Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt proves that vampires are more fun with AK-47s

It’s 2022, and there’s a new battle royale on the block. I thought the games had explored just about everything worth doing in the shrinking circles genre, but then I started climbing walls and drinking civilians like juice boxes in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt. “This free-to-play battle royale is really good!” I tell my friends that they will respectfully not download to play with me.

Bloodhunt was released on Steam in Early Access last year when I wasn’t looking, but it came out for real last week. The name Vampire is sure to turn off fans of the original 2004 Bloodlines RPG. That’s not it. Bloodhunt uses the world of Vampire as a battleground for 45-player vampire vs. vampire clashes on the streets of Prague, and very well so far.

I’m really impressed with how well developer Sharkmob got the basics right here – the weapons are strong and easy to aim, jumping, sliding and wall-climbing are slippery, and my class vampire powers seem immediately useful. I only have a few games left so far, but I may have found a favorite in Saboteur, a slippery vampire who can put gas traps and poof in a cloud of smoke to get out of bad situations.

I also like the little touches that set Bloodhunt apart from the crowded space of BR. Players can feed on the blood of wandering civilians to gain passive bonuses like health regeneration or melee damage boosts. Running down the street sucking blood like there’s no tomorrow seemed like a good idea at first, until I realized that you get punished severely for letting a human catch you in the act of feeding – this “breaks the disguise” and temporarily singles you out in the – screen for all to see.

When I first saw Bloodhunt’s high-mobility firefights and rooftop jumps, I was a little nervous to be stepping into a replay of Ubisoft’s forgotten Hyper Scape battle royale. In that game, players could move so fast and climb so high that tracking a single kill was like pulling teeth. I haven’t had the same issues with Bloodhunt so far. Bloodhunt’s high FOV third-person camera makes tracking aerial targets a little easier and I suspect the hitboxes are more generous as well. From long to medium range, I’ve had some fun back-and-forth fights coming out of cover looking for headshots.

Many fights seem to end up close, and this is where the action can get a little frantic. Like Fortnite, there’s a lot of jumping and flickering aim as two people try to line up a shotgun blast or track a steady stream of SMG bullets at each other. This is where vampire abilities can come into play – each class seems to have an ability that helps them engage or disengage from a fight. In my last match, I was running towards an enemy with a shotgun until they pushed me back 30 meters.

Bloodhunt has enough cool stuff to surprise me that it also feels the need to copy a bunch of other battle royale mechanics that get in the way of an otherwise lighthearted game. You will spend a lot of time putting on new armor plates or hiding to desperately consume “blood bag” medkits. Fortunately, there are no attachments to juggle or backpacks to manage.

I’m enjoying Bloodhunt the same way I’ve enjoyed the occasional match of Fortnite’s Zero Build mode over the past few weeks. A low-stakes shooter with easy shooting and fun movement is an effective palate cleanser for a night of intense Hunt: Showdown matches. I will continue to dedicate myself to this alone until I get tired of solo mode and teammates let me down.

I bet Bloodhunt would be even more fun with friends, but like Fortnite, I doubt I’ll get two friends to try it out with me. “Battle royale free-to-play” has become a non-starter with my group of friends, and I can’t really blame them. Jumping into another game with another meta and another loot system and another battle pass with another script is exhausting.

Bloodhunt might be an easier sell if it weren’t more of a circle shrinker. Nowadays, my friends and I are more interested in what comes after battle royale. I appreciate that Sharkmob probably started development when the standard swamp battle royale was at its height, but I hope he realizes that Bloodhunt could also stand out as a PvPvE “extraction royale” type game that cuts away some of the annoying randomness of BR . I would also show up for a fully co-op versus AI mode, or basically any other implementation of Bloodhunt’s solid foundation.

That said, Bloodhunt seems to be off to a good start without the help of my group of friends. Reached a new peak of 25,000 concurrent players today on Steam. Considering it’s only one of three platforms it’s on, Bloodhunt might be around for a while.

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