Victor Vran is well goth. This applies to both the game and the character it takes its name from. Victor travels through crypts half collapsed by invasive tree roots, gardens lit by softly glowing lamps, and abandoned town streets accented by heaps of pumpkins. Victor is always well dressed — you can choose his outfit from a selection that accent his powers in different ways, including a gentleman in a top hat, suit and fur shrug look — and never loses his hat. Victor can harness the powers of demons. He sometimes talks out loud about the nature of evil, and how easy it would be to become one of the monsters himself.
Victor’s adventures roll out in the form of a top down action RPG, with some nicely detailed environments and various challenges to meet in all of them. Victor gloomily attacks the armies of spiders, skeletons, and assorted hell beasts in his path with a variety of over the top weapons (shotguns, scythes, giant hammers) with different abilities; you can equip two at once and change between them on the fly, so it’s possible to pull off some cool combos. The screen is a mess of bombastic explosions of lighting and fire, and there are not-quite-current-anymore references to things like Gangnam Style hidden in the game. In the main story Victor, on his quest to save a corrupted kingdom, is accompanied at times by a disembodied entity calling itself only The Voice, who, despite being something of a memelord, is still charismatic, and a jaunty and effective counterpoint to the extremely serious Victor.
The game originally came out on PC in 2015, but it’s just arrived on consoles in the form of the Overkill Edition, which includes the Fractured Worlds and Motörhead: Through the Ages expansions (the latter being where Victor Vran segues from being well goth into being well metal, and is an enjoyable tie-in provided you’re okay with Motörhead songs playing on a continuous loop). Taking everything together, there’s a lot of game to this game, especially adding in the challenges, weapon systems, gear systems, and different attacks to be equipped and unequipped – though the inventory system is weirdly unintuitive and difficult to wrangle.
It does, however, become repetitive after a while, the rhythmic ka-POW of the shotgun beating against your head as you shoot one skeleton, after another, after another. This sense of deja vu is only exacerbated by a raft of enemies that return from the dead with full health, requiring the ole’ double tap. The huge waves of monsters skittering towards you cease to be impressive, and instead cause more of a ‘Bloody hell, this is going to take ages’ reaction. Despite aiming high for 60 FPS, the game can struggle when it’s got to deal with a lot of enemies on screen which is, sadly, a lot of the time.
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The high-energy fun of Victor Vran means it can truly be described as a romp, if one that occasionally stutters as you go. While the slightly repetitive nature grates after a while, you can easily see a few hours dissolving into Victor Vran before your very eyes. Like a vampire in sunlight.
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Wired Productions
Available on: PlayStation 4 [reviewed on], Xbox One, PC
Release date: June 6 2017