Victor Vran, originally released in 2015, left little impression on nearly anybody. Labelled a Diablo clone and thrown into the cultural waste paper basket, a small cult following eventually formed around the Van Helsing-esque ARPG. Haemimont Games have decided Victor Vran deserves another chance at mainstream success, collecting the base game and it’s DLC’s into Victor Vran: Overkill Edition.
Borderlands would be a more apt comparison to make over Diablo. Sure, the isometric camera and gothic underpinnings are 100% Blizzard’s demonic wheelhouse. However, take that away and you have the raw beating heart of an action heavy, loot driven, murder-fest.
Victor Vran is a simple beast. Plow through undead hordes, get loot. Rinse, repeat. Further fleshing it out is a roster of a dozen or so weapon types, each with two special abilities, as well as dozens of enemy types. Trading depth for variety, it’s this balance that keeps Victor Vran compelling after dozens of hours.
Victor’s arsenal eventually allows him to weild two weapons, two magic abilities and socketable ‘Destiny’ cards. It’s a flexible enough system that doesn’t get bogged down in number crunching. There’s plenty of room to create interesting builds, and playing the bundled DLC unlocks more options to play with.
Thankfully Haemimont are imaginative enough to make interesting encounters with the tools they created. New enemy types are thrown at the player thick and fast, with their own quirks to figure out. Skeletons must be killed twice unless you can score an ‘Overkill’ on them. Elemental types may split into something more dangerous after death. Weaknesses and strengths must be measured to prioritize targets.
Challenges give more short-term goals to work towards. Each area has five bonus objectives to work towards. These rarely change from “kill X amount of Y”, or “Kill X with Y”. These tasks often bear desirable rewards, and required me to switch up my arsenal every once in a while.
Victor Vran’s base campaign is pure B tier fluff. Victor is a monster hunter (voiced none other than Geralt of Rivia’s voice actor, Doug Cockle), who must save the kingdom of Zagoravia from a demonic menace. The voice work is patchy, but the ambient music and effects lend a campy menace to the proceedings.
The story won’t surprise anyone, but instead acts as decent set dressing for the slaughter. I stomped through a small number of dank swamps, foggy graveyards, and abandoned towns, switching up locations too fast for repetition to set in across its 12 hour campaign.
The DLC ups that playtime, with “Motorhead Through the Ages” offering a slice of pure metal flavoured cheese. Lloyd Kaufman, Troma cinema legend, narrates a tale of nazis and hard rock. With a soundtrack entirely comprised of Motorhead’s greatest hits, its Brutal Legend in miniature. Coming in at a decent size (3 large areas + 15-ish smaller sections), the first of the two bonus offerings also include new weapon types and powers to play around with. Best played obnoxiously loud.
Fractured Worlds is a less worthy inclusion, turning Victor Vran into a procedurally generated dungeon runner. Compared to the strong level design in the base game + Motorhead expansion, Fractured Worlds is best left as a curiosity. There’s no reason to stick with it apart from grinding loot.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition has a wealth of content. The various weapons, enemy types, and challenges kept me engaged for the hours I sunk into it. While the production values aren’t highest, Haemimont have created a hyperactive gothic hellscape to explore. I’m glad Victor Vran was given a second chance in the spotlight, or I may have missed this diamond in the rough.