Posted: July 4
I started playing this game because I didn't really feel like playing Diablo 3, and all in all I'm pretty happy with my choice.
I was expecting the game to be a Diablo-clone in most ways, so having the big bad be a mad human scientist
instead of a demon-monster-creature
was a pretty nice surprise. Fighting robots(?) in a steampunk-ish world also felt a bit fresh compared to fighting the same old demons and mythological creatures (some of which do
appear in this game as well). The basic story is of course the good old "hack your way through a bunch of enemies to defeat the big bad trying to take over the world (or country?)", but there's nothing wrong with that.
If you have played Diablo or any other ARPG you will probably recognize the play style right away. You use your mouse and a couple of buttons to dash out various spells while keeping an eye on your health and mana. The addition of rage, which refills when you kill a creature and can be used to power up your spells, was a nice touch. It gives you an extra thing to do during fights, as well as more ways to personalize your skill tree, so an extra plus there.
The graphics were fine. Not great, not bad. Some creatures looked pretty good, some looked pretty bland. The same can be said for the environment. Personally I enjoyed the city zones more than the nature zones. The (few and short) cut scenes were pretty meh, especially compared to the Diablo cut scenes, but that's acceptable.
While playing the game I thought that the music fit the mood pretty well, but as soon as I stopped playing I forgot the soundtrack right away.
The voice acting in this game... At first I thought that the voice acting was just really, really bad, and almost lol'ed a couple of times during the first few hours of the game. But then I realized that that was what they were going for (probably?). Sort of cheesy, over-the-top voice acting, that when you got used to it fit the game really well, and was sometimes just really funny (in a good way!). Some of the comments from both Van Helsing and Lady Katarina were just hilarious, although by the end of the game Katarina was becoming quite annoying.
Overall I enjoyed this game, even my second playthrough, which was a little unexpected. I don't really want to call Van Helsing a Diablo-clone, since there were a couple of things that set it apart from Diablo, so let's just call it a decent option if you like ARPGs. I recommend this game, even at full price if you don't want to wait for a sale, however I do have a couple of warnings:
1. There are some bugs in the game, the most common being items stuck in walls or terrain that can't be looted. I also found a couple of chests that I couldn't open for whatever reason. The biggest bug I faced was a door leading to the next zone being closed, forcing me to start over with a new character. (Luckily this didn't happen with my hardcore heroic character.) There was a fix posted on the developer's forum to fix this, but that fix didn't work for me. On July 2nd 2015 they added the "Mantis Bug Tracker" to the game, which should help fix more bugs, but I wasn't able to test this out myself.
2. If you care about achievements you can get most
of the achievements by playing through the game twice. None of them are really that hard to get, as my first playthrough was on hardcore heroic difficulty (=perma-death), and I only died four times, so the game is fairly easy. However, there is one
achievement that is just plain stupid. It requires you to get 500,000 kills, which is a lot, seeing as you only get about 10,000-15,000 kills per playthrough. Luckily there is a way to make Lady Katarina afk farm kills for you, which she is doing for me as I am typing this, but just be aware that there is this one really annoying achievement if you (like me) want to clear the game 100%.
But all in all, a really good game.