by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
I promised myself I wouldn’t mention Diablo in my review of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Seeing as I’ve already broken that promise, however, let me tell you about one of my fondest gaming memories. My brother and I used to play Diablo II co-op in our separate rooms with our doors wide open so as to make sure we could hear each other’s cries and exclamations over the hacking and slashing sounds booming from our speakers. Every time I see the option of co-oping in an Action RPG, a nostalgic warmth cradles my gamer heart. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an Action-RPG developed and released by NeocoreGames, a Hungarian indie developer best known for their King Arthur series of Role-Playing Strategy games.
You are [insert name here] Van Helsing, son of the legendary monster hunter who slew the Vampire Lords and saved the city of Borgova. Or so he thought. After receiving a disturbing letter requesting his assistance, the task is left up to you. You are on your way to Borgova when your caravan is attacked by bandits. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, you will have to make your way to the city on foot, slaying monsters and foiling evil plots along the way.
Lady Katarina is your trusty companion. She is a ghost whose spirit has been bound to serve the Van Helsing family. Watching her turn into a hovering Medusa with what looks like a halberd for a tail is quite a sight and her appearance in melee and ranged modes are quite different, but both bad-assed. Her behaviour is highly customizable as well. You can choose whether she focuses on melee or ranged attacks and you can ask her to stay in her ghost form, not dealing any damage but also rendering her immune to enemy attacks. The benefit of this form is that she reduces the damage that your own character takes by 10%. She can be ordered to attack the weakest or the most vulnerable target, defend you, or assist you in slaying the one you’re targeting.
You can even make her gather certain items automatically, such as healing potions, gold, essences (used to imbue items with magic powers much like the socketed items of the Diablo series only much more versatile) and normal, magic, rare, and epic items. She can also be sent to town on a shopping spree if you are getting low on supplies, but doing so leaves you without backup for a whole minute. The playful banter between Van Helsing and Lady Katarina breathes a life into their relationship and solidifies their personalities.
Rich, detailed, and interesting setting; full of humorous references; great value.
Limited weapon choice; minor bugs.