I didn't really expect much from Victor Vran. Who could blame me? With so many action-role-playing games that offer nothing much than just the same. I admit, after realizing that the protagonist is voiced by the same guy who did Geralt from The Witcher series, I kept going just to hear more of his dialog. But as I did, I slowly realize that I've underestimated what this game had to offer. Not long after, I started playing Victor Vran for more than just hearing Geralt's voice.
There's nothing really special about the story in Victor Vran, like most games of its ilk, it's merely an excuse to start raiding dungeons and looting corpses. Even so, I found myself following the story. Still in part of Doug Cockle's vocal performance as Victor Vran but also because of the way the game delivers its narrative. The dialog is short, skip-able, and even back-trackable, the cutscenes brief and on point, with the rest narrated over gameplay. Hardly requiring any commitment to the plot, it's fairly easy to keep moving forward and still have a general idea of where you are in the story.
Plus, it helps that the game itself doesn't take itself seriously. As it is almost customary for action-role-playing games nowadays, there are tons of easter eggs and parodies to find all over Victor Vran. Though I'm personally sick of memes and pop-culture references in video games, It feels rather welcome here. When I noticed one of my objectives was to slay some 'dancing zombies', I tediously anticipated another Michael Jackson 'Thriller' reference, only to crack a smile when they turned out to be galloping zombies winding an imaginary lasso, Oppa Gangrene Style.
Victor Vran is a pretty dynamic action RPG, with positioning and hand-eye coordination playing a big role in the gameplay. The RPG element of the game is still very much relevant, there's just an equal emphasis on both the action and roleplaying aspects of the genre. The tactile controls make you feel more involved in the action, dodge rolling left and right and constantly checking your positioning and adjusting it accordingly. It not just about your equipment, but also how you use them.
Victor Vran is also 'Loot Led' action RPG, forgoing skill and stat allocation in favor of weapons, accessories and destiny cards that provide passive and active effects that can strengthen your character or even alter the way he fights. Instead of classes and specializations, your fighting style is dictated by your weapon of choice. There are ten weapon classes that come with their own set of move sets. You can have up to two equipped which you can switch between on the fly.
You may also equip up to two Demon Powers and seven Destiny Cards. Destiny Cards are accessories you can equip that grants various bonuses to your character like increasing your maximum health, raising your critical damage, or increasing the number of Gold enemies drop. Each card costs a certain destiny point, with the higher ranking cards costing more. You can only equip a maximum of 7 cards and a set amount of Destiny Points that increases as you level up. Demon Powers are powerful skills you can equip that can turn the tides of battle. From unleashing fiery pillars that deal massive damage to creating a strong shield that will absorb incoming damage for a duration, there's a Demon Power for any occasion.
Lastly, there are even various types of consumables and bombs that yield different effects, as well as Talismans you can equip with effects you can activate with the down button.You can mix and match all of these items in your load out to create a unique build for your version of Victor Vran.
Since the game is so loot-focused, naturally it should come with its own crafting system. The feature is locked until reaching level 16 but by then you would have gathered enough loot to make use of it's simple yet effective crafting system. There are four crafting slots with one being the base item and the rest of them as ingredients to transmute. Transmutation yields different effects depending on the type of item(s) you wish to transmute, but the overall gist of it is all relatively the same. To upgrade an item, simply put the desired item onto the base and place three items of the same type and rarity at the ingredient slots. If you wish to create a new item instead, you can leave the base slot empty and place three of the same type of item and rarity you wish to create into the ingredient slots.
It's a simple system but one that works. Late in the game, you'll find yourself managing your inventory and spending a lot of time pondering on which items to transmute, making use of the vendors wears as mere ingredients for better items at this point. It's an excellent way to still make use of items you otherwise would no longer need, further supporting its loot-focused mechanics.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition contains the core game plus all previously released DLCs, including the Farctured Worlds expansion and Motörhead: Through The Ages, a metal themed expansions featuring Motörhead, which is apparently a thing. Nevertheless, even without all the included DLCs, there's a heck ton of content in Victor Vran: Overkill Edition. You can also fully customize your experience thanks to a selection of difficulty modes and hexes that add challenging stipulations that you can turn on and off at any given time. Each of the many, many areas in Victor Vran also yields a ton of secrets and challenges for the competition-ist within you to enjoy.
The game's leveling system is also well-paced, slowly unlocking mechanics and ensuring a clear sense of growth whilst maintaining a steady level of challenge. Additionally, you can choose one of three randomized items each time you level-up, adding up to the euphoria you feel when getting that sweet one up.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
One of the first things that bothered me was being unable to zoom. I found all the details to be too small for me to identify clearly. Over time I realized it's really not essential to the overall experience, but just having the option to would have been nice, even if it is useless.
There's nothing outstanding about Victor Vran's visuals, but it's all still very aesthetically pleasing. The visual style is very similar to that of Diablo and for good reason too as it helps bring clarity to important visual elements when the screen is rife with monsters and wild projectiles.
There's a vertical element to Victor Vran's gameplay, though the visual style is simple and easy on the eyes, there aren't any obvious indicator of ascendable platforms. This might be a deliberation though as it's mainly just hidden chests and secrets behind these vertical areas.
The user interface and heads up display in Victor Vran are both very simplistic. It looks a bit old school and is nothing fancy, but it works well to keep everything neatly organized. Oddly enough, in the inventory screen, the D-pad is used to move an item around a grid instead of cycling through them; that is left to the left analog stick. I might have preferred if it was the other way around or better yet, just do away with the move feature altogether as you'll mostly be auto-sorting them anyway. Another issue is the item description box blocking two full rows of items above or below the highlighted one, making it difficult sometimes to locate a specific item from your increasingly crowded inventory.
There's really not much to say about Victor Vran's visuals other than it does the job well. It doesn't distract or obscure the action and is at the same time visually interesting enough to explore and move forward. The textures are crisp, the framerate is smooth, and there are no noticeable slowdowns no matter how much is going on onscreen.
Audio-wise it's pretty much the same thing, except maybe for Motörhead fans, as many of their tracks are featured in one of the games included DLCs.
There are many sub-par action-roleplaying games out there, so you'd be forgiven to count Victor Vran among them. After just a couple hours of trying, I've realized how much I underestimated how satisfying Victor Vran's dynamic loot-focused gameplay could be.
Don't make the same mistake as I did. It may not have the same depth as those at the top of its game, but it's deep nonetheless. If you love hunting loot, you'd be remiss not to try Victor Vran. And with the Overkill Edition including all previous DLCs in the package, you're in for countless hours of loot-filled dungeon crawling that's nothing short of gratifying.
|+ Deep, loot-focused character building||– Generic look|
|+ Fun reaction-based combat||– Sub-par campaign|
|+ Lots of content, including two expansions|