Demon Hunters, Gotta Love’em.
If there is one group of nasties that constantly needs killing in video games, it is demons. It never seems like the pits of hell run out of these nefarious fiends, and yet, there is always someone there to take them out. Demon hunters are becoming a gaming staple, and I’m not just talking about within Blizzard titles. Wherever there are infernal forces, there are demon hunters there to slash, blast, or eviscerate every last one of them. As I found out earlier last week, there is another demon hunter who not only slays demons but looks good doing it. His name is Victor Vran.
The Bulgarian indie development studio Haemimont Games has known that demons, the undead, and all other things that go “bump in the night” needed to be put in their place. That is why, in 2015, Victor Vran was released onto the Steam platform for the world to see. Since then, the famed demon hunter has gone through a few modifications, and now, he has broken onto the console scene in his new title, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition. The developers graced me with a copy of the game on the Nintendo Switch, and for about one week I was able to blow through the content of the game and experience most of what it has to offer in the palms of my hands.
How does Victor Vran: Overkill Edition hold up against the action-RPG competition? Let’s find out!
A Bad Day in Zagoravia
Our adventure begins in the blighted kingdom of Zagoravia. This European gothic-style “burg” is under attack by both demonic and undead forces, and the remaining denizens of the city have holed themselves up safely within the central castle. Demon hunters from the world over have heard the plight of Zagoravians, but despite their presence there, the hordes of evil still prevail. It is at that point, when things seem most bleak, that a new demon hunter steps onto the scene. This is Victor Vran, and he is not only a hunter of demons but is also one who has demonic power himself.
Victor is initially searching for a lost comrade who has helped him in the past. After the two find each other, Victor must make a difficult decision of whether or not to leave Zagoravia or stay and protect what remaining people are left there. The queen herself has refused to leave her kingdom, so Victor, accompanied by a mysterious voice that echoes in his head, must slay the hordes of darkness that threaten this once peaceful place.
Hack n’ Blast Action
Victor Vran is first and foremost an action-RPG. Much like other titles in the genre, this game revolves around taking missions, slaying throngs of enemies, and getting stronger in the process. Unlike other action-RPGs, Victor is really the only playable character in the game. However, do not think that this limits the gameplay. Victor can practically change his “class” by simply swapping weapons. Each weapon type that Victor uses has its own set of attacks. There are swords, hammers, scythes, and more. My personal favorite weapon is the shotgun, which is used to shoot a powerful straight bullet through one opponent or use a scattershot that decimates groups of foes. If the enemies require a more “direct” approach, I can simply swap out Victor’s weapon with a press of a button and then go medieval on them.
Along with having the best arsenal, our demon hunter also has a few tricks up his sleeves. Victor can actually jump in this game, and if he must, he can scale over objects in his way. Alternating between using a roll-dodge and well-placed wall-jump will allow for success when our demon hunter is overwhelmed by foes; which is quite often. His demon powers allow for him to deal out quite a bit of damage over wide ranges depending on what talismans he equips. As far as his equipment goes, Victor can change out various cards and outfits that provide passive boosts to his various stats. Might I recommend his Cavalier outfit; it not only boosts his use of a sword but also makes him look rather dashing.
The Overkill Edition of this game has some extra features that are worth noting. There two extra gameplay experiences that Victor can explore, including the Fractured Worlds, a dimension formed by the fragmented remains of other realms. This edition also features Motorhead: Through the Ages, a perpetual hellscape that lends a great deal of its design from three members of Motorhead itself. There is also an online multiplayer feature, where Victor can join up with other demon hunters to aid him in slaying the savage hordes.
A Rip-Off, or the Genuine Article
I really don’t like it when Let’s Players and Bloggers run their mouths about aspects in games that they really do not understand. Victor Vran has been accused of being a Diablo “rip-off,” but I think that accusation is grossly misplaced. There is a huge difference between drawing inspiration from a title and just blatantly copying it. Victor Vran is a fine example of the former.
Make no mistake, this game is truly a stand-alone title that does quite well to distinguish itself from other ARPGs. Victor Vran is quite basic compared to other similar titles, which is not a bad thing. There are no complicated talent trees or stat stacking. Instead of a great deal of backtracking to get to an area, Victor can simply select an area that he wants to visit from “the hub.” All of the vendors are found in one area. So, Victor does not need to search for the necessary upgrades. Really, Victor Vran is a pure and unadulterated ARPG that matches fun with bloodshed.
Chinks in the Armor
Victor Vran truly is a solid title. However, there are also some aspects of the game that feel like they are lacking. The level design for this game is quite basic. Most of the levels share characteristics with each other so that no individual level seems to stand out. The Motorhead and Fractured Worlds expansions add new designs, but even those levels feel like they blend in with each other. Along with this, the enemy models are generally the same. Throughout the game, you will fight “champions” that have special names but look like other basic mobs that you have fought in the past. There is not as much variety in the gaming experience as I would like to see in an action-RPG.
The Final Verdict
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a great action-RPG title that can easily stand next to the best in the genre. The non-stop, demon killing action will keep players engaged throughout the entirety of the game, and the extra features in this special edition will keep them coming back for more. I recommend this game for both fans and newcomers of the ARPG genre alike.
So, to finally put a nail in this coffin, I give this game 8.5 slain demons out of 10. Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is available on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and Steam. Remember, when you are playing the game and all else fails, switch to the shotgun!