The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing – Review
Release Date: 22/05/2013
Developed by: NeocoreGames
Published by: NeocoreGames
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PC
The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing is an action-roleplaying game that feels similar to games like Diablo, and the Torchlight series in which you control a character named Van Helsing and explore dungeons, and other fantastic environments while slaying monsters, leveling up, and gathering loot.
The game is loosely based on Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula which centers around the son of Abraham Van Helsing whom is a legendary vampire hunter. It takes place in the fictional land of Borgova which is some kind of gothic-capitol city of the kindgom, Borgovia. Monsters created from some type of science have been set loose in the kingdom, and your tasked with exterminating the monsters from the city, and living up to your father’s legacy.
Right away you’re thrown into the thick of it, and fighting some baddies alongside your companion Katrina whom is a ghost, and can be quite helpful at times. Of course, it’s very hack-and-slashy but for some reason it feels too simplistic and kind of a chore running through crowds of baddies, and clicking on them when they show up which in turn causes you to attack, and dispatch them with almost relative ease. However, she feels very much like a pet from Torchlight in which you can level her up, and she’ll aid you in combat which is always a blessing, plus sell items in town. She also provides some amount of wit which helps freshen the experience along the way when things start slowing down, and getting a tad boring.
You can however wield two attacks at once which are designated to the two buttons on your mouse. This is a fairly useful thing for people who aren’t really into managing hot-keys for games like this, and does help ease the clutter during combat even though there can still be some minor amounts of clutter when you’re getting swarmed by enemies which can sometimes make the game’s interface difficult to read, and understand.
Since only one class is available the game has to cover a lot of skills and play-styles and in the end they just really lack any meat, or depth to them that you get in Torchlight for that matter. Plus, it’s really kind of a mess. There’s a variety of similar abilities all sprawled across some pages in a very awkward fashion, which is based around the two mouse-button control I wrote about earlier, but instead focuses on using “power-ups” for those mouse-buttons.
The power-ups are are used by cashing in a commodity called rage, which can be gathered upon dealing damage. This system allows the player to take a spell and possibly turn it into something that has a longer reach, or changes the entire way the attack works which is alright in essence but you’ll probably dedicate your time two a couple of spells fully maxed, which in turn really makes the whole system feel like a waste in the end-product. It’s a shame, a system like this could work very well, but the execution just doesn’t seem to be there.
There’s also a decent little foray into a tower-defense style of play once you’re far enough into the game which gives Van Helsing the option to “pimp his lair” out with a variety of traps to dispatch the enemies that would come wandering. It’s an interesting idea for the core game, but it kind of falls flat and doesn’t have much depth to experience and would probably have benefited from being removed from the final product as there’s nothing really memorable about it. The idea just feels like it was tossed in as a last-minute concept, and at times it can really show.
There’s also a co-op element to the game which work wonders in this type of game. Diablo, and Torchlight are prime examples of taking this type of game, and throwing in the ability to play with friends. However, I never got the chance to get the co-op in this game working properly and my connection would always drop, or I just couldn’t connect to other players. It’s a shame because I love co-op in these types of games. I spent hours, upon hours playing with friends in Torchlight II.
Is the game bad? No, but there’s some issues floating around in the game such as it feeling unpolished and at times quite boring, and meh during the campaign experience. I also never really got the chance to check-out the co-operative aspect due to connection issues, but it’s definitely still a fun game to romp through and at-least spend a little bit of time with.
If you enjoy games like Torchlight, and Diablo then you’ll probably still have a good time with Van Helsing if you can overlook some of the minor issues present with the game. Should you pick it up? Why not, it’s only about $10 on Steam right now due to the Winter sale and for that price I can definitely recommend the game. Plus, it is based on a licensed property and most games that are don’t really live up to standards, but Van Helsing is at-least still playable, and can be still enjoyed from time to time.
So, if you’re into gothic, steam-punk, action-rpgs than you should check out Van Helsing. You’ll probably like it.