Victor Vran isn’t a new game, it arrived on PC back in 2015, but this overkill edition soups up the main game and adds a ton of extra content as well as bringing Victor to console for the first time.
Hearing a call from a fellow demon hunter to help save the city of Zagoravia, Victor bursts through the city gates and starts kicking monster butt as soon as he arrives. The story unravels the reason why Zagoravia is under attack from the demons, but don’t expect anything too deep here. What you might notice, though, is a familiar voice. Victor is voiced by the same actor as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher games. Talk about typecasting!
The game follows the standard Diablo-style action RPG approach, though there are no character classes as such here, just different outfits which allow you to tailor your play style by giving you the energy required for the game’s special demon powers, but more on that later. On top of this you get cards which expand your powers and, as you’d expect, loot to collect in the form of plenty of weapons.
Starting off slowly with simple enemies in small, tight maps, you soon learn about Overdrive, the power bar which fills as you fight and allows you to pull off the demon powers. This bar will be dependent on those initial costume choices but it also fills faster when you use different attacks which, in turn, pushes players to use more varied methods of dispatching the giant spiders, scorpion demons and other monsters. You can, of course, spam the buttons in hope but it won’t get you far with some of the pretty tough later enemies, especially when they start ganging up on you.
Weapons determine your demon powers but you also get destiny cards, which expand your powers or health and levelling up brings you more weapons, dress styles and items to use. It’s an interesting system which, at first, seems at odds with a game like this. There’s no real levelling up as such, but the weapon choices also change up the way you play as your attacks differ. Shotguns and other ranged attacks allow you to keep your distance while some close up weapons give you quick fire attacks and others are slower but more powerful. Thankfully, you can wield two weapons on the go and swap between them easily.
As you progress the enemies get larger and the screen fills with weapon-fire, monster blood and glowing magic. It’s like fireworks night at a rave concert in Dracula’s castle and it helps disguise the fact that the action tends to grow a little samey after a while. Thankfully, new weapons and some good map design also help to keep your attention until the final showdown.
One thing of note is the narrator who can’t help but insult you at each step of the way. Coming off as something like a cross between the narrator in Bastion and Bioshock, he adds a little spice to the game with his pithy comments and references to pop culture.
This overkill edition has a couple more things going for it, too. Console and PC owners now get the random dungeon creator add-on, which is useful for those who’ve finished the main game but gets pretty damn hard at times, and, more importantly, the Motorhead based add-on which is like a game in itself and swaps the arenas, weapons and special powers for something a bit more fitting for the infamous metal band. Yes, that means you get to fight with weaponised electric guitars in a World War II style setting to the sound of classic Motorhead songs. I actually loved this add-on more than the main game.
Victor Vran attempts to change up the way an Action RPG is played and it certainly makes you think a lot more about how to play minute to minute, rather than what level you need to be next. The Motorhead add-on is worth the price alone and it’s good to see an RPG like this hitting the current generation of consoles for a change.
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