Victor Vran is an adventure, hack-and-slash, Action Role Playing Game (ARPG) developed by Haemimont Games and published by EuroVideo Medien. The game was released on July 24th, 2015.
You play as Van Hel… Geralt of… VICTOR VRAN!! You play as Victor Vran, the love child of Van Helsing and Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter who travels to the city of Borgo… ZAGORAVIA!! He travels to Zagoravia which is currently under invasion from countless monsters and evil creatures. He quickly finds out that the whole city is now a trap for monster hunters such as himself, and he intends to stay and figure out who is behind this attack and save the city.
Immediately you figure out that even though the game is a lot like other games of its genre, such as Diablo, Grim Dawn and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, it also has a lot of differences to it. There are no skill points or abilities to buy, instead, you get abilities depending on what weapons you use and the Destiny Cards you acquire. These weapon skills have no cost, so you only need to wait for their cooldowns in order to use them again. You also have Demon Powers which you can swap out constantly by buying or finding more. Demon Powers are very powerful abilities that work in a variety of different ways, such as a meteor storm or a time bubble which slows enemies. Demon Powers use a special resource called overdrive, which you can gain a couple of different ways depending on the outfit you chose after the tutorial. For instance, one outfit allows you to automatically regenerate overdrive over time, or gain some from fighting and performing powerful combos and critical hits. You can also get some passive upgrades from finding and buying Destiny Cards, these cards can give you a huge amount of upgrades, such as increased armour, damage or powers that trigger upon doing something such as landing overkill attacks or killing enemies.
The combat in Victor Vran is a lot of fun, although a bit finicky at times, much like the movement. Sometimes when you click on something to move or attack, it’s almost like your character decides against it and starts to do something else for a split second before actually doing what you wanted. It can even take you a few seconds just to click on that one enemy that continuously evades your cursor. The game was played on the highest performance possible, so it isn’t a performance issue, the game is just not very well optimised. Every location has a number of challenges to perform while playing, such as defeating enemies with certain weapons, finding secrets or performing certain abilities or attacks. Once completed, these challenges grant you gold, experience and loot.
The game includes an addition that has rarely been seen in games like this before, and that is jumping. Such a simple concept but relatively unused. Victor Vran decides to add it as a gameplay mechanic, allowing you to wall jump to other levels and get over obstacles to find secret areas. In theory this is a pretty cool function, but it is under-utilised. You may barely remember that it is a function, even when you need it to get somewhere, as it is hardly even necessary. If they only added in more verticality to the areas and reasons to jump more often it could have been a really interesting new addition to ARPGs, but is simply forgotten about most of the time.
Victor Vran requires a lot more skill than most ARPGs. The lack of abilities and skill points cause you to have to gear up your character to compliment your play style, and use a variety of tactics in order to prevail. Everything compliments everything else, from the weapons to the Destiny Cards, the Demon Powers to the outfits. Hammers are incredibly powerful and hard hitting, whereas rapiers are weaker yet faster and armour piercing. It all depends on your playstyle and preferences. It’s all very interesting for the first few hours, knowing that your weapons change what skills you have and that you use Destiny Cards rather than skill points. But after a while, it gets a bit stale, as there is not quite the level of customisability to your play style as other ARPGs around, such as Grim Dawn or Diablo III. You do have a level of choice to how you want to play, but ultimately it only comes down to what weapons you are currently using.
Victor Vran looks great, but suffers from a few issues, even on higher performance gaming PCs. Occasionally after loading screens or even at random points throughout the game, the framerate and graphics quality will just drop for seemingly no reason, and won’t fix itself for a few minutes. This, and the occasional problematic movement and clicking, cause the game to become a lot less enjoyable when they occur. Victor Vran tries to be new and unique in its skill systems, but unfortunately what it ultimately has is quite lacking and repetitive. Playing in co-op makes the game a lot more enjoyable, but it doesn’t save it from the constant issues and lacking gameplay, and that is why the game receives a 6.5/10.