Victor Vran (Haemimont Games)
I have to admit that I was more than a little intrigued when I learned that the Tropica developers, Haemimont Games, were trying their hand at an action role playing game. Lured in by the promise that the game has a lot in common with the PS2 classic, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, I decided to give it a go and I’m definitely glad that I did. The game is still in Early Access so it is keeping its storyline under wraps, but as far as the gameplay is concerned it would appear that Haemimont Games is definitely on the right track to release a classic.
Playing as Victor Vran who is some sort of monster hunter you arrive at the city of Zagoravia only to find it overrun with all manner of hostile critters. Taking the form of an isometric action role playing game, you get to pit Victor against the hordes of enemies while trying out his weapons, special moves, powers and abilities. Although the story mode and main quest were not available in the Early Access version of the game I played there are already a couple of different areas to explore, each with five different bonus challenges to complete. The most recent update to the game also added an online co-op mode, so now you can team up with three friends to take on the monsters. The single player mode is already great, but playing along with some friends really kicks the action into overdrive.
Victor is surprisingly nimble for an action-RPG character and can jump and dodge as well as perform wall jumps. You can also switch between two main weapons on the fly, which is great for thinning out the hordes with your shotgun before moving in for the kill with your hammer. Each weapon type has its own special attacks, with cooldowns, which adds a lot of variety to the combat. As you lay waste to your enemies you’ll fill up Victors overdrive meter which can be used to unleash special powers. Then there are the destiny cards which can be found and equipped to imbue Victor with a range of passive abilities as well as hexes. The hexes increases the toughness of your foes in exchange for extra experience points and is a great way for veteran players to tailor the difficulty exactly to their liking.
Visually the game looks great although the character and setting definitely reminded me of the Van Helsing series by NeocoreGames. The environments are detailed and the game delights in throwing swarms of enemies at you. Between all the weapon, ability and spell effects the visuals can be pretty chaotic at times, especially when playing with friends, but it’s not too hard to keep track of your character. The camera can also be rotated at any time to ensure that you have a clear view of the action. Although Victor Vran can be played with the traditional keyboard and mouse combo it feels surprisingly intuitive with an Xbox controller as well. I actually opted for the latter as it makes the combat feel more visceral.
It will still be a while before the story and main quest are added to the game along with end-game content and features, but even in this early stage the game is already a blast to play. The next update promises to add some new dungeons, monsters and legendary weapons along with a level cap increase, but the existing content is definitely enough to keep you busy for a few hours and justify the asking price. If you are looking for an action RPG that is fast, fun and doesn’t get bogged down in endless stats you will enjoy Victor Vran. It also looks like the developers are pulling out all the stops to make this a game that fans will enjoy and you can provide feedback or report bugs from within the game to help with the development. There has been some great role playing titles released for PC lately and Victor Vran is definitely shaping up to be one of them.