Action RPGs on the PC are not a genre that’s lacking representation. Sacred, Diablo, Torchlight, and the numerous other entries make this a crowded space. Victor Vran has a lot of competition and certain expectations to live up to. Fortunately, it has a few interesting elements that make it worth your while.
What Is It?
The city of Zagoravia has a demon problem. It seems like all of the demons in existence have taken residence in the city. This has drawn the land’s demon hunters to the city in the hopes of not only slaying those demons, but making a tidy profit in doing so. Victor’s friend Adrian was one such hunter, and Victor has followed him to the city to find out what has happened.
When Victor arrives in the city, he is greeted by a rather sarcastic and mildly irritating voice inside his head. Clearly things aren’t quite right over on Zagoravia. You’ll want to find Adrian, help the Queen, and find out why Mr. Voice has chosen to hang around Victor.
The story isn’t terribly deep, but it is effective enough to keep you wanting to move forward. What helps even more, though, is the fact that the game’s mechanics are solid and easy to learn.
Why Should I Care?
One of Victor Vran‘s distinguishing features is the weapons system. Each weapon brings with it three distinct attacks. Rather than working on a skill tree, the skills are tied to the equipped weapon. This means that you can change your style of play very regularly without having to do a lot of re-gearing. It encourages you to try new weapons and see what you might like best. There are a number of different weapon types including the traditional swords, hammers and scythes, but also more unconventional weapons like shotguns and lightning guns.
Another interesting mechanic is how Victor Vran handles difficulty. Occasionally Hexes will drop which will allow you to add enhancements to enemies. These Hexes make the game harder by speeding up monsters, spawning more Champions, or making you take more damage. You can have up to five of these active at any one time, and naturally, you’ll gain XP faster if you choose to use them. It’s a nice option to let players vary the difficulty. Personally, I didn’t find the game too difficult to play on the default setting, so enabling a couple of these did make the game more interesting.
Along with the Hexes and Weapon Skills, Victor Vran employs a Destiny Card system. These cards act as passive skills. You’ll earn them when you level up, or find them in chests or on monsters you slay. The cards have a variety of effects, including boosts to specific weapon types, life steal, extra health, and a bunch of others. It’s a passive system, much like any other Action RPG, just using a different form factor. It’s not entirely unique, but it is effective and fits within the setting.
Though Victor Vran doesn’t have any specific class system, you can change how the game plays by switching out your outfit. At the start of the game there are three outfits available, but you’ll unlock more as you progress. These outfits determine how your character will generate Overdrive, which is used to tap into Victor’s demon powers. The default Hunter outfit generates Overdrive while you attack, which the Cavalier builds Overdrive over time but does not generate any from attacking. As you unlock new outfits, you’ll see even more variations and it won’t be too long before you find an outfit that works for you. Plus, you’ll also look marvelous for the Queen’s ball once all those pesky demons are taken care of.
Playing an action RPG on the PC usually involves a lot of clicking and general mouse abuse. While that is certainly an option, I preferred to use an Xbox 360 controller to have direct control over Victor’s movement and attacks. The game’s UI is built with both methods in mind, though some aspects of it, like swapping out Destiny Cards, are a little clunky with a controller. To me, this type of game plays better with a controller. Yeah, I can already see the #PCMasterRace sharpening their pitchforks at this, but the developers gave us the option to play the game the way we want to. Is it so wrong to prefer direct control over indirect input?
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The mechanics are all there for an enjoyable action RPG, but if the combat isn’t any good then why bother? Victor Vran starts off easy enough. You’ll face off against a handful of enemies at a time and make short work of them. As you get further into the game the combat gets more and more intense. You’ll have to fight a ton of monsters at once. Swarms, Champions, Spawners, there’s a good deal of variety to the monsters, and you’ll often have to deal with multiple types at once. This keeps the combat fast and interesting. You’ll also have a nice steady stream of loot to sort through. Some of it will be junk, but you won’t go very long before you find an item you can make good use of.
I really enjoyed my time playing Victor Vran. It isn’t without a few rough edges, though. None of them are really sharp enough to make you want to not play it, but they are worth noting. The game’s sound effects are a little weak. There are a good variety of them, but even when you’re doing a good deal of damage to monsters, the sounds you hear lack punch. My one other problem with the game is the camera. You can rotate the camera around, but you can’t zoom in or out. It would have been very nice to have been able to do that.
Small quibbles aside, Victor Vran is worth your time. It might not have the Triple A production values of Diablo III, but it looks nice, sounds nice, and plays well. If you’re wanting a nice action RPG, give Victor Vran a look.