by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
Character design (cntd)
You are not fighting radio-active mutants. You are fighting cybernetically altered electrified werewolves, wind-up tin soldiers, over-sized frogs with cannons attached to their backs, and truly, deeply, mad scientists to name just a few of the myriad of enemies you will face in this game. Around every corner there is a new enemy type to fight, a new Easter egg to be found, or a side quest or shiny thing to be distracted by.
The game is filled to the brim with references to old European fairy tales, other games, popular culture, and everything else that the team thought might be of interest. A notice on a bulletin board in the first town reads “Missing: a ring in a set of twenty...” cleverly referencing The Lord of the Rings. Tweedledee and Tweedledum are worthy foes and so is The Pied Piper surrounded by a legion of rats. A cute white bunny sits among the corpses of a dozen werewolves. As Van Helsing studies it, it lunges at his face. Worthy foes these may be, but they are easily reduced to mere splatters of blood on the ground as our hero swings at them wielding the legendary Excalibur.
There are of course, as with every game, criticisms to be made. Van Helsing as a character is a bit monotonous as he can only wield swords (dual wielding smaller ones or masterfully swinging a two-handed one around) and the same goes for guns (carrying a rifle or dual wielding a pair of pistols). The diversity in enemies and the rich and detailed setting, however, make for more than enough eye-candy. Some minor bugs were detected, but nothing too serious or game breaking.
Neocore are stepping out of their comfort zone creating an ARPG, but if this is indicative of the care they take in every facet of game development, I look forward to seeing what the future brings for the company. I’ve been playing this game for over 10 hours and according to the narrative designer, I am at about 70% of the main plot line. I haven’t spent too much time exploring or searching for Easter eggs, but judging from the list of hidden goodies within the game I can well imagine the game lasting at least 20 hours for those that do (on hard, that is). For a 15$ indie game, that is a lot of content. The game is very well done and interesting to play and with the option of four player co-op, which means four Van Helsings and four Lady Katarinas, I cannot but give the game my highest recommendation for any Action RPG fan looking for a thrilling experience. Get this game, dear reader. You will not be disappointed.
Rich, detailed, and interesting setting; full of humorous references; great value.
Limited weapon choice; minor bugs.