Read our Full Review of the vampire-centric Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt.
Whether you were around for when PUBG put the Battle Royale genre into the mainstream, or if you had simply joined at a later time, it seems the genre has finally reached its peak. Games such as Fortnite, Apex: Legends, and technically Warzone exist at the top, and it seems unlikely that any game will take their place and be crowned as the top Battle Royale.
But that doesn’t stop Sharkmob from setting up its game to lead a full-on conquest of the throne. Set in the city of Prague, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt, or Bloodhunt for short, is a Battle Royale which takes some of the mainstay elements of the genre but with a vampiric twist.
Players choose between one of seven classes, called Archetypes. Each archetype has a set of three abilities, two cooldown skills and one passive. Once selected, they find themselves in the city at the start of each match, with only a pistol and a taste for human blood. If you’ve played a Battle Royale game, you know that starting with nothing and looting your way to the top is the aim of the game, and surviving long enough to be the last one standing means victory.
Bloodhunt’s additions or changes to the genre, such as dedicated classes, special abilities, and a perk system in the form of drinking innocent victim blood are mainly small, but well-done mechanics. Earning perks towards your skill cooldown, melee damage, or passive health regen, leaves you open for a few moments as you feast. Abilities, while offering a way to change the playing field, have an extensive cooldown period that feels like it lasts forever. They’re extremely well-balanced changes, to say the least, making it not so easy to rely on your class or humans.
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If you can’t rely on your abilities though, what can you rely on? Well, you have a lot of guns to find, use, and shoot your vampire enemies. Guns such as SMGs, Assault Rifles, LMGs, and other unique weapons can be found and looted across the map, each with differing rarities for an extra punch. Bloodhunt’s gunplay is solid and a lot of fun, however, some guns certainly seem more powerful than others. And with the mobility of Bloodhunt, weapons like Crossbows and LMGs feel left to the side in favor of faster-paced and more close-ranged weapons.
Being able to scale buildings adds such a sense of verticality that hasn’t been found in Battle Royales.
Speaking of mobility, your character can run pretty fast, as well as scale buildings to reach rooftops. Much of Bloodhunt’s gameplay relies on firefights on the top of homes, shops, and towers due to the fact that shooting or drinking blood on the streets can make you visible on the map. You also have the issue, that if you kill a human in the middle of a gunfight, you could become a target of a Bloodhunt, making you marked on the map for a whopping 60 seconds. This makes you extremely vulnerable, and it’s best to avoid this.
Being able to scale buildings adds such a sense of verticality that hasn’t been found in Battle Royales. Of course, you sometimes need to watch elevated places to avoid being killed, but Bloodhunt makes it an integral part of the experience. It almost makes the map feel bigger than it is, as you’ve got to manage the streets below as well as the high spots. The only issue is that much of Prague is fairly boring, actually.
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Points of Interest or POIs in Bloodhunt are bland and unmemorable. There’s no Tilted Towers, no Artillery or otherwise. Unlike other games like Fortnite or Apex Legends, there’s no preference for spawning in at a certain POI, making it fairly balanced across the playing field of where enemies will spawn. Of course, this makes dying straightaway less likely, but it also takes out the feeling of entering a battle fast.
Bloodhunt is an absolute visual beast in terms of its graphics.
There are spots in Prague which are marked Higher Loot, meaning they offer some great loot for those wanting to get a headstart early. However, they’re patrolled by Entity Soldiers. I hate these enemies. They’re AI with the aim of a highly-trained sniper, even though they use rifles. While the loot on offer is powerful and worth the attempt to grab, they have a fairly long-ranged aggro, making them hard to escape from once they start shooting at you.
Thankfully though, Bloodhunt is an absolute visual beast in terms of its graphics. The fact that Sharkmob has created something so stunning for a Battle Royale game and managed to get it to run fairly well on both PlayStation 5 and budget PCs is an incredible developmental feat. Regardless of your thoughts on Bloodhunt, the fact that a small team could push for the graphics to be done this well, and optimized too, is extremely talented.
There were some performance issues with the Quality Mode on Bloodhunt, with small but noticeable framerate drops during matches and intense firefights. However, they were kept to a minimum, and switching to Performance Mode brought a smooth experience that had little-to-no issues at all. In fact, there were no bugs, glitches, or issues (aside from the hitbox on scaling walls being a bit 50/50) that I could note.
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Since Bloodhunt is a free-to-play experience, it’s worth noting that there is a Battle Pass and season system in place. However, the monetization is all cosmetic-based, meaning there’s no pay-to-win in the game. And the Battle Pass actually holds some exciting cosmetics which look appealing, and it’s a fairly cheap price to pay to earn some awesome gear.
Bloodhunt is fang-tastic, being one of the most refreshing Battle Royale and free-to-play games.
Unfortunately, Bloodhunt has the risk of other free-to-play titles entering the genre, with the chance that a dwindling player base, either through boredom or lack of changes, could affect the game entirely. That’s simply a problem with any online-only experience. However, Bloodhunt’s launch so far has been fairly successful, with a decent-sized matchmaking pool already.
Bloodhunt is both substantial and stylish. Its gameplay is tantalizing and addictive, taking the mainstays of the Battle Royale genre and inserting small but great additions and changes to the core gameplay. Bloodhunt’s only issue is hoping to retain a consistent player base, but with what Sharkmob has already achieved, it’s just a matter of marketing and keeping it fresh. That being said, Bloodhunt is fang-tastic, being one of the most refreshing Battle Royale and free-to-play games on the market right now, offering a fun time that is only made better with friends.