The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing follows the, erm, incredible adventures of…well, Van Helsing. Although it isn’t the legendary Abraham Van Helsing, but rather his son. This action-RPG was made by Hungarian indie developer NeocoreGames. If you’ve ever played Diablo, you should feel at home with this game, as its core mechanics function in the same way, although it’s not as refined.
The story the fuels the game is forgettable, but thankfully it isn’t completely horrid. It takes place all over the fictional land of Borgovia, where Van Helsing travels with his ghostly companion, Katarina, getting rid of all the monsters, and helping out citizens. It’s also not that long, with only a few hours being needed to actually beat the game. However, that’s not all bad. The game can be played again with the difficulty amped up to insane levels.
Borgovia is a beautiful place, with the only downside being the massive amounts of monsters that inhabit it. Seriously, sometimes you will run into so many monsters at one time, that’ll make you question what difficulty you’re playing the game on. But before I move onto the gameplay, let’s finish off the graphics. The character models for Van Helsing, Katarina, the monsters, and the citizens that inhabit Borgovia are surprisingly good. Don’t expect anything that’ll push your computer to its limits (unless you happen to be running a really old computer), but the graphics are still top-notch.
The combat animations and effects are also pretty as well, even if they might be a bit stale. Borgovia, like I mentioned, is beautiful. At times the colors are rich and vibrant, but the land can be dark and gloomy when needed.
I mentioned at the start of this review that The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is like Diablo. 95% of the game consists of you point and clicking. Whether it’s to command Van Helsing where to go, attack enemies, or perhaps grab the loot that they dropped. Which reminds me, there is a lot of loot. At times it feels as if every monster you kill drops loot. Thankfully, Van Helsing can carry a lot of items, as can Katarina, so you won’t be forced to drop or sell items all too often, although I do recommend you sell whenever you get the chance.
Combat is fairly simplistic when there aren’t that many enemies to battle. Once the horde hits however, it’s harder to keep track of what you’re trying to do. Sadly, this is only made worse by the how inaccurate it is at times to select a specific enemy.
The way combat works is you essentially load up a combination of skills and once your power bar has been filled up by landing basic hits on enemies, you can unleash powerful moves that can do a variety of different things. You queue up explosive modifiers, a stun, or double damage however you like, based on the needs the battle calls for.
For basic attacks, you can switch between Van Helsing’s sword and gun, at any given moment. Now, I said the combat was simplistic, but it still requires your full attention, even with relatively small amounts of enemies. Micromanagement will become your best friend in this game, and over time, it will become easier to handle the hordes.
Being that there are a variety of enemies in this game, another element that adds a bit of fun and challenge different enemies require different strategies to take down. That alone keeps you on your toes, but when you get a mix of different enemies in a group, the battle comes down to you running around trying not to get hit, while taking down enemies one by one in different ways. The bosses in this game have a sort of David and Goliath feel to them, but thankfully, like most video game bosses, once you get the pattern down and discover their weakness, fighting them becomes relatively easier.
One of the rare hidden gems in this game are the city-protecting sequences that blend action RPG elements with tower defense elements. It’s insanely action packed, so much so to the point where you might even feel drained after completing one of these sequences.
Now, this being an action RPG, this means you’ll be leveling up Van Helsing as you see fit. Not only him, you can also level up Katarina and give her skills and abilities to compliment Van Helsing’s. A few of my favorite abilities that I’ve unlocked involved slowing down time around you, and being able to automatically revive once your health is depleted. Of course these have their limitations, such as cooldown times, but despite that, they were extremely helpful early game, when you’re still trying to get the hang of the combat mechanics.
However, with all these abilities and skill trees, a good interface is needed to accompany it. Unfortunately, the interface in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a little bit clunky; it just doesn’t work as well as it could. It works, which is the good news, and it won’t give you too much of a hard time, but it definitely leaves more to be desired.
Lastly, there’s the issue of co-op. When the game launched, the co-op mode wasn’t there. Since then however, the mode has been added. However, it’s not that fun. You can team up with friends to unleash massive amounts of damage on your enemies. The only thing is however, there’s no respawn mechanism in place for enemies. Meaning once you clear out an area, it’s pretty much cleared out. That’s it. There are no endless waves of enemies to fight through and test the limits of your team.
Final verdict? The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a solid game with only a few setbacks. For a $15 game from an indie developer, I’d say it’s more than worth it. And hey, there’s a also a sequel, so if you do love the game, there’ll be more of it just waiting for you to enjoy!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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