‘The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition’ Review

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is not a new game, it’s been around since 2013 on the PC and Xbox One, even garnering a couple sequels and added DLC over the years. Now The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition is available on PlayStation 4, a collected edition of the best previously released content. A Diablo clone, players use an overhead camera angle to control their choice of three different classes. Explore, loot, and kill all kinds of monsters in this well made dungeon crawler.

Players take the role of the son of Abraham Van Helsing, the famous vampire hunter we all know from Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Set in a dark fictional 19th century European country, Borgovia, it is a steampunk fan’s dream. All manner of monster exists in the gothic settings, almost like a band of mad scientists has been running the place for a while now. On a quest to find out what is causing all this evil to spread throughout the land, players explore various settings from old towns, to decrepit cities, cursed swamps and other typical Scooby-Doo-like settings. Spooky best describes the setting in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition.

Players start by creating a character, choosing from three classes, The Hunter, using sword melee or ranged firearm with a splash of magic; Thaumaturge, basically the mage/wizard; or finally the Arcane Mechanic, who uses summoned robot helpers, bombs, and interesting steampunk weapons. There really isn’t much else to customize, stats can be raised as you level, like Body, Dexterity, Willpower and Luck though. Each affect different class stats. From there, our adventure begins the same, no matter your class choice, with meeting your newly minted Van Helsing, Jr. and his ghost companion, Katarina. She is there to help you in whatever way you choose, her behavior can be configured to be a tank up front in combat or hang back and just provide boosts to your character, depending on your preferred playstyle.

One of the best aspects of the game is the banter between Katarina and Van Helsing. Some great writing went into the levity this snarky ghost brings to the game. What is otherwise a rather generic story, the comical side of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition is what stood out. Combat is not near as intricate as Diablo, generally consisting of finding a couple of special abilities that you enjoy and then holding down the assigned buttons for them. Enemy AI isn’t that smart, so it can get a little tedious to be honest. The ability tree could of been designed a little better for the console. It’s overly complicated with lots of useless abilities in all three classes. Given you only have so many buttons on a controller, a player’s best bet is to find a few that work well together and rotate them. I recommend you don’t throw points into powers you won’t use or don’t have room for.

Even with its flaws, I had a great time playing The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition. I loved leveling up, finding new equipment, and tinkering with my characters build until I found a configuration I enjoyed and that worked well. I enjoy those sort of customization. The music and sound are very well done and match the ambience. The voice acting is a tad cheesy, but given the levity of the game, it works. The graphics look great and support for PS4 Pro is there if you own one. Spell effects are awesome, and there is a variety of different monsters types to fight. The quests are fun, and not complicated. And there are some great systems in place for enchanting, gemming, and fiddling with gear to maximize stats. Just like Diablo, I can spend hours just exploring, killing things, and checking every chest or hidey hole for loot.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition main story isn’t extremely long, about 15-20 hours, but it is great fun for those who enjoyed Diablo, just don’t hold it to the same standards. Neocore Games is a small developer from Budapest, they are not Blizzard, but they still made a great game for the PC back in 2013 with the first Van Helsing. Then they did a fine job in converting, tweaking, and porting the best aspects of the original and its expansions for the PS4 in this collected edition. For the MSRP of $19.99 on the Playstation Store, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition is well worth it. I highly recommend it for fans of dungeon crawlers.  

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition is available now on PlayStation 4. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose.

out of 5

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