The countryside is full of demons and only a deadpan Monster hunter can save the day, one stage at a time. Is it The Witcher or Van Helsing? No, it’s the new boy, Victor Vran.
Genre(s): Action RPG
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: EuroVideo Medien
Release Date: June 2017
Played Main Story, Fractured Worlds, Motörhead: Through the Ages
Purchase At: Steam
Victor Vran begins with our eponymous hunter arriving in a demon infested kingdom looking for his friend and fellow hunter, Adrian. After a few battles with demonic spiders and skeletons, he reaches the royal palace where he learns the kingdom has been under siege and he’s not the first hunter to come to their aid, he’s just one of two who have survived this long, the rest lured to different locales and killed off by powerful enemies.
There’s something amiss, of course, and Victor doesn’t want to be involved, but the strange voice in his head keeps taunting him, convincing him there is more to the tale and deciding to stay and clear out the demonic infestation.
I gotta say, I loved the mysterious voice talking to you. It’s of course the voice of a villain, but the mocking tone in his voice and how he plays with your in-game choices is just brilliant. It’s the kind of villain you love to hate or just, you know, love.
But the first thing that I loved about Victor Vran was the ability to jump. Have you ever played a Diablo-esque game and wished you could just jump over the barrier or down a platform? Well, Victor Vran answers that question for you and it’s just amazing! You can essentially make your own way across the different levels, and while you can’t jump across every hole or platform, you quickly learn to recognise where you can take advantage of platforming and put it to good use. The best thing about it is that Victor can Wall-Jump, so you can easily reach high ledges or different levels of the stage by jumping over its borders. It’s phenomenal.
Speaking of Diablo, while other games in the genre give you classes with different skill sets, Victor Vran goes in another direction. When you start the game you choose an outfit, which determines character focus and how they build Overdrive, the power source for your demonic powers, which come from equipped items. You can equip two of these, which means you can come up with some interesting combinations, mine were a berserking state and a shield, to offset the extra damage I receive during the berserker rage. When it comes to skills though, your weapons determine those, as each weapon type has its own built-in abilities. What it lacks in variety it gives in familiarity, as you’ll know just how to play every long sword or rapier you pick up.
Speaking of levels, Victor Vran is not a game where you seamlessly go from one area to the next, but instead you pick the next level from a central hub. Best thing about it though is that each level has a set of challenges, granting you extra experience, money and gear if you complete them. Some are about killing a given monster or group without taking damage, or without using some restorative items or special powers, and some are just about taking out secret enemies with specific weaponry.
Though the challenges add to the gameplay considerably, as they force you to adapt to new situations, they can lead to some frustration of course, particularly those that place heavy restrictions on your skills and items against the difficulty of the level.
The main campaign is good mainly because of its charismatic villain, because the plot is monumentally uninteresting and stretches itself out by forcing you to visit irrelevant locales before enabling you to go to the location with the next plot point, the one you wanted to enter from the first moment you reached the map.
The first time I let it go, but when it became a trend, it annoyed me greatly. Later on, Victor Vran forces you to go after the most generic and bland demon generals, the worst being the two giant spiders which look exactly like the other giant spiders. These boss fights are also too simple, the boss AI too easy to manipulate and only the last boss being anything remotely close to lethal. Their major trick is to summon normal mooks, which is a sin of boss design in my book.
Before playing the other game modes included in Victor Vran: Overkill Edition, I would’ve complained of the lack of variety in enemies, as the ones you fight in the main campaign can be divided into palette swaps of four groups: spiders, skeletons, vampires and wraiths. But thankfully, the two addons: Fractured Worlds and Motörhead: Through the Ages add such a refreshing number of enemies that I can’t complain about it anymore. Fractured Worlds sends you on a long quest across so many varying maps and enemies you’ll never grow tired of the variety.
I like the visual design for Victor Vran, as even in its most shadowy or derelict, or even haunted level, there is plenty of colour, either from the environmental design itself or from the many abilities used by Victor or his enemies.
In terms of sound, the most noteworthy parts are Victor’s voice, which is identical to Geralt of Rivia’s, as they share the same actor and it seems as if he can’t do another voice these days, and the second is the music. Whilst the main campaign music is pretty good, particularly during the boss fights and mysterious scenes, the best music is of course the Motörhead tracks in the band’s addon, where you fight across a World War II broken landscape trying to rescue that hellish world from Hitler while listening to Motörhead. It’s awesome.
Victor Vran was already a pretty fun game, but the Overkill edition’s addons, Fractured Worlds and Motörhead: Through the Ages really bring the game to a new level, with excellent music, a large variety of enemies and heavy metal weaponry!
5/5 – Hell Yes!