By: Ted Chow
Victor Vran is one part Van Helsing and one part Diablo III in terms of the hack n’ slash genre. With a setting inspired by vampires and gothic lore, Victor Vran is treading familiar territory, but it is painted and presented in more shades than grey. If you enjoy the supernatural with a dash of action-packed combat around every corner, Victor Vran is a fun and accessible game that caters to a multitude of players and interests.
As prevalent in most hack n’ slash games, you’ll be clicking your mouse and mashing your keyboard aplenty. Key binds are also available for those that like to customize their settings, but the default settings are more than adequate for those just wanting to get into the action.
Given the genre, it was rather surprising to be able to rotate the camera around to get a 360 view of the entire map. While it doesn’t provide too many noticeable advantages, it does help provide a better sense of immersion with the environment.
When it comes to the color palette, Victor Vran is more painterly and vibrant in nature, similar to games like Diablo 3. For the most part, the graphics do well to provide the dark undertone without de-saturating everything to create the dark atmosphere.
As far as the dialogue and interactions go, the mood is more satirical with homage paid to popular memes humorously voiced by the character Voiced. The soundtrack also helps to accentuate the game’s casual gothic vibe and complements everything nicely.
If you are accustomed to the hack n’ slash genre, you can expect the formula here to be relatively the same. You’ll play as Victor Vran, a hunter in the business of stalking demons and collecting loot.
As far as customization goes, outfit changes with interesting benefits can be acquired to change your play style to what you deem fit. Aside from the limited cosmetic options for your hero, weapons do provide some alternative looks for you to seek after in the form of legendaries and so forth.
Victor has a kit of skills that are tied to the weapons that he brings to the battlefield. While individual weapons may be limited in the skills they provide, once you have unlocked the ability to wield a second weapon, your kit expands enough for you to experiment with builds.
Additional items, such as bombs and special powers, can also be swapped in or out to your preferences. In the early stages of the game the progression will feel a bit slow, but after reaching a particular threshold to unlock additional powers and weapons, the game starts to feel more adaptive and open for experimentation.
Of course, what would a hack n’ slash be if there weren’t levels to acquire? In Victor Vran level progress is similar to most other titles, though the main differences lie in the destiny cards and rewards. Once you level you are presented with stat increases and destiny points. Destiny points are required to equip the trading cards found throughout the game that act as passive stats for your character.
Passive abilities range from a varied pool of statistical and proc-on-hit abilities that alter the gameplay in your favor. Combine this with the weapon skills and demon powers that are acquired throughout the game, and you can see the possible avenues of exploration and experimentation that are staple features in the genre.
Online co-op is also available if you like to play with random strangers or friends. Since the game allows you to replay the same areas again after you’ve completed it, it is a good way to level your character or to farm for legendary loot. Replaying areas is as simple as opening up your interactive map.
Another interesting mechanic that strengthens the online or offline play is through the hexes that you can apply on yourself to give you disadvantages in stats and other options in return for better drops and a harder challenge. Hardcore mode is also available for those that seek the ultimate challenge. Also of note, the community of players was also well mannered and helped a newbie such as myself get accustomed to the game much faster.
Victor Vran was an enjoyable game from start to finish. Boss fights were climatic, weapons felt weighty and appropriate, and the value of exploration and character builds are well captured in this hack n’ slash iteration.