As someone who loves the ARPG genre, I always enjoy seeing new titles on the market to see where the genre can be taken. Haemimont Games’ Victor Vran is the newest addition to the ARPG family, and while it adheres to the formula very well, it does offer some new mechanics that are interesting to play with.
Depending on what type on input you’re using, Victor Vran will play similar to either PC ARPGs such as Diablo or Path of Exile or console hack and slash games such as Champions of Norrath. I feel using mouse and keyboard is best for games such as this, but both options are readily available if pointing and clicking isn’t your thing.
The story isn’t particularly compelling. The titular character Victor goes into a city and tries to get rid of the bad stuff in it. What sets apart Victor Vran from other ARPGs however is that the narration is fairly silly and lighthearted, and the protagonist is voiced by Geralt from The Witcher.
Victor Vran’s combat system is interesting because players aren’t given a skill tree of any sort to place points into after leveling. The weapons you equip each will come with two abilities in addition to the basic attack it does. Equipping a scythe gives you a stun and a whirlwind ability, and both those abilities are powered up for every basic attack that you do. The shotgun has a strong single target attack and AOE attack that speeds up your basic attacks. All of your combat will be based around which weapons you decide to use.
New mechanics to this genre are demon powers and destiny cards. Demon powers are essentially “supers” that will either do damage on screen or provide a buff of some sort around your character, and they can be freely switched onto your character if you have the corresponding item. Examples of this would be the default meteor power which summons a random number of meteors where you place the marker that damage enemies. An example of a buff demon power would be an aura that regenerates your team’s health if they’re below 50% health. Overall I didn’t find demon powers to be too impactful on my game other than having another damage source when dealing with larger enemies.
Destiny cards function as a way to customize your character’s attributes. Cards are found through leveling, purchasing through vendors, or as loot, and they provide random benefits such as increase critical chance, critical damage, health, and so on. Occasionally you’ll find one that has a more unique effect, such as a card that creates an ice nova after every critical. I feel like this mechanic could have been implemented better because it functions as a sort of replacement for manually placing stats, but it feels underwhelming because you’re only given a limited amount of slots for destiny cards.
Victor Vran’s biggest weakness is that I would play through it once at most for the story because the game lacks character attachment or an in-depth ladder system for multiplayer. I don’t feel any sort of attachment to my character because there’s no stat system and abilities are determined by weapon drops. There’s nothing like the passive skill tree in Path of Exile where I can customize my character in-depth or skill points to assign. There’s a multiplayer system, but it doesn’t compel me to spend time grinding away like I would Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes 2015 or Diablo 3 because those games have a seasonal ladder to climb or long-term character progression.
Ultimately, Victor Vran is a game that doesn’t completely shake up the ARPG genre but follows the conventions very well. The type of people who would be interested in this game would be the same type of people who would enjoy something like The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: people who enjoy single-player story driven ARPGs. I don’t think I’m the primary audience because my main goal in an ARPG is multiplayer loot-grinding and ladder climbing, but for someone who is into those type of games, Victor Vran would be a good pick up.
- Geralt from The Witcher voices Victor
- Narrator is funny
- Gamepad support
- Multiplayer isn’t compelling
- Gameplay is fairly standard ARPG fare
- Build diversity is limited to item choice
Available on: PC, Vita; Publisher: EuroVideo Medien; Developer: Haemimont Games; Players: Multiplayer; Released: Jul 24 2015; ESRB: N/A; MSRP: $19.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher