REVIEW / Victor Vran (PC)

 

A little while ago, I previewed an Early Access game called Victor Vran.  An action RPG, it looked and played a lot like Diablo 3. In fact, as I said in that preview, it seemed a tad too similar to Blizzard’s game. But I also said that it was still loads of fun to play, and worth it if you want something a bit smaller.  The multitude of challenges, swappable weapon types, and easy to understand gameplay made it an almost addictive experience for me, despite the lack of originality in its style. At the end of the post, I said that it would be too hard to really judge the game before the developers added the story and finishing touches. Now that the final version of Victor Vran has been released, I hope to find a more solid conclusion.

 

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First, a recap. Victor Vran is an action RPG with an isometric view. Gameplay follows typical conventions for the genre; you have to guide your character through various environments, completing challenges and gathering loot along the way. Inventory management plays a role as well, since you will gather a wide variety of weapons and other equipment, each with different properties. Magic in Victor Vran takes the form of demonic powers, which can be found and unlocked throughout the game. At first you can only have one weapon and one power active at a time, but leveling up will unlock additional slots.

 

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Unlike other titles, though, you don’t choose a class.  You play as Victor, and you can use any of the game’s equipment. There are many types of weapons, each useful in different ways; hammers are slow but deal a lot of damage, rapiers are good at getting through armor, and shotguns can hit multiple enemies from a distance. Each of the many weapon types has a fixed set of three abilities, which along with demon powers and potions make up your combat actions. Another unique feature is the Fate Cards, which you can buy or obtain by leveling up. They might increase your stats or give you other abilities, and allow extra customization.  You can raise or lower different stats depending on where you are in the game, for example, so everything is set exactly how you need it to be for each dungeon and battle.  This adaptability and customizability is one of Victor Vran’s greatest strengths.

 

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That’s what was in the Early Access version, but what’s new? In terms of gameplay, very little. The game world is bigger, of course, but there are no significant changes to the mechanics.  Instead, the additions are in the form of the story and flavor elements.  There was no plot at all in the preview version; the developer decided to keep it under wraps until the full release. I’m confused as to why they would make that decision though; the plot isn’t especially deep.  In the first part of the game, which includes the entirety of the Early Access version’s main content, Victor is seeking a friend who went missing.  The story continues from there to explain more about the monsters plaguing the city of Zagovia, but it’s never all that engaging or important.  This is a dungeon crawler, first and foremost, so it doesn’t bother me too much.  There is voice acting for the major characters, which all works very well.  Victor himself is played by the same actor as The Witcher’s Geralt, but he doesn’t have the best lines. Most of the interesting lines come from the mysterious character who calls himself Voice. He begins as a voice in Victor’s head, but soon takes the role of a narrator.  He is also where much of the game’s humor comes from.  It definitely adds some spirit to the game, but like much of Victor Vran, it’s not the best example I’ve seen of this kind of thing.

 

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Essentially, that’s the thread running through just about every aspect of this game.  It’s a lot of fun to play, and just about everything it does works great, but not quite as well as other games in the genre.  It takes up a space between Diablo and Torchlight; more lighthearted than the former, and more serious than the latter.  And if you do like the idea of having something in between, this is worth a look, but it won’t win many awards with such strict competition.  Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an excellent game in its own right.  The customization options give the player much more flexibility than in other games, and the gameplay works pretty much perfectly.  As long as you aren’t looking for a solid plot (or a lot of originality) I definitely recommend Victor Vran to fans of the genre.  And again, I believe there is some demand for a fun game that’s smaller and more welcoming than Diablo but more…Diablo-like than Torchlight.

 

 

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What we come down to in the end is that Victor Vran is a fun and addictive game, with very good graphics and a complete lack of interesting plot. It’s only fair to judge this game on its own merits, and on its own it’s excellent.  If you haven’t played much of the genre before, though, it might not be the best choice.  Look at the other options, and see which one works best for you.  If you’re a veteran, though, this isn’t a bad choice for a next chapter.

 

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