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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Neocore Games
Developed By: Neocore Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Players: 1 (4 Co-op)
Rated: T for Teen
Release Date: May 22, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Steam: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

July 19, 2013 – The original demon slayer; sorry Dante and the Belmonts, makes his triumphant return in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. No, Hugh Jackman isn’t reprising his role. This epic tale is about Abraham Van Helsing’s son taking up the mantel and the sole duty to vanquish all evil; including the likes of Dracula. Wielding a broadsword and a set of pistols Van Helsing sets out on his latest epic journey, only this time the outing will last longer than 132 minutes.

The epic tale of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing begins with a distress call being received from Borgova, which is the home of the late Dracula. With Abraham Van Helsing no longer interested fighting the good fight, his son races off with his unique and very capable companion Katarina in order to get to the bottom of the message received. Katarina is referred to as “unique and very capable” due to the fact that she was of a Borgovian noblewoman and now is a vengeful spirit. She has the ability to shift into various monster-like apparitions in order to aid you in combat.

I would like to put this out there for anyone interested in this title. There is no support for a gamepad controller within this game. If you haven’t played any games utilizing the keyboard mouse control scheme, you will definitely have a steep learning curve ahead of yourself. However, for fans of games like Diablo or StarCraft will feel right at home with the control scheme cooked up for this title. Like many RPGs, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will place before you many goals that must be completed before you can ultimately find out the reasoning behind the message you received. While they are all equally important, the most important two before you is getting better equipment and leveling up quickly. The early moments of the game are pretty forgiving in allowing you to get familiar with the controls and solid footing in the combat. However, once the journey truly begins, you soon see that the enemies can be quite unforgiving.

With every level up, you will receive skill and attributes points to enhance your player. It’s pretty self-explanatory; bit the skill points would be used to learned new attacks, passive abilities and modifiers. On the flipside, the attribute points will be used to increase young Van Helsing’s states – body, magic, dexterity and luck – making him a formidable foe on the battlefield. Seasoned RPG gamers will welcome the depth in the upgrade system, allowing you freedom to customize your character to a play-style – melee and ranged – that suits you.

These play-styles can switched between at any point in the game simply by pressing the R key. While these are the only two play-styles given to you in the game, I like to think there is a third style; which is a hybrid of the two. No one player plays straight melee or range as many battles will call for you to switch between the two stiles; sometimes multiple times. And because of this, playing points within both skill trees and utilizing modifiers are essential to your survival. The modifiers empower your strikes to do more damage within the confines of your attack and are powered by the rage meter, which is filled with every enemy killed. Each attack can be equipped with up to three modifiers, allowing for an attack that would normally take out one enemy to take out several. You can also string together an infinite amount of combos utilizing your melee and ranged attacks; alongside the modifiers, that can level the battlefield with little effort.

As you vanquish hundreds upon hundreds of enemies, people in the surrounding areas begin learning of your adventures. But once you take out an elite or legendary enemy, you begin to gain fame. Fame, like the other skill trees in the game, provides enhancements to our young hunter like extra equipment slots or even permanent increase to stats. Don’t think you can simply hunt these foes down in order to get the permanent boosts. I learned the hard way and wasted countless hours looking something that wasn’t there. I ran into one of these foes roughly around every 10 levels.

Katarina, like Van Helsing, can level up over the course of the game. There are several different scenarios which she can be used on the battlefield. She can be the aggressor and you’re there for support, you’re the attacker and she is there for support, you both are the aggressor and leave nothing on the table, etc. If you relegate Katarina to a supportive role, you can greatly benefit from several of her abilities, many of which offer stat increases and debuff attacks for the hordes of enemies. If you decide to place her on the front lines, you can equip her with armor and weapons, making her attacks more devastating. Katarina is basically your personal assistant. You can have her carry worthless items you don’t want to have on your person, you can send her into town to sell of said items, you can even designate her to wrangle up enemies; allowing you to pick them off one at a time.

I have to say the visual are really impressive. Just to get an idea of the quality of a PC I played the game on, I also decide to check the game out on a PC barely up to par. If your computer is capable of running the game without an issue, you can expect a pristine presentation. There are a few hiccups here and there, but I think that may have been my counter and not the game. Rarely did I see any framerate issues, especially when running the game on high settings. The music is very fitting of the world you are within and the banter between Van Helsing and Katarina will have you cracking up.

If you are looking for something a bit more intense and hectic, look no further that the game’s four player online co-op feature. That’s right folks; you can venture through the well thought out story of the game with your best buds or complete strangers; whichever floats your boat. While you will definitely have loads of fun, just keep in mind that loot isn’t shared, but what is is your time. When a friend joins you in online mayhem, at any point they can remove their player from your game and go venture off by themselves with whatever loot was acquired from your time together.

I’ll admit, I have to spend a good amount of time honing the controls as it’s been a minute since I played a game with traditional controls. Once everything was in order, it was a crazy, brutally hard, but rewarding journey from beginning to end. You are always on guard and have to be prepared for the unexpected. You will die a lot in this game, but the payoff for your dedication is very rewarding. The inclusion of online multiplayer is a plus as the action is still intense, but you know there is someone there to make sure you live to see another fight. There is a bit of lag within the online experience, but nothing that will break the experience. For a mere $15, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a gem worthy to owning.


Review Copy Provided By Publisher

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