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Victor Vran

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Haemimont Games
Release Date: May 30, 2017


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Xbox One Review - 'Victor Vran: Overkill Edition'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 11, 2017 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

Victor Vran brings a fresh perspective to the genre by adding a broad range of equipment and special moves that drastically change combat, along with a simple, but game-changing, jumping mechanic that separates itself from other action-RPGs.

Buy Victor Vran: Overkill Edition

Victor Vran originally came out on the PC roughly two years ago, and while some dismissed it as another action RPG, its movement system and various customization options made it stand out, especially for those who weren't necessarily fans of the genre in the first place. It also helped that the developers were constantly patching the game, even going so far as to include co-op play and some free DLC. After a two-year wait, the game is out on consoles, but it does so in an interesting way. The base game is $20 and is downloadable only, while the Overkill Edition comes in both download and retail disc varieties at double the price but with two major DLC packs in tow.

You play the role of Victor Vran, one of many monster hunters who roam around what appears to be 19th century Europe. You receive a mysterious message from a fellow monster hunter asking you to come to the kingdom of Zagarovia. Once you arrive, you find out that the kingdom has been fighting a losing battle against the demon hordes, and every Monster Hunter who has tried to save the kingdom has been killed. Your intention is to go in and find your friend, but the kingdom's mysteries and other circumstances cause you to stay behind and hopefully win the fight once and for all.

The story is just a framework for the action, and it works well in that respect. Things are spiced up by a character who calls himself The Voice. A demon spirit without a body, he inhabits yours for the purpose of torturing you with very dated jokes and references. There's a reference to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" here, a Skyrim reference there, and a little bit of The Stanley Parable for good measure. Even if you consider that the game is two years old, the jokes still feel dated. When put into context with the otherwise stoic plot, the inclusion of The Voice keeps things from getting too serious.

The game sports a number of traits you've come to expect from any ARPG that's followed in the footsteps of the Diablo series. Levels are not only large but very well designed. The bestiary is varied, and similar enemies still have some distinct traits. Loot follows a similar path, so while you may get a bunch of swords, there's a good chance that there are minute but meaningful differences between them. That doesn't extend to their other abilities. All shotguns give you a spread fire option that provides a short speed burst when used, but it doesn't take long before you can swap between two different weapons on the fly and call upon different demon powers for support. The game is also quite long and easily hits the double-digit range if you're just trying to power through it.

Victor Vran does something different when it comes to mobility. You still have a dodge roll, which can get you out of a jam pretty quickly, but you can't use it to go through enemies if you're cornered. You now have the ability to jump, which doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize that this simply isn't offered in most ARPGs. Now you can leap over enemy hordes to get some breathing room, and you can easily traverse areas like a garden maze without having to figure out the correct path. You also have the ability to wall-jump, so levels become more open given your vertical capabilities. Each of the stages puts forth mini-quests that range from finding all of the secret areas to killing a number of demons or reaching a quota within a time limit. Most are rather easy to accomplish, and the rewards range from new weapons and loot to XP and coins.

One thing that the game doesn't do, however, is give you different classes. Victor is simply a one-man army, so his abilities are pretty malleable. Aside from your weapons, his skills can be augmented by the suit he's wearing, though the game doesn't sport a large enough wardrobe for you to constantly perform outfit changes. Cards, on the other hand, do a much better job of augmenting things like health regeneration or overall health and defense. With the same cards sporting different levels, expect to play around with and combine them often, especially when you unlock more slots at higher levels.

For a game that was initially designed as a solo experience, Victor Vran does a good job of handling multiplayer — to a point. Local multiplayer is limited to two players, and the action balances itself well to handle an extra demon hunter. Progression is tied to the first player's profile, though, so someone coming in late and then wanting to go solo afterward can't do that. Four-player matches are an online-only affair, and it gives players the freedom to wander a stage without being restricted to the same screen. Keep in mind that multiplayer lacks the ability to drop weapons for other players to pick up, so greedy players will quickly catch the ire of teammates who aren't fast enough to reach the loot. Unless you have friends ready to play with, don't expect the help of random strangers, as there aren't any to be found online in any region.

The base game is a solid experience, and since the likes of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and Diablo III are already on the console, ARPG fans have a good amount to choose from on the Xbox One before factoring in some of the backward compatible titles. Choosing the Overkill Edition, however, means that you'll get both recently released DLC packs and save around $4. Of the two, Fractured Worlds is certainly the weakest. It bumps up your level cap from 50 to 60, and it provides you with four randomly generated dungeons to explore that are only available in 24-hour intervals. The gesture is nice, but the randomly generated stages aren't as charming as the handcrafted ones from the base game, and unless you see yourself pouring tons of time into the title after beating the main campaign, you can skip this one.

Motörhead: Through the Ages, however, cranks up the insanity and is certainly must-have material if you're already into the game. It starts off with Troma Films' own Lloyd Kaufman replacing The Voice. While he doesn't mercilessly taunt Victor, he's trying to narrate a story that weaves in lyrics from some famous metal songs. You're trying to resurrect the band's mascot, Snaggletooth, in order to stop the armies of the Fuehrer from taking over the various worlds. Not only are you fighting alongside Motörhead, but you're also listening to some of their songs and other instrumental metal songs as you fight. You'll wield some new weapons, such as revolvers and guitars, capping off a whole bunch of silliness that proves to be a ton of fun.

Aside from the metal found in the Motörhead DLC, the game's score does a great job of instrumental tones that are perfect for action. Moody yet intense, they're perfect for slaying demons but not so overpowering that they drown out the excellent effects. The voicework is fine, but Victor's performance stands above all since he's voiced by Doug Cockle, or Geralt of The Witcher fame.

Graphically, the game is quite impressive despite its age. The environments burst with loads of detail, and the characters, both monsters and allies, are well rendered. They animate rather nicely, and the game does a great job of handling the multitudes of characters on-screen and other effects without slowing down. The title also runs at a nice 60 fps, which is always appreciated.

Overall, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a solid ARPG that will easily please fans. The action is non-stop, the level design is well done, and the whole endeavor is as fun as it looks. While the base game is easy to recommend, going for the Overkill Edition can be a little tougher. The Motörhead DLC is worth it, but the Fractured Worlds DLC is only good if you plan for this to be your main ARPG for a long time. No matter which version you choose, Victor Vran is well worth checking out.

Score: 8.0/10

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