A copy of Victor Vran: Overkill Edition was made available for the purposes of this review by a PR on behalf of the publisher. This has not influenced the review in any shape or form. I just thought you should know.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition hits the Nintendo Switch at a strange time. The consoles first true Action RPG, Victor Vran has the unenviable task of releasing slightly over a week from the announcement of Diablo III; the genre’s equivalent of a new Super Mario platformer. Does the demon slayer do enough to earn a seat at the table, or is it worth waiting for the biggest of guns to finally make its appearance?
Full disclosure, I have never been one for ARPG titles. When Diablo III hit Xbox 360, my friends and I began a co-op save, however, like our attempt at Dungeons and Dragons, it lasted one evening, and was never spoken of again. My only real experience with the genre comes about 8 years ago, when a title called Torchlight was released on the Xbox Live Arcade. In my (brief) stint as a university student, I’d managed to knock my body clock into an atrocious routine, so when I say “I played it through to the next morning”, that really only accounts for about 6-7 hours. I will say that those hours were consecutive. So, pretty impressive for a title I had no real interest in?
I want you to keep all this in mind moving forward, however. As a near complete novice to the genre, I don’t know the ins and the outs of what makes an ARPG great. The reality is, I’m probably vastly underqualified to review the game. But we’ll give it a go.
Plenty to sink your teeth into
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is the definitive edition to the title released in 2015, and packs a heavy punch, given it includes the DLC released later down the line for the game. In the main story, you’ll play as Victor Vran, a Demon Slayer called to Zagoravia; a city ravaged by demons and monsters. The hunter is tasked with liberating the city, while uncovering how the city fell into the state it’s in.
The secondary story is as lengthy as the first, and places you in the shoes of Lemmy, the late-Motörhead front man, as he traverses areas and levels inspired by the music of the band, to the music of the band. For the ARPG fan, there’s more than plenty to dig your claws into.
So, for your £35(ish), you’re getting quite a lengthy experience. The only issue you’d face would be if the game itself wasn’t particularly fun. Fortunately, the fine people at HaemimontGames built an incredibly enjoyable combat system for Victor and Lemmy to utilise. I played through the main game using a variation of the Hammer, and can assure you every swing lands with a satisfying thwonk. Your enemies tend to be somewhat strategic in their attacks, so learning their patterns is required to get deep into the game. That also means, if you take damage, thats your own fault. Mainly because you were mashing X the entire time, you moron.
Moves like…Dracula, or something similarly funny
Victor jumps, rolls, and runs with a nice weight behind him. Movement is crisp, and certainly helps make you believe you could take on the impending horde of skeletons without use of too many special attacks, despite how cool they are, and how (again) satisfying they are to unleash.
Adding to the this is the sound design. In particular, the screeches and screams of the undead creatures you’re tasked with slaying. As the game progresses, you’ll face varying ghosts and ghouls, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how creepy these enemies sounded in battle.
Things aren’t all rosy for Victor, however. While the foundations he fights on are incredibly solid, the story he traverses through is less so. A grimy, demon-infested city, clearly steeped in history, should be compelling to explore, but I rarely found myself in that situation. I considered perhaps this is due to level design, but the areas Victor finds himself in are gorgeously gothic, and a delight to inhabit. Perhaps, then, the issue lies in the Hammer Horror-style portrayal of the characters inhabiting the world. Victor grunts every line with a gruff growl, that begins somewhat intimidating, but becomes more grating as the game goes on.
Similarly, Voice, a celestial being that follows Victor through his journey, begins as a fairly fun companion to Victor, but becomes somewhat annoying the moment you hear him utter an “arrow to the knee” joke. Voice feels like he should be similar to Mark Hamill’s portrayal of The Joker, particularly in Arkham Knight, but ends up closer to Jared Leto’s version of the same character.
It’s tied together in a story that, unfortunately, is as compelling as the lore it occupies. A twist is set up and executed towards the end, but I never felt like it paid off the way the developers wanted it to.
This is where my novice-ARPG mindset seeps in. From what I gather, the enjoyment from these titles isn’t in the narrative and the character development, but in the combat, and the joy of diving in again and again to grab as much loot as you can. In that sense, I feel fans of the genre are going to wolf Victor Vran down, and come back for seconds. For those, like me, who aren’t so familiar with the style, I would say that Victor Vran is worth a look, on the basis you’re not paying much more than half the price. £20 or so would be the sweet spot to take the plunge. Otherwise, you may be better off waiting for Blizzards effort of drop.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for £35.99, and is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Should you prefer your games in a more physical state, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is available on a cartridge. If you follow this link, and order the physical copy through Amazon, you’ll actually be helping yetanothergamingblog. Every time one of those links is used, Amazon chuck me a couple of quid, which is used to help fund future content. It doesn’t increase of affect your purchase at all, just does me a favour.