The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing review


May 4, 2013

Van Helsing's a smart choice as the protagonist of an action-RPG, I think. He's got a certain derring-do swagger to him, he can be decked out with swords, pistols and a little bit of magic, and he's famous for chewing his way through everything from werewolves and zombies to full-blown vampires. If it moves and it's mythical, Van Helsing wants to kill it. Also, he generally comes with a cool hat - and we all know how people feel about hats.

More specifically, he's a smart choice for a team making an ARPG on a limited budget: his iconic stature gives you a semi-legitimate reason to only offer a single class, and his name brings a bit of headliner clout while ensuring that his ensuing adventures, no matter how incredible, will be gloriously free from any kind of copyright nonsense. Little wonder Hungarian developer Neocore jumped all over him for this charming, limited, and sometimes rather threadbare offering.

For the most part, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing plays the ARPG game straight: you've got that famous Diablo view of the battlefield, those famous Diablo orbs of red and blue for health and mana, and you've got thousands of enemies swarming around you as you explore a series of overworld forests and swamps and city rooftops before diving down into a handful of dungeons. The story's pretty forgettable - there's a bad guy somewhere, and you should probably go and sort him out - but the aesthetic is gloomy Cthulhian steampunk. Werewolves come bristling with electrical plates and rivets; soldiers take aim with Tesla-rifles. Tentacles flap and horrible toads leap, yet by the time you reach the final boss, you're stepping over power cables and taking out tripod machine gun turrets with each blow. Van Helsing does a surprisingly good job of capturing a weird world at a point of transition.

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