REVIEW – This is my first time venturing forth as the mighty monster slayer, to save Borgovia which is plagued by monsters, demons and pretty much everything from the gothic lore of humanity. You are the son of Abraham Van Helsing, and with the help of your ghost Katarina you might just save the world once more. Along the way, you’ll fight zombies, werewolves, and a godly amount of weird monsters.
Neocore Games after their successful RTS/RPG series King Arthur have decided to take another fantasy hero under their repertoire, and their decision could not have been any better. Mix it in with a bit of Diablo, plus some Steampunk and you get The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing!
There Be Trouble Here!
The story of Van Helsing is pretty straight forward. Once upon a time Mr. Helsing put down most of the monsters in Borgovia and allowing its citizens to live care-free. That is until monster activity becomes frequent after many decades, and you the son of Abraham Van Helsing is called into action. You are aided by Katarina, a young ghost girl who has been in service of the Helsing family for awhile now. They both help each other out, and most importantly Katarina can fight like hell. She’s able to take down most foes and aids young Helsing in his adventures in reaching Borgovia.
There’s not much here to enjoy regarding the story and is very reminiscent of the movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Full of Victorian tropes, jokes, and enemy types that include zombies, giants, and even wanders into steampunk territory with robots and other mechanical beasts. Enemy variety is great, and while I thought this would end up being pretty generic, the art design and effects for the monsters are top-notch. Regarding sidequests, the game is full of them and allows you to enjoy some neat little experiences, if you do not wish to rush through the main storyline.
The game while being serious regarding tone does have its fair share of quirky references, movie jokes, and even other video game references. These are not bad, but come rather out of left field most of the time for the player.
Mage, Tech Monk, or Hunter?
While Diablo has Necromancers, and Torchlight had an Alchemist, in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing you’ll have three interesting mixes of classes. The first is the Hunter that uses pistols, and swords against the foes of hell, the second is the Thaumaturge, who uses massive spells to wreck havoc, and finally we have the Arcane Mechanic who uses traps, gadgets, and weird science (looks very steam punkish). All of the classes have their advantages and disadvantages, but it is worth to complete the first chapter fully, and then deciding if the chosen class is worth pouring more time into.
All of the classes have their special abilities, trick, auras, and items that along the way will help the player defeat the evil forces plaguing Borgovia. The most fun I had was with the Hunter during the game, and probably the most straightforward character to play, as the other characters do require some advanced tactics.
For those who go into the game thinking the battles will be small, and boring, have I got news. The game will rip the player to pieces if he or she is not careful. Swarms will fill your screen, and sometimes retreating is no shame.
In the end, it is a mix of RPG and Hack N’ Slash gameplay, with some loot added into the mix. Regarding options, there are scenarios that can be played, endless story mode, and an even co-op mode for those bored of running around alone. It provides a wealth of hours for the player to enjoy.
Blood and Pixels
The game looks okay on the PS4, and even though this is an update to the graphics it still looks washed regarding environments, and the details are not the best. The spells and the effects, however, look great and end up being a literal fireworks on the TV. There is some minimal gore kills, and the art design for the monsters are good, it’s just that the textures do not look the best on them either.
Speaking of not good, the voice acting is dead pan, and I would probably recommend just using subtitles, and listening to your favorite podcasts. There’s no line delivery, or emphasis, everything feels as if it was read from a piece of paper. All of the characters sound monotonous and dreadful. The sound effects also lack any sort of punch or emphasis. The sound design is the worst aspect of the entire game sadly. If it was better, it could have elevated the game, and the mediocre graphics would not have bothered me too much.
A Stake, and a Gun
In the end, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an okay game, that is pretty much a good time sink. Chill out, and kill some monsters while saving the world. Just don’t go expecting too much.
+ Fun classes to play with
+ Interesting enemies
+ Great gameplay modes
– Medicore graphics
– Terrible Sound Design
– Not the best story
Publisher: Neocore Games
Developer: Neocore Games
Genre: Action-Role Playing
Release date: March 10, 2017