The world of Dracula has always been open to some interesting interpretations of its main characters be it Mina Harker, Van Helsing and even the eponymous title character within a wide range of mediums, especially video games with a countless numbers of games being produced featuring the main characters of the novel. So how exactly can a game developer make something different to stand out to gamers? Well how about taking Van Helsing and giving him a son who is also a monster hunter and partner him up with a ghost called Katrina and send him off to the fictional land of Borgovia to try and kill the monsters who are causing widespread terror. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a game with its tongue firmly in cheek that promises fun and adventure with the same gameplay style of the classic Baldur’s Gate series.
Having made two previous games based upon the legend of King Arthur, the first of which was well received whilst the second had a more mixed reception and both of which created a unique blend between tactical war-games and RPG, Neocore Games has decided to step away from their former outings and into the realm of Action RPGs. From playing the game so far, it’s clear they’ve made the right choice with a hilarious adventure that features great writing, memorable characters and interesting settings that together make a world that feels truly alive and will appeal to gamers who love a game that they can sink their teeth into and play time and time again. It’s clear that Neocore have gone out of their way to try and replicate the best aspects of classics of the genre like Baldur’s Gate, be it in the form of the Isometric style graphics or in the combat style in which numbers of enemies swarm you as you begin to shoot/cut them down with one of your various weapons which come in a large range of options.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is clearly made with a lot of love of the genre and as such it manages to create a very solid character creation element in which you can pump points into the various aspects of their combat style. So if you’re a magic enthusiast, go ahead and focus on magic, or if you want to have a ranged character so you can shoot enemies from afar — go ahead! It’s nice to see a game where combat is truly customizable and based upon players’ choices to specialize in, rather than being railroaded to follow one path of expertise over others. The general atmosphere of the game is exactly suited to the nature of the world within the game and the monsters that threaten Borgovia serve as a highlight, being extremely well designed and fitting the setting perfectly with the care to detail that went into making them obvious from the get-go.
The writing within the game is great and the banter between Van Helsing and Katriana is genuinely hilarious in places and you’ll instantly feel attached to her as a companion, which is exactly what you want from a game like this in which character is so important to the overall enjoyment. It’s also worth noting that the game is almost devilishly difficult even on normal difficulty and that it’s clear that it’s being made for the most hardcore of RPG gamers with an option to go hardcore included, which make it so that once your character dies, you’ll have to start the entire game again. There’s little doubt that that option alone will interest fans of the genre and it seems that Neocore knows its core demographic and is actually making the game with their interests in mind (take note, EA!). In fact, this can be seen within the character design in which players were invited to vote for a new design for Van Helsing after complaints about his previous costume made him somewhat underwhelming as a hero. It doesn’t take a lot to satisfy your fan base and so to have Neocore actually care about what fans think is a refreshing sight in today’s industry and makes the game all the more worth checking out.
It’s clear that Neocore has a lot of love for both the game that it’s making as well as its fans, and when that happens, you’re often guaranteed a recipe for success. Witty, engaging and exciting, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is well worth keeping an eye on if you’re an avid RPG fan as a throwback to the RP’s of years past and all that made them such classics.