The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a standout title in an oversaturated genre. It holds its own against the leaders of the ARPG pack such as Diablo 3, Torchlight 2 and Path of Exile with its refreshing gothic setting and excellently crafted game world.
Price: $14.99 or about R150
Developer: Neocore Games
Publisher: Neocore Games
For fans of: Action RPGs like Diablo and Torchlight
Reviewed on: PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 7/10
What I liked:
- Great graphics
- Good sound design
- The setting is beautiful
- Exciting, visceral combat
- The writing and dialogue of characters is funny and witty
What I didn’t like:
- The game can sometimes feel a little cheap with its implementation of difficult
- Interface is sometimes a little cumbersome
- Limited character customisation options
You play as the son of Abraham Van Helsing, the famed vampire hunter from Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula novel. The game is set in a similar universe as that found in the book, that is, Eastern Europe of the 1800s. The majority of the action takes place in Borgova, the steam punk capital of the fictional Borgovia. The game’s great graphics and visual style help breathe life into the world, which is filled with interesting and bizarre characters (like a two headed talking cow… yeah, that).
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has a unique take on combat, where instead of specific abilities being linked to the number keys (such as Torchlight 2 or the Diablo’s of old), you bind different types of attacks to your left and right mouse buttons, with the numbers keys being assigned to numerous power-ups that can be used to boost these mouse attacks. The combat can be very exciting with gore and lots of good looking effects that light up the battlefield – this helps the combat feel visceral and satisfying.
Despite how good the combat can look, there are times when it doesn’t quite feel like you are attacking exactly what you want to attack, especially when you are stormed by dozens of foes who take up most of your screen real estate. It’s sometimes hard to click on the enemies that pose the biggest threat.
The sound design of the game is great and really helps set the mood and tone of the game. Weapons and spells sound suitably powerful, which helps the combat feel even better. The voice acting can be spotty, ranging from excellent with important characters to terrible with merchants and townsfolk. Luckily this doesn’t really detract from the experience.
The game borrows many elements from others in the action-RPG genre, but puts its own unique spin on the main mechanics. The combat hasn’t really been done in this manner before, with Diablo and Torchlight doing it differently – it does sometimes feel over-simplified though, but not to the extent of Diablo 3. Character customisation lacks some features, as new items don’t seem to alter your appearance that much, most weapons within a type all look the same. As for apparel, hats are the only items that seem to change what you look like. The customisation is limited to changing the colour scheme of your character.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing holds a lot of value at the rather budget price of $14.99, with around 20 hours of content to play through. It is the first in a trilogy of games, so it’s safe to say we will be seeing a lot more of Van Helsing. It is a great first game in the series and it will be interesting to see what innovations Neocore Games will be able to bring to the table in the future.