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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (473)

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Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4.5/5
Hammerwatch 3/5
AereA 1/5
Divinity: Original Sin 4.5/5
The Yawhg 4/5
Sword Coast Legends 3.5/5
Spelunky 2.5/5
We Are the Dwarves 1/5

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Victor Vran   PC (Steam) 

Monster Hunting for Fun and Profit    3/5 stars

I've been a fan of Diablo and its loot and shoot hack n slash style of gameplay since my college days (re: long time ago) and anytime the crew decides to pick one of these top-down Diablo clones, I'm all for it, even if most turn out to be... lesser fun. Victor Vran is stuck right in the middle of the pack - not amazing but not a total waste, it definitely has its own style and flavor and even mechanics. While it may not all stick the landing, it makes for a unique experience and one worth taking a chance on if you've an itch for this type of game.

Looks and Stuff: The game looks nice - Victor(s), the enemies, the settings - it all fits the setting of a dark fantasy world overrun by monsters and demons. From burning city streets to dank marshes to twisted forests - it's all here along with plenty of interesting enemies - vampires, imps, succbi and more - one thing the game doesn't lack is a nice variety. In the small main base, all characters are voiced, Victor by the unmistakable growl of Doug Cockle (best known for voicing Geralt in The Witcher 3), while the rest of the characters are acceptable. The sound and music are fine - unless you're a big fan of Motörhead, as one of the main DLCs is centered around the band and features their music exclusively (and loudly). No major bugs to speak of either, so it has that going for it.

Story: The main story has Victor helping the kingdom of Zagoravia, an Eastern European kingdom under attack from a large demon army. Only a handful of people are in the main base including the young queen Katarina and various advisors/merchants. Victor is one of the last of the true Monster Hunters, and has talents to back them up. You will run across a fellow Monster Hunter, Irene, who later joins your small group - but is not a playable characters, sadly. Victor will travel around various areas and try to cleanse the outbreak all while dealing with a nagging voice in his own head - who spews jokes as well as jabs - that seems to have a connection to the current situation. It turns out Victor is not the only one hiding a few secrets and soon the depths of the outbreak become apparent, leading to some travel into other realms and eventually a showdown that will not only affect the kingdom, but Victor as well. The story is fairly straight-forward, but it's present and actually not too bad all told.

The DLC goes off the rails by introducing an alternate-history post WWII in which the Nazis have joined forces with demonic forces and must be stopped by... Motörhead and Victor Vran. It's entirely insane and very loud but pretty much more of the same with some interesting areas (old west for one) that keeps things humming. The other DLC isn't so much a long story as a series of daily challenges involving crystals or something - we didn't play much of it due to the grind factor.

Gameplay: While most games of this genre focus on the loot over much else, Victor Vran takes a different approach and instead encourages you to focus on upgrading what you've go to make yourself better rather than pelting you with an over-abundance of useless crap you'll never pick up that clutters the screen (cough Titan Quest cough). Sure, you'll still get plenty of drops for weapons, Demon Powers and Destiny Cards - but it never feels overwhelming. Victor himself can wield two weapons - and there is a wide variety one can pick from - shotguns, pistols, swords, magic books - each with their own melee or ranged abilities, along with random stats. Every now and then you can stumble upon the gold legendary weapons that have more-or-less fixed stats but are usually highly prized for their unique abilities (like shooting chickens that explode for one).

Demon Powers are magic skills that have their own meter but can turn the tide of battles - from raining down meteors to providing much-needed protection, you must balance these skills based on how you play. Demon Powers drain quickly outside of battle, however, so boosting them using your limited armor is recommended. Armor is limited in this game compared to weapons or powers, so choosing a set that works for you is important.

Finally, Destiny Cards give you boosts to attack, defense and other skills. You have a limited pool of points and each Destiny Card costs so many. You can rank up cards by combining them for more power while certain cards are only useful for certain weapons, but offer a big boost. You can also come across divine or wicked versions of cards that provide even more useful gains. This system can be quite complex and I admit I didn't spend as much time with it to build a great character as I could - but it's surprisingly robust for this type of game.

With all this in mind, Victor Vran is a typical hack n slash in that you'll be running around fighting hordes of enemies at any given time. You'll switch between weapons often, use your powers and come across plenty of special enemies that provide a bigger challenge. Bosses are fun without being too OP - though we had to cheese a bit in the DLC. The game can be a bit bullet spongy at times, feeling less like a challenge than a slog at some points - and the optional challenges (which impose various debuffs to make things even harder) are more annoying than anything else, which is why we mostly ignored them. Unlike most hack n slash games, however, Victor can actually jump - leading to some interesting areas in which you have to explore - often looking for some hidden loot or enemy to kill - and that, at least, provides some nice variety aside from killing everything in sight.

Replay value: This comes from mostly how much you are willing to grind or chase after the truly rare weapons or just min-max your way to ultimate greatness. Since I didn't want to do any of those things, it doesn't apply much to me - but it's there if you want it.

Final Verdict: Grimdark meets random jokes meets hack n slash fun - somewhat weird but also mostly enjoyable.

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Replay: 3/5
Overall (not an average): 3/5

 

 


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