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Victor Vran Review: The Hunter of Baddies
Victor Vran is a top-down hack and slash dungeon crawler set in a steampunky, demon-infested European country. You play as the title character, and your sole mission is to find you best bud, Adrian. That is, until the helpless need help and bosomy queens asks for your assistance.
Publisher: EuroVideo Medien
Developer: Haemimont Games
Genre: Third-Person Hack and Slash RPG
Release Date: July 24, 2015
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Victor Vran has a lot going for it. The art assets look great. The environments look full, the beasts are well animated, and your character has a wide variety of outfits and weapons to keep your eyes interested. The level of visual polish on this game is on point.
The game mechanics differ from what you might typically see in a normal hack and slash. The first is that you move with the WASD keys and aim and attack with your mouse. While this isn’t totally unusual, it is not very common. And it really comes in handy if you happen to be using a gun instead of melee weapons as this control scheme lets you strafe and avoid taking extra damage. You can also dodge roll while moving and attacking, which is useful even for melee players when faced with large enemy encounters. Last, but not least, you can jump! I cannot remember the last time I could jump in a hack and slash game. It provides for interesting ways to traverse dungeons and avoid enemies. In games like this where I was so used to thinking on one plane, it was refreshing to see this small but dynamic change.
There are also some differences when it comes to how character progression works. You start the game by selecting a version of Victor you want to play as… either balanced, magic, or critical strike focused. Although the three versions alter how and when you might use abilities, they don’t lock out the use of any abilities or weapons. Whatever archetype you select, you can still have a full game experience, but some actions will be available more often and with greater efficacy. Instead of skill trees, you use cards to focus your character’s play style. Each level gives you more points, which give you a greater capacity to equip cards. Higher level cards require more points, but offer greater benefits. In addition to cards, the way your character plays is greatly affected by the equipment you use. For example, what weapon you have equipped affects the skills you can use, different demon talismans let you use different demon powers, and various outfits grant you passive buffs. When you do level, your stats automatically go up, and you are given the choice between cards, weapons, or boxes that contain “equipment” that you can combine to make rare equipment later.
As with every good RPG, there are support NPCs. Victor Vran gives you the normal array of quest givers, potions and weapons dealers, and an alchemist that will modify/create new items. Although none of this is unique, it is all useful. I generally found myself running in between the arms dealer and alchemist, off-loading weapons I didn’t need and using the proceeds to make the best weapons possible. That’s just my play style, though; I tend to dodge and strike from a distance. If I had been more of a melee character, I’m sure I would have been downing potions as well.
There was a good balance between quest rewards and loot drops for obtaining equipment necessary to continue through the game. I did have to make decisions between which items would give me better stat boosts. I also never felt like I was waiting forever for a better drop. Although access to new levels progressed along the story line, you could revisit each area from a main map. All of the areas had secondary achievements, like killing so many beasts or finding so many of something. Upon completion, you were granted bonus rewards and items. That enhanced the replay value of each level and provided for another avenue to obtain better equipment later on.
The Van Helsing-inspired demon hunter is voiced by the same actor who voices he Witcher. His gruff, monotone delivery works well in this type of role. This does make it hard to get enthusiastic about some of his lines, but that’s the tradeoff for a famous voice. The voice acting in the game is enjoyable overall, with a wide variety of texture and delivery. The actors were fun to listen to and gave more life to the dialogue.
The writing for Victor Vran left something to be desired. The story was fairly generic. In fact, if you have played The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 recently, you will find that the story is just about the same. It might be that an original story could not be afforded after paying for good visuals, audio, actors, and unique leveling mechanics. It doesn’t detract from this game being fun to play, but was sad to generally have to ignore the story so as not to feel frustrated by how uninspired it was.
Overall, Victor Vran is worth the time investment. If you like games similar to Diablo, Torchlight, Titan Quest, and Sacred, then you will have a great time playing Victor Vran.
Review Disclosure: A review copy of Victor Vran was provided by EuroVideo Medien for the purposes of this review.
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