Title: Victor Vran
Platform: Steam, Windows
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Adventure, Action RPG, Hack and Slash
Players: Single player, Online Co Op
Written by Dragoon 21st August 2015
Victor Vran by Haemimont Games is a game that borrows a lot from other sources. The setting and story are very reminiscent of old gothic tales such as Dracula and Victor himself is an obvious reference to Van Helsing. The game is riddled with pop culture references and it also has a sarcastic narrator reminiscent of the narrator from Bastion who makes funny little fourth wall breaking quips as you progress. The gameplay is similar to other games in the genre like Torchwood and Diablo but did Haemimont Games do enough to bring all these parts together into something new and exciting or did they end up with something more akin to Frankensteins monster?
The story for Victor Vran focuses on the man for whom the game is named, a demon hunter who can also make use of demonic powers himself, who has travelled to the city of Zagoravia to search for a long lost friend. When he arrives he finds out that the city has been cursed and that many of his hunter brethren have met their ends there. He sets out to search for his friend whilst fending of the various monstrosities that have occupied the city. While it may not be the most original premise the setting is suitably atmospheric but the story is rather lacklustre and seems to fade into the background as you progress, mostly it’s just there to tell you which graveyard or crypt you will be scrapping in next.
Where Victor Vran really shines is its combat, it forgoes traditional classes in favour of a unique weapon based skills system. Each weapon has its own selection of varied and interesting skills that alter your gameplay style and you can have two weapons which you can switch between at will. For example the shotgun puts enemies in a vulnerable state each time you correctly time your shot which guarantees the next one will be a critical hit, has an area of affect knockback shot that speeds you up and a powerful single target shot that instantly resets on a kill. All of the weapons seem fairly balanced and each offer a unique set of skills to suit your playstyle which I really appreciate.
In addition to your conventional weapons you also have access to a bevy of demonic spells, of which you can have two at a time. These can only be used after you fill up your overdrive bar and how you go about this is dependent on the costume Victor is currently wearing, the one I chose filled the bar every time I got a critical strike which synchronised well with the shotguns vulnerable status but there are others that fill it when you take damage or when you are walking. This again offers some good customisation and can change how you approach the games enemies.
Victor has access to a fun wall jump which allows you to explore the various maps and find secret chests but I wish it had been utilised a little more in the core game. Each map has a set of challenges that reward you with various bonuses and these range from defeating a boss without taking a hit or finding and defeating unique foes. These do a great job of providing some incentive to explore the maps and let you know what to expect in advance. Another great feature is the games difficulty system which allows you to activate various masks which increase the difficulty in ways such as increasing enemy damage whilst offering you better loot chances and more XP. You can turn these off and on as you want which means you aren’t locked in to a difficulty level from the start, allowing you to tailor the game to your own skills.
While Victor Vrans enemy roster may not be the most original with the usual assortments of giant spiders and vampires it does offer a unique random skill system for enemies. Each enemy has its own randomised set of skills such as the Splits ability which causes the enemy to split into smaller ones when destroyed or the Pillar ability that causes a pillar of ice to shoot up from the ground to knock you up into the air. These make the hordes of demons you will destroy a little more interesting and varied to battle which helps keep it fresh. The games bosses are fairly fun to fight but a few are just beefier versions of other enemies, one standout boss had you fighting a giant spider that climbed on the ceiling and could only be brought down by destroying pillars in the arena, there weren’t enough interesting bosses though which was a shame.
The previously mentioned narrator is introduced to you from the start but you don’t find out who he is until the end of the game, although his identity isn’t really all that surprising or interesting. His quips are quite funny at times but they often fall flat with some terrible jokes and cringe inducing fourth wall breaks. It’s also not unusual to hear the same lines repeatedly, he just doesn’t have the same charm and reactivity that Bastions narrator had and he doesn’t speak nearly enough which is a bit of a let-
Graphically the game may not be the prettiest but it does a decent enough job and has some great combat effects, it nails the gothic theme and the various crypts and dungeons all look good. It runs well but there are some graphical bugs for AMD users that are being worked on but are nothing serious. Sound wise the game is fairly average with a stereotypical gothic soundtrack and decent enough sound effects.
Overall Victor Vran is a game that takes a lot of good points from great games but doesn’t quite manage to reach the heights of them, it’s by no means bad and it does have some original ideas but it’s hard to justify it when all the games it borrows from are more refined. It ends up as a jack-
Great combat system,
Victor Vran hunts down a 7/10.