The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing III Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

The Incredible Adventures Of

Van Helsing III Preview



If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you surely know that the hack ‘n’ slash genre is undergoing a resurgence of sorts, with a fair number of titles fighting for our attention and money. There’s the Grim Dawn, for example, which is getting better and better with each newly released build. Torchlight 2 is also a mainstay on just about anybody’s hard drive at this point, and Blizzard even managed to turn Diablo 3 into a rather decent game by now. I’ve been spending time in a different game lately, however. One whose name carries less weight, but is also filled to the brim with content and offers interesting characters, a decent story and nice graphics, all as a bonus to the pretty damn solid gameplay basis – The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II. This game was released last year as a continuation of its predecessor, obviously, and the second part of the trilogy that’s been planned out by NeoCore, the developer, a while ago. To my surprise, one morning I awoke with an activation code for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III, and it’s only natural that I was immediately interested in what the series’ finale has to offer, even at this relatively early stage of development.


The dialogue is very amusing at times.

This title takes us back into Borgovia, as a direct continuation of the events depicted in the first two games. After defeating his nemesis and fighting his way through a civil war, Van Helsing has to try and balance the outcome of his previous adventures, so that the “city of weird science”, as Borgovia is called in the game, doesn’t fall into ruin for good. While somewhat complicated and coming with a bundle of loose threads to pull on, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III doesn’t plunge you into the fray without quickly paraphrasing what’s happened before. It’s a nice touch that helps in keeping even those who haven’t played the game’s predecessors up to speed with the current events. Make no mistake, the story is quite important here, unlike what we’ve seen from most other hack ‘n’ slash games, as are the characters. The most important ones are, obviously, Lady Katarina and Van Helsing himself. The interesting, witty and often quite a humorous dialogue between the pair has been untouched and serves as one of the most interesting features you definitely wouldn’t expect from a game such as this. Many supporting characters make a comeback too, from what I’ve seen, but they remain just as inconsequential as they were before. Most conversations are, thankfully, engaging enough to keep you clicking, and the voice-over works fine for the most part.

The gameplay remains mostly unchanged from the previous iterations of this series, for better or worse. There are two things bugging me here that I feel inclined to mention, however. Firstly, the camera seems strangely elevated to me and makes the scenes look somewhat off in some respects. A classical isometric viewpoint would do the job better, quite simply, but I believe that depends on personal preference anyway. The second and arguably more important gripe I have is the lack of hit feedback during combat. This problem I’ve noticed in both previous games too, as I often feel as if I’m swiping the sword through the air while I’m actually slaying three werewolves at the same time. These potential issues aside, there’s plenty to like in this game.


While the game does look quite nice, the camera is killing me.

True to its roots, the game has you running around slaying all kinds of fascinating monsters and collecting loot along the way (or vice-versa, depending on how you look at it), and there’s not much else to say except that the whole experience remains consistently fun, just as the first and second game were. There are two important differences, however, one more exciting than the other. The less exciting, but no less important is the game’s implementation of health potions. Or the seeming lack of them, that is. Instead of making you buy a bunch of potions and use them up at your convenience, you’ll now have an unlimited vial that works on a cooldown. This makes the gameplay more frantic since one doesn’t have to worry about the number of remaining potions, but the cooldown also makes you strategize and retreat more often, which can be an issue with the squishier classes. As for the classes themselves, up until this point, I’ve only had access to two of the six planned for release: the Protector and the Elementalist. Just as their names would suggest, their roles vary wildly between the two classes. The Protector is a tank, really – wielding a sword and a shield, this class works akin to a Paladin of sorts but is also quite capable when it comes to dealing significant amounts of damage. The Elementalist, on the other hand, attempts to destroy his enemies with elemental spells at range, but is quite squishy. I’d imagine this class will work wonderfully when backed by a powerful tank such as the Protector. Otherwise, you’ll have to retreat way too often; especially in singleplayer.

The rest of the classes that are to be ready at release are wonderfully colourful. If you want to stay true to Van Helsing’s roots, there’s the Bounty Hunter. The Umbralist is a magically enhanced assassin. A highly damaging unit that’s presumably going to be very squishy, thus requiring careful combat placement and crowd control. The Phlogistoneer works quite the opposite, as it’s going to be a heavy unit capable of performing just about any task one might see fit for it: it’s a bloody power armour. Finally, the Constructor will attempt to bring the enemies to their knees through the usage of engineering tech, as shown in Team Fortress 2 (not really).

And that’s about everything I can say about the game right now, considering the amount of content I’ve had access to. I have no doubt that the developers will deliver a worthy successor and a grand finale to the series, yet I hope they improve upon the issues I’ve mentioned earlier. Otherwise, we’re looking at a game with a rather intriguing bestiary, lots of loot, engrossing gameplay and interesting characters. All of that packed in an unassuming hack ‘n’ slash. What’s not to like?