Van Helsing - Review Roundup #4
Here are a couple more reviews for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.
The ultimate question you have to ask yourself before navigating the dark noir world of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is whether you’re willing to exchange the few ounces of polish the game lacks in favor of a fun and cost-effective hack-n-slash click-tacular gaming experience. Van Helsing does manage to build up a story with some depth, where “monsters” aren’t necessarily sporting sharp fangs and those who do can become great allies. Where the game unfortunately lacks though is its often troubling multiplayer connectivity. Even if you manage to connect with others for 2-4 player co-op, the niche audience for this indie title might make it difficult to find others to fight by your side. That’s why, as with all indie games, the best way to show your support is to encourage others to join you.
It's high time, however, that we discussed what will likely be Van Helsing's most controversial sticking point. There's no easy way to write this, so here goes in the least tactful way possible:
Enemies do not respawn, and there's no end-game content whatsoever. Not even a New Game + mode. Once you're done, you're done.
If I had to get nit-picky, there are really only two issues I’d say that the game could have used work on. The first is wider array of enemy types, and the other is the few minor instances of backtracking that you are forced do in the game. These are niggling ‘complaints’ at best, and I certainly don’t believe that they detract from the overall experience. The backtracking is well laid-out within the story of the game, and it doesn’t feel like you’re doing it just to do it. The missions have legitimate reasons; it would just have been nice to do them somewhere else I hadn’t already seen.
For 15 dollars, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a large package. I enjoyed the playful dialog between Van Helsing and Katarina, the search for secrets across a grim fantasy setting with strange beasts and dangerous machines. But while some may enjoy standing amongst several dozen enemies, trying to find the right distribution of attributes, abilities and equipment in order to survive, I found the lack of nuance and strategy tiresome. Van Helsing's incredible adventures simply became incredibly tedious.
Helsing has some clever writing, especially the banter between its main character and Katarina, but the story was practically non-existent. Van Helsing travels to Borgovia to help out a resistance who’s trying to stop a mad scientist from doing all his evil stuff, and this plot plays out with few surprises or complications. It serves only to send you to the next monster-infested area rather than to provide any compelling reason for Helsing to get involved (other than the fact that he’s a hunter, and this is just what he does).
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is witty, charming and is just fun to play but doesn’t do anything spectacular or different to separate itself that much. But I just can’t keep myself from playing it. I keep going back to it, something I didn’t do with Torchlight or Diablo but I just can’t explain why. I seriously recommend it to all ARPG aficionados out there and for only $15, you get a lot in return. I didn’t even play the multiplayer portion yet and I’m sure it will prolong the experience even more. If you’re not all that crazy about ARPG, wait for a price drop but its launch price makes it a very good deal as it is. Did I mention about the free DLC? Just get this game at this price, it’s totally worth it.
Multiplayer is always going to be a big part of an Action-RPG too, and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is no different in that respect either: the entire game can be played co-operatively with up the four players in total. It’s a little strange with four Van Helsings running around the same screen, but once you’ve picked up a few different items of clothing, you should be able to differentiate between players. Another thing which helps differentiate is the fact that each person can create a unique first name for their character. Each character needs to be called “Van Helsing” – that’s what he’s referred to throughout the game – but the first name is never mentioned at all and can be anything. I personally had a little bit of trouble finding a game to play in multiplayer, as there only seemed to be a couple of games to join at any one time, and those didn’t last long before the host decided to stop playing, but I’m sure that if you get a few friends together you won’t have any problems at all. There’s only one thing better than one Van Helsing, and that’s four of them!
Overall the game is an amazing experience to behold as you travel the fantasy steampunk world and combat against many different creatures to get o your final goal. Challenge can spike and heavily lower at times which can be inconsistent, but overall the game does make itself more enjoyable with the addition of fully voiced characters and a series of events that will literally have you on your toes.
So what do you guys think of the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing? Do you think it is the dominant game in the genre or do you reckon it will get hunted down like a beast? Let us know what you think about the game in the comments and be sure to pick it up today on Steam.
The game can be completed in less than fifteen hours, during which players will likely have vanquished around ten thousand foes, but there are a number of sidequests and post-game scenarios to help satisfy players' desires to explore Borgova and spray monster parts all over. The most replayability likely comes from starting again at a higher difficulty. Multiplayer is implemented, although this first time around it feels to be more of an afterthought. Up to four Van Helsings can meet in a multiplayer room to adventure together, while players can also select the "Go Online" option from the menu at any point, which seems to result in the sudden appearance of a random fellow Van Helsing nearby, who more often than not disappears equally as quickly without much interaction. The lack of multiplayer focus doesn't really take anything away from the game, and it can be assumed that this aspect will be improved in future games, but those hoping to find a particularly substantial multiplayer offering may struggle to find it here.
For its flaws, and there are many (including some dreadful load times), playing Van Helsing single player is an absorbing time. It drip-feeds you just enough to feel that sense of continuous progress, and the combat really does become more than frantic clicking (in reality you can just hold the left mouse button down, but that never feels right).
The £12 price tag makes it a lot more compelling. While never stunningly original, and mostly extremely familiar, if you’re somehow craving another ARPG between Grim Dawn, Path Of Exile, and Torchlight 2, then this ought to tick a good few boxes.
Information aboutVan Helsing
SP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash