Victor Vran: Overkill Edition comes from Haemimont Games, who are quite a varied developer. They’ve previously created the excellent Tropico series into which I have poured countless hours, plus titles like Omerta, which is a decent gangster strategy game and The First Templar, a third-person medieval action game to name a few.
Victor Vran launched on PC back in July 2015 to positive reviews. It has now been released on the current-gen consoles with two bits of new DLC incorporated, both of which have also been made available for the PC version.
This game firmly sits in the Action Role Playing Game category (ARPG from now on!). That statemant alone tells you it is similar to Diablo, Torchlight, Van Helsing, Titan Quest and many more games of varying quality. To be fair, Victor Vran has more in common with Diablo III, Van Helsing and the more recent Vikings: Wolves of Midgard with the visuals and the way the game actually plays.
The story goes that the Queen of Zagoravia, when younger, made a pact with a demon to save the town. Now, of course, the demon wants to collect and the town is being attacked by all types of monstrosities as the Queen won’t give herself up. You, as Victor, just happen to turn up looking for a friend and comrade demon slayer who had headed to this town. After finding said friend, you find out what’s going on from the Queen and decide to stay and help out with the demon issue.
Loot is always at the forefront of your mind with ARPGs and Victor Vran is no different. Enemies drop new items which can be sold or equipped, if they’re better than what you already have. You can put a weapon in each hand allowing you to change your play style on the fly. Weapons in this game set the skills as the different types all have their own type of attacks. Scythes tend to have a longer reach and arcing attacks – one of which is a spinning hurricane; Rapiers stab and slash really fast with a little less damage; Hammers are slower to attack but do more damage and there are numerous spell tomes which fire magical projectiles and do area-of-effect attacks, plus there are numerous projectile weapons like handguns.
Having a primary as a melee weapon, with a ranged/magic weapon as secondary, has worked well for me. There are also demonic powers you can unleash once the relevant bar is filled by chaining attacks. Examples of these are a huge magical boomerang which does plenty damage out over as well as coming back. This can be used to your advantage if you move,as the boomerang comes back to you. There’s also a fire storm, shields, teleporting and a fair few others. You can also find more potent demonic powers as you slay the monsters.
Looking in your inventory, there are also cards which give you bonuses. You start off by equipping only one, but after a few hours extra slots, unlock with your levelling and you can put more in and swap lower level cards out. Armour upgrades come with levelling. Monsters – when slain – won’t drop new pieces. Once you reach a certain level, you can then pick a new set out of three available. These can have better defence, higher attack and so on so you can choose a set that suits the way you play.
The town is split into areas, each of which has numerous exits (or sub areas) with their own challenges. You’ll venture into quite a lot of these later in the game, but some can just be explored for the fun of it. When you start a mission into an area, you’ll be given a list of objectives – kill so many champions, kill a set amount of foes in a set time, destroy a number of certain items and so on. Completing the objectives is entirely optional, but if you do decide to explore and do them, the rewards are greater than just heading for the objective.
The landscapes and areas you visit aren’t just a sprawling single plane like most games of this nature. A big difference with Victor Vran is that you can jump. This can be used to dodge or do a drop attack. It also means that when in town type areas, you can explore some rooftops if you can find a way up. A vertical plane of movement is a REALLY cool feature which makes this game stand out and be a bit different from other titles in this genre. Another great aspect which needs mentioning is that the camera is not fixed; you use the right stick to rotate and zoom round your character which can make life a bit easier seeing what is up ahead and not losing your character behind some scenery.
Visually, the world is stunning and varied in each area. Graphics have been upgraded, from what I understand over the original, with new effects. Cutscenes are moving storyboards with an art style which would fit in 2000AD perfectly. When talking to various NPCs, you get a fullscreen portrait and voice acting. It all fits the world and the game perfectly. I think if they just went for speech bubbles over the characters, it would have detracted from the story. Voice acting has some great talent associated with it – Doug Cockle does the voice of Victor (Gerralt – Witcher series), Maria Teresa Creasey is Queen Katarina (Horizon Zero Dawn voice acting), and Kerry Shale supplies numerous voices (many voice acting credits since early 80s and film & TV appearances).
Music has a great score that sets the scene from the moment you start playing. You do have a demonic possession which heckles you while playing and makes some really funny sarcastic remarks. This adds a level of dark humour to the game (there is an achievement called Smashing Pumpkins you can unlock after destroying 200 pumpkins and another that rewards you for dancing with monsters!)
The two new pieces of DLC are absolutely fantastic. The first is a Motorhead themed one (Motorhead: Through the Ages) where the scenario is built round the artwork from Motorhead and their music. Here, you’ll get new weapon types, one of which is guitars (aka Axe!!). There are numerous set pieces that fit the music of the classic rock band which Lemmy fronted for so many years before his death. This piece of DLC pays perfect tribute to both him and Motorhead, and will introduce players to more tracks than just the constantly-aired Ace of Spades!
The second DLC is Fractured Worlds, an endless dungeon with daily challenges – enough to keep you playing for the duration if you have bored with the Diablo III adventure mode.
Both DLC are out now on PC at £9 each, although if you buy this new Overkill Edition, they are included with your purchase.
The multiplayer side of things has 2 options: you can either couch co-op with a friend or family member if you have a second controller. If no one is available for two-player in house, you can go online and co-op with another 3 players which is great fun.
Victor Vran is simply an excellent game. It has challenged me more than Diablo III on PS4 on the hardcore game modes where I have yet to die in all the hours I have put in! The graphics are absolutely superb and the sound is second-to-none. If you like ARPGs, then this should be an instant purchase, especially, if you like Van Helsing as the world has a similar feel to it.
With the extra level challenges, the game sets, and the Fractured Worlds DLC with its endless dungeon and daily challenges, level modifiers to make things even more challenging there is plenty content to keep you interested for months if not longer.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Developer: Haemimont Games
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Players: single player, Local 2 player Co-Op, Online 4-player Co-Op
Directors: Gabriel Dobrev and Mark Estdale
Producer: Achim Heidelauf
Music: George Strezov
Victor Vran: Doug Cockle
Queen Katarina: Maria Teresa Creasey
Irene: Deborah Mock
Tzar Borimir: Peter Marinker
The Voice: Torsten Michaelis
The Voice: Andrew Wincott
Additional Voices: Dan Mersh, Kerry Shale, Ingo Abel, Klaus Dittmann, Christian Rudolf, Peter Weis
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!
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