Victor Vran was not what I was expecting. It’s an ARPG, along the lines of Diablo 3, Super Dungeon Bros or Bastion and I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, a game by it’s art or a man by his fart but sometimes you just do and this time I just did, from the tone of the game art I thought Gerard had thrown me in to an overly serious, Van Helsing wannabe, depressing slog of a game but I’m glad to say I was entirely wrong. Well not about the Van Helsing bit…
(I mean…just look at the guy!)
What I actually got was some strange bastard child of Van Helsing and The Stanley Parable, with the (actual) voice of the Witcher thrown in for good measure and thankfully it’s a surprisingly light-hearted bastard of a child, particularly because of the omnipresent narrator, shamelessly ‘inspired’ from the responsive narrator in games like The Stanley Parable. Hell, the narrator once jokingly utters the name “Stanley” instead of Victor. It’s from the narrator that most of the comic relief comes from, as from time to time he’ll throw out the occasional song, insult, cultural reference or just a plain old joke and while it mostly works, a good few of the jokes fall flat. I’d also say the narrator isn’t quite as… accurate as in similar games, there was one instance where I was exploring a dungeon, had already found the exit but me being the completionist I am, was running around completing challenges, exploring the map and apparently confusing the hell out of the narrator in the process, who in turn confused me and convinced me (for longer than I care to admit) that I hadn’t found the correct exit yet.
(Where the fuck am I?)
One of the weak points in Victor Vran is definitely in it’s story, in that there’s very little of it. To a certain degree that’s not a huge deal, it is a dungeon crawler after all, but weak or poorly delivered stories are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. That being said what there is to the story in Victor Vran does it’s job, it connects all the dungeons you’re going to crawl and gives some reasoning for what’s going on, but there’s no substance to it, it basically boils down to “Yo Victor, there’s a bunch of monsters down there because of curses or some shit. The other dudes all died but you’ll probably be fine, right?”
But it being a dungeon crawler, people don’t really pick it up for the narrative and in terms of gameplay Victor Vran gives us very little to complain about. It’s rare to see a game that’s quite as polished as Victor Vran and purely because it works the way it’s supposed to, it ends up being a remarkably fun and surprisingly addictive game. I played through on medium difficulty and it still provided a good bit of a challenge, particularly if you attempt the list of challenges in each area. They tend to range across time challenges, kill counts, specific weapon kills, kills without getting hurt etc etc, and they do a good job of getting you to try every ounce of what the game has to offer, allowing you to enjoy and appreciate the extremely well-balanced weapon system by gently encouraging you to use weapons you hadn’t considered using.
(It’s hammer time)
All in all I was very impressed with the base game of “Victor Vran” but now, on to the “Overkill Edition” part of the review, as this edition of the game includes two DLCs, Fractured World and Motörhead: Through the Ages.
Firstly, we have “Fractured Worlds” which brings four new dungeons to crawl through, as well as one “endless” dungeon. The new maps are insanely long and grindy, but just as well designed as in the main game and there’s a whole host of new irritatingly effective enemies that will have you ruining your controllers over along the way. It also adds yet another item to the already extensive array of weaponry and items that Vic has at his disposal. The ‘Talismans’ you get change your appearance and combat capabilities but honestly, in my short time with Victor Vran I found this to be an unnecessary addition as he was already more customizable than I took advantage of. But if nit-picking over attributes is your thing, you are going to love it. The story in this DLC is a bit more meaningful but no less sparse, it’s also a bit more serious and not quite as light hearted as the main game, and the lack of the original narrator is annoyingly noticeable.
(Take that you eight legged fuck!)
Lastly but by no means least we have “Motörhead: Through the Ages”. Motörhead officially endorsed this DLC and blessed it with their music, it features and revolves around Motörhead, Victor, Nazis, and features twelve different Motörhead songs that play in the background which really makes a difference to how immersive the game was for me. It’s pretty fuckin’ cool. Seriously what more can you ask for? It’s silly but it works, the only issue I have with this DLC is that it’s so badass it drops the frame rate on the Xbox one. Once again it features new maps, new story (oddly the strongest of the three stories) and new weapons, all Motörhead themed, like guitar weapons, Lemmy fighting Nazis etc. It’s ridiculous, it’s fun but it’s still Victor Vran.
(Enough said really)