The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – PC
Release Date: May 22, 2013
Genre: Action, RPG
Reviewed by Jason Flick
Review Score: 4 of 5
It seems that despite Abraham Van Helsing being the scourge of the not-so-underground supernatural world, he still had time to spawn a child before his death. So unfortunately you don’t get to play as the man, the myth and the legend in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing for PC but you do get to take on the role of his monster hunting son as you travel through the monster infested countryside of Borgova with your wisecracking companion Katarina. Oh did I mention she’s a Victorian ghost.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a steampunk gothic Action RPG that has can easily fit into the “it plays like Diablo” description that even I’ve used a few times over the years. While that may be true, Van Helsing was right up my alley with its supernatural appeal, often frantic combat and a fairly deep RPG system. I have to say that I really liked the lore usage as well since this title is loosely based upon Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, Dracula.
Combat in Van Helsing revolves around standard point ’n click combat and our main hero has a wide variety of weapons to use in dispatching Rusalkas, Vilas, Lesoviks and Vrikolaks alike. If you don’t know what any of those things are then no worries as most of them are easy to figure out. All you really need to know is that they will kill you without a second though and you must use both your ranged and melee attacks to take them out. Players can switch back and forth between these two modes of attack with a simple keystroke as you use the mouse to move around and click on the enemies to attack. Controller support is supposedly in the works as a patch at a later date for those that prefer that method but I rather enjoyed playing Van Helsing the old-school way.
While killing hordes upon hordes of monsters is a blast there is more to The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing than just mowing down anything that even moves in your general direction. There is actually a pretty nice RPG system built into the game and it’s not just focused on our young Van Helsing but also the charming Lady Katarina as well. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing allows you to tailor your own Van Helsing the way that suits your personal style by spending skill points in the relevant categories. I spent a large chunk of points beefing up my ranged abilities while still retaining some for up close melee attacks.
One of the more enjoyable things about The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is your ghost companion Lady Katarina. This Victorian ghost, who is treated better in these troubles areas than Van Helsing, isn’t just a random pet along for the ride. Katarina can engage in combat alongside you and you can choose how she attacks your foes. She levels up just like you do though at a slower rate and skill points can be spent to raise her stats and abilities. You can even equip select weapon, armor and item types to her to further boost her stats. She can also be used to pickup, buy and sell items and even use health potions if her health drops below a player designated percent. So in short, she awesome to have around and creates some great banter with Van Helsing.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an awesome hack and slash adventure that is full of atmosphere and charm even when you’re deep in a werewolf den facing down a rather sizable pack. The maps are well designed and nicely detailed and vary from foggy swamps to deeply wooded forests all of which is presented in an isometric view. The special effects when you take down enemies with explosive shots showering the ground with gibs or slowing them with magic spells are all nicely done. I also love the transformation animations for Katarina’s attack modes when she changes from a proper lady to a vengeful spirit with razor claws.
Van Helsing not only features good graphics and a pretty solid gameplay presence but it also features a soundtrack I wouldn’t mind owning. The music score is perfect for the title’s setting with its dark gothic and Romanian vibes. The banter between the two main characters is awesome and there are more than enough pop-culture and literary references to go around. Oh and did I mention there’s a fourth wall breaking crazy person and a talking two-headed cow?
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a decently long game thanks to the exploring to done and plenty of side quests to do along the way. That and I know I made several trips back to the town to sell unwanted items when I wanted to do it myself after I ran out of room picking up the vast amount of loot you come across. Oh yes, there be loot and enemies are practically tripping over each other to give you the goodies they have squirreled away.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing’s single player campaign is enjoyable alone but it even better with the aid of up to 3 other monster hunters online for some co-op action. There’s even a scenarios mode but I found the main game, both on and offline to much more satisfactory. Players that want a real challenge should check out the hardcore mode which features perma-deaths so failure is not an option lest you want to start all over again. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing can be purchased on Steam for a mere $15 bucks and for this reviewer the experience is definitely worth the admission. Check out The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing for PC as soon as you can unless you’re a bad little monster.