The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an action RPG played from a top down angle similar to Diablo. It was originally released on PC in 2013 but has recently made its way to the Xbox One.
You play as Van Helsing, the son of the legendary vampire hunter from Dracula. While this game is inspired by the Dracula material it is not set in the exact same universe but rather a similar one. The game takes place in Borgova, the capital of Borgovia, a gothic, steampunk-esqe twisted place filled with monsters & magic.
The city is a hub of mad science that has helped it advance faster with technology but has also inadvertently created monstrous creatures that terrorise the city & the surrounding areas.
This is where Van Helsing comes in…tasked with clearing out the monsters alongside his ghostly companion Katrina, who offers some light-hearted comedic lines; it is a pity her background isn’t explored more.
So the basics are here…equipment, loot, levelling up, skills & abilities, everything you’d expect to find in an RPG. The game is effectively spilt into hubs such as towns or lairs where Van Helsing can buy & sell items & equipment, get quests as well as turn completed ones in. These areas are moments of peace as the surrounding areas are teeming with enemies.
The game is surprisingly linear & most of the quests uninspired. There is a lack of side-quests throughout & you can’t shake the feeling that the world is kind of empty. What side-quests you can do rarely see you going off the main path meaning exploration is irrelevant beyond killing everything & loot gathering.
Money might seem pointless at first seeing as you will pick up so much of it & most of your weapons will come from looted chests as well but it has a good use. You’ll die a lot mainly because of the sheer scale of enemies that are thrown at you. Katrina is useful but often only as a distraction. Dying gives you options such as respawning exactly where you died for a huge fee. This is where your money will be spent, save that stuff for these moments.
Van Helsing has a number of ways in which to attack…melee, ranged & magic. Each have their benefit & each have additional skill trees to add abilities & increase damage. My preferred way to play is to use ranged weapons, allowing me to move around freely shooting enemies as they run towards me.
The upgrading/levelling up system is a bit over-whelming at first with so many options & it not being very clear how it works (the tutorials aren’t very good) but once you’re used to it, it is pretty straight-forward & you can really see the benefits. It adds more to the game that Katrina can also be levelled up & have additional/improved abilities. One of the better ones sees her turn into a powerful bomb that pretty much wipes out everything in the vicinity when her health drops to zero.
Visually Van Helsing looks nice, the environments are rough at times but the gothic, steampunk look is pretty. No two areas are the same except for the ‘ink’ areas. These parts of the game see Van Helsing transported into dream-like areas with floating platforms & huge loot returns. Not all have to be visited but its well worth taking the time for the big returns.
The voice acting can be quite outlandish but it fits well within the wacky world. Katrina gets most of the dialogue & has a lot of fun with it regardless of if she is being sarcastic about Van Helsing or complaining about her fate.
There is about 8-12 hours worth of gameplay here, maybe more if you’re willing to complete all side-quests & visit every corner of every map. It’s great value for money at its current price but even better if you picked it up as one of the free monthly games from Microsoft.
A fun game that will keep you busy for a good while. Outlandish locations with over the top bosses, if you’re a fan of dungeon crawling/loot grabbing/RPG elements then this game is perfect for you.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing