Victor Vran is an action role-playing game developed by a Bulgarian studio, named Haemimont Games, the guys behind the most recent Tropico titles. Releasing in July 2015 on PC, and later getting a release on PS4 and XboxOne in June 2017, Victor Vran took a lot of people by surprise.
The game is set in Gothic Fantasy times, where both science and magic both have a place in the world. However let me just point out that whilst the story is there for you to experience if you so choose, you will get exactly the same experience out of this title if you choose to skip it entirely. It’s not a complex story so those that want to play along with it will be able to do so with ease but it is purely there as a backdrop to the game play.
Even though the game initially released just over two years ago now, it is still not showing any signs of feeling left behind in the visual department. It’s a really nice looking game, with the PC version having a plethora of options to customise the graphical prowess for your rig. Most of the game takes place in dark, erie and atmospheric zones, but there are a few areas which show off some brighter environments too. If you want to compare it to another game in the genre, the visuals are on par with what Diablo 3 is currently offering - so a really well put together graphical spectacle.
The team behind Victor Vran pulled off a bit of a coup by getting the voice actor of Geralt of Rivia, from the Witcher series of games, Doug Cockle, to play the main character. As much of a big deal this is, and it this is entirely an issue on my end, but I couldn’t separate the two characters because of this. I hate to pigeonhole people into roles, but Geralt is such an iconic voice that I couldn’t help myself thinking I was playing a different Witcher game. One other issue I had with Victor Vran’s sound design, is that sometimes sound effects and music will cut out for a split second, it didn’t seem to happen at any particular time, just every now and again. It’s not a game breaking issue, but it did remove the immersion factor from the gameplay when all of a sudden you just have radio silence. Sound effects, when they worked, were fine though.
Action RPGs are one of my favorite genres of games, whether it be Diablo 3, Torchlight, Van Helsing, the genre is instantly a hit with me. Victor Vran can easily be considered as one of the best ARPGs of all time. Whilst it does carry over plenty of the traits that an ARPG should hold, such as simple controls, loot, and hoards of enemies for you to tackle -- it also adds in plenty of original ideas too. One of those ideas is Destiny cards. These cards act as a perk for your character; and each card has a destiny point cost to them. To start with, you can only equip one or two depending on their cost, but as you level up you will be able to equip more, allowing you to mix and max these cards how you choose. A couple examples of the perks these cards offer are, gaining a % of armour whilst dodging, +% damage against enemies below a certain HP and exploding enemies on overkill, along with plenty more for you to see for yourself. As you can see, none of them are your bog standard + stat kind of perks that other games tend to follow, each have their own unique spin on things that will really allow you to create an original character.
Now the meat of the game play comes from exploring dungeons, and levels whilst destroying hordes of enemies. Controls are simple. Attack with mouse, but also a couple of abilities are bound to keyboard. It uses the same control scheme as other ARPGS, or maybe a more common comparison would be the controls used in League of Legends. Be warned, I did get a really achey hand playing, the amount of clicking you do in these games is absurd. Maybe I am getting old as it’s not the first time I have had to take a break from playing a game as it was physically tiring for me.
The story mode is completely linear, but the player is allowed to explore other zones if they so choose, but plot wise, nothing will change. Most zones require you to kill a certain enemy at the end of the level, or maybe just make your way through a zone, to another one. Nothing over complex, so this style of game play is really good to just zone out to, or have on in the background whilst you watch TV or YouTube.
The single player story mode took me just under ten hours to finish. Thankfully the replay value on Victor Vran is through the roof. Each level has a handful of optional goals to complete, these can be anything from killing X amount of enemies in a certain time, or killing enemies with a specific weapon. Not only do they offer in game rewards or experience, but give each zone plenty of replay ability and longevity. Some people may think that this way of doing level design is an easy way out to get a few more hours out of the player, but I found the objectives to be unique and interesting enough that this wasn’t an issue for me.
Difficulty wise, Victor Vran wasn’t overly complicated if you play on the lower difficulty levels so this would be a good title for anyone looking to get into the ARPG genre but have always been put off by the complexity of others games of this style. Of course, another way in which you’ll get more time out of this game is by ramping up the difficulty level.
Victor Vran also offers a co-op mode as well. Essentially the same game, but play with a buddy. I wish I had someone else to play this game with as I know full well how fun that experience would have been from the likes of Diablo or Torchlight. If you know a buddy who loves ARPGs too, really encourage them to pick this title up too!
With Victor Vran pricing so low at just £15,99, it is the perfect title for anyone who is not wanting to spend much, for hours and hours of content. You can even buy multiple copies for a small discount if you do have friends who you want to play with too. I only wish I played it when it first released, as Victor Vran is easily one of the best ARPG games out there to date. Maybe even better than Diablo 3.