When I began my Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt preview, I didn’t envy developer Sharkmob. When Bloodhunt was announced you could hear gamers all around the world groaning in anguish, me included. I mean, who are they to cash in on the battle royale fad and drag Vampire: The Masquerade’s name through the mud? Right?…well, not exactly. Let me explain.
I went into our Bloodhunt preview conflicted. On one hand like most of you – this is another free to play battle royale game. On the other hand, everything visually looked so cool. From the clothing designs to the streets of Prague.
Here’s the video equivalent for our Bloodhunt preview:
With every trailer and piece of concept art I couldn’t help but think ‘I wish this was some different kind of vampire game, and RPG or action/adventure… why does this have to be a battle royale.’ But as I said before, this is free to play, so there was absolutely nothing stopping me from trying it out… and I’m glad I did.
There will always be something cool about vampires when they’re handled correctly, and Bloodhunt gets that too. The streets of Prague are full of atmosphere and there’s something awesome about draining some bystander for their blood before scurrying up the side of a building and making a quick getaway.
And that’s Bloodhunt’s strong point. If you stripped back the layers, Bloodhunt is just another battle royale and feels very familiar to most other battle royale’s on the market… except, you’re a vampire and that’s so much cooler.
I think Sharkmob knows this too, as when most battle royale’s focus on builds and weapon load-outs, Bloodhunt is all about the character customization and clothing. One quick look at the Battle Pass and in-game shop quickly affirm that with plenty of hair designs, eye colors, and clothing… yet no weapon skins in sight.
But I digress. The vampires broke their secret pact, resulting in an all-out war through the streets of Prague… called the Bloodhunt, and you’re tasked with fighting for your clan in the Bloodhunt and taking back control of your city.
This is interesting, because you’re technically living in the shadows, and there are bystanders strategically placed around the map. If you suck the blood of a human you get healed and some passive buffs that stack. And in some cases an extra life.
Feed off a victim where another human can see you, or accidentally murder a bystander and you’ll be revealed to every other vampire on the map for breaking the Masquerade, which is very dangerous in this Battle Royale setting where surprise is a key element to victory.
You’ll also be looting police cars for weapons and armor and ambulances for health kits.. or maybe you’re willing to risk setting off an alarm and breaking into a blood bank, or gun shop – alerting those around you, but potentially getting some high tier loot.
There’s also a human military faction littered around the map – killing them and sucking their blood buffs you as well, and they carry decent weaponry. However, they shoot back, giving up your location to the other vampires around you.
All of this is thematically great, and I think a big part of the reason why I’m having so much fun playing through our Bloodhunt preview and also what helps Bloodhunt stand out from the crowd.
All of the battle royale elements work great too, the shooting is smooth and feels about right – although as par the course aim assist is broken on controllers. The weapons all feel useful in their own ways and cater to many different play styles.
I can’t think of any weapons that are “bad to use” per se. Scaling walls is fluid and fun, and the slide mechanic works just as well as most other games. The vampire abilities are fun as well, none feel too powerful, but balance is an issue.
While Bloodhunt will not become the next esport, with the third-person camera and vampire abilities it’s one of those games that will never truly be balanced or tight enough for that. I can definitely see it becoming a game that I play regularly in between larger releases, or late in the evening with friends.
There are a few issues found in our Bloodhunt preview, though. Sometimes the game will spawn you far outside of the zone if you die mid-match making it impossible for you to make your way back in, and while I don’t normally bring this up in my previews, this was far too common for me not to.
Currently, there are a lot of hackers playing and when you do get into a match with one or two hackers it really does spoil the fun. And before you spam the comments with “Git gud!”, it’s not just me noticing this.
Every second or third post on the official discord is someone reporting, or complaining about hackers. The good news is that Sharkmob is aware of this and are actively banning players caught doing so. I just hope they can get on top of it soon.
All in all, as much as I wish this was a different game I was playing, it isn’t. But what Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt is – turned out to b e incredibly capable and fun. If you’re on the fence I say give it a go. It’s free, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the end result.