets of Bloodhunt, it takes much more skill to track down and thwart your opponent. In the early game, it’ll be easy for more skilled players to swoop in and take down the less experienced – those taking their chances by running out on the road. But you’ll soon learn that sticking to the rooftops, clinging to the shadows, is the only way you’re going to succeed. It’s a game of murderous cat and mouse – and you’re all equally the cat and the mouse.
Traversing Bloodhunt‘s map is perhaps the most joyous part of the experience. You’re a vampire, and that means you’re equipped with a host of vampiric skills. Running up the side of a building is no effort at all, your fingertips clinging to every brick with ease. You’ll run, slide and jump from rooftop to rooftop, the speed at which you can travel undoubtedly putting a smile on your face. Nothing can stop you – apart from another vampire waiting to take you down, of course.
There are several different archetypes of vampire in Bloodhunt, and while they all share the excellent traversal abilities, each one has a unique set of special skills that can be employed. There’s the modern-day Brute, who comes with a powerful jump and a shockwave punch to send enemies flying. There’s the beautiful Siren, who can charm civilians and “erupt into pure beauty”, blinding and damaging enemies in their range. Our favourites, though, are the Nosferatu-inspired Prowler and Saboteur archetypes. These hairless, lanky creatures of the night move slightly differently, their abilities allowing them to turn invisible for a time, giving them the edge to sneak up on opponents.
It’s not all about using special abilities, though. These vampires live in modern times, so they’re equipped with all manner of rifles, shotguns, pistols, melee weapons and more. Ultimately, most encounters with other players will turn into a gunfight, which feels a little generic. The abilities do mix things up somewhat, but it would have been nice for these to have more prominence in combat.
Like others of its ilk, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt uses a shrinking arena to force players out of hiding. A toxic red cloud surrounds the safe zone, which periodically moves inwards. Fall outside of the safe zone and you’ll find yourself dead very quickly.
Of course Bloodhunt shares quite a lot of generic battle royale DNA, but it also goes a long way in making itself stand out. Few games are as fun to run around in as this, and its world – a brooding night-time cityscape, littered with the odd NPC whose blood you can drain – makes it even more pleasurable to skulk around in. It’s early days for the game – it’s currently in Early Access, where it’ll remain for a few months – but it’s already a welcome new addition to the battle royale space, and I’ll be watching eagerly to see how it develops over time.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt is available now on PC via Steam Early Access, and it’s free-to-play. It’s scheduled to come to PS5 later this year.