Archives by Day

September 2020

Victor Vran

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Haemimont Games
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2018


Switch Review - 'Victor Vran: Overkill Edition'

by Cody Medellin on Oct. 15, 2018 @ 12:00 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

The isometric action RPGs are slowly making their way to the Switch, and so far, all of them have been pretty high-profile releases. There are classics like Titan Quest and newer releases like Nine Parchments. Of course, the behemoth that is Diablo III is set to release before the end of the year. Before Blizzard's title hits, however, there's Victor Vran: Overkill Edition, which is something of an underdog achievement when it came out a few years ago on the PC before being ported to the Xbox One and PS4.

You play the role of Victor Vran, one of many monster hunters who roam around 19th century Europe. You receive a mysterious message from a fellow monster hunter who asks you to come to the kingdom of Zagarovia. Once you arrive, you find that the kingdom has been fighting a losing battle against the demon hordes and every hunter who has tried to save the kingdom has been killed. You intend to find your friend, but the mysteries of the kingdom and other circumstances cause you to stay behind to fight — and hopefully win once and for all.

By all accounts, the story only serves as a framework for the action, and it works well in that regard. Things are spiced up a bit by a character called The Voice, who's a demon spirit without a body. The Voice decides to inhabit your body to torture you with very dated jokes and references. There are references to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," Skyrim, and a little bit of The Stanley Parable for good measure. The inclusion of The Voice ensures that the title remains engaging.

The game has a number of features that are expected from just about any action-RPG that's follows in the footsteps of the Diablo series. Levels are large and very well designed, so they balance the feeling of wide-open exploration but without getting lost in brutal dead ends. The bestiary is quite varied, and even similar enemies reveal some distinct traits. Along a similar vein, you may pick up a bunch of swords and shotguns, but there's a good chance that they have some minute yet meaningful differences. That doesn't extend to their other abilities, though. For instance, all shotguns will have a spread fire option that provides a short speed burst. You'll seen gain the ability to swap between two different weapons on the fly and call upon different demon powers for support. The game can be quite long, easily hitting a double-digit range if you just try to power through it.

Victor Vran does do something different when it comes to mobility. You still have a dodge roll that can quickly get you out of a jam, but you can't use it to plow through enemies when you're cornered. You now also have the ability to jump, which doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize that this isn't possible in most action-RPGs. Now you can leap over enemy hordes to put some breathing room between you, and you can use it to easily traverse areas, like a garden maze. Thanks to the wall-jump ability, levels feel more open since there's some verticality to factor in when searching for secrets. Speaking of which, each stage puts forth miniquests that can include finding all of the secret areas, killing a number of demons, or reaching a quota within a time limit. Most of the quests are easy to accomplish, and the rewards range from new weapons and loot to loads of XP and coins.

One thing that the game doesn't do, however, is give you different classes. Victor is a one-man army, so his abilities are pretty malleable. Aside from your weapons, Victor's skills can be augmented by the suit he's wearing, though the game doesn't exactly provide a large enough wardrobe to constantly change outfits. Cards, on the other hand, do a much better job of augmenting things like health regeneration 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 the extra demon hunter. Progression is tied to the first player's profile, though, so someone coming in late and then wishing to go solo afterward can't do that. On the Switch, this also means having to invest in a Pro Controller or another pair of Joy-Cons, since solo Joy-con play isn't allowed. Four-player play is 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 things like the ability to drop weapons for other players to pick up, so loot-hungry players will quickly catch the ire of their slower teammates. Also, unless you have friends ready to play with, don't expect the help of random strangers, since there are so few of them on the three regional servers.

The base game is a solid experience, and as is customary with recent Switch ports, you'll get all of the DLC that as released on other platforms Of the two major ones, Fractured Worlds is certainly the weakest. It bumps your level cap from 50 to 60, and it provides you with four randomly generated dungeons that are only available for 24-hour intervals. The gesture is nice, but the randomly generated stages aren't as charming as the handcrafted ones in the base game, and unless you see yourself pouring tons of time into the title after defeating the main campaign, you can skip this one.

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

Aside from the metal found in the Motorhead DLC, the musical score includes instrumental tones that are perfect for action. Moody yet intense, they're perfect for demon-slaying but not overpowering enough to drown out the excellent effects. The voice work is fine overall, but Victor's performance stands above all. It certainly helps that Doug Cockle, the voice of Geralt in The Witcher, voices Victor using the same pitch and tone, so he immediately comes off as menacing instead of corny.

Graphically, the game remains impressive. The environments burst with loads of detail, and the characters — both monsters and allies — are also well rendered. They animate rather nicely, and the game does a great job of handling the multitudes of characters on-screen, with bouts of slowdown only occurring when the screen is filled to the brim with enemies and at least one other player in tow. On both docked and portable mode, the game runs at 30fps, which doesn't detract too much from the overall experience.

In the end, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a great action-RPG that is a perfect fit for a platform that has yet to be inundated with them. The action is fast and constant, and the amount of available content is enough to keep fans busy for quite some time. While it doesn't have a robust online community, the inclusion of local co-op is nice enough to make this a game to tide you over until the de facto genre representative arrives.

Score: 8.0/10

More articles about Victor Vran
blog comments powered by Disqus