The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing originally launched on PC and Xbox 360 in 2013 with an enhanced Xbox One port releasing in 2015. Now it’s PlayStation’s time to shine as it makes its debut on PS4. Is this 4-year-old game more than a simple Diablo clone and is it worth your time?
Now as the name would imply this game is based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and more importantly the character of Abraham Van Helsing. Players star as his son assisted by his ghost companion Katarina. You’re tasked with exploring Borgovia, which is plagued by not only monsters of the night, but autonomous robots and experiments gone wrong. Like the film version of Dracula this game definitely draws from the cheesy and over the top side of things without beating players over the head with long drawn out narratives. The main plot line is simple accompanied by witty banter between the two companions while they come across problematic NPCs. The mixture of both gothic and steampunk aesthetics gives it a unique flavor although it’s not very striking for the eyes. It certainly looks like a game developed four years ago even with the graphical boost from the PS4. That said the overall design makes up for any artistic shortcomings.
All right so gameplay. Yes this is like Diablo in that it’s a top down action RPG with a heavy emphasis on loot, but it does have it’s own distinct feel thanks again to the unique lore it draws from. From the start players can choose one of three classes before they track down hordes of monsters. I went with the Hunter that is armed with swords, guns, and light magical abilities that can be allocated and strengthened when leveling up. Weapons and spells can be mapped to any number of buttons plus a quick click will open up another setup. One configuration could be targeted as the damage dealer while the other could be more focused on defense, or healing giving battles a sense of strategy. Plus Katarina has a number of spells you can instruct her to perform as well.
The other two classes of fine, but they definitely are one-sided experiences, both with ranged emphasis. The Thaumaturge is sort of like a mage while the Arcane Mechanic is more or less a defense heavy support type with wily gadgets. With all that said strategy, or not it comes down to hacking, or shooting away at unbelievable numbers of monsters swarming you. It’s not hard though thanks to the respawn system wherein players can use gold to warp back to one of three death spots. I never found a lot of use for gold save from that as monsters were generous with loot and shops had a lackluster appeal.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Enhanced Edition is a good port and fit for the PS4. Everything ran well and while repetitive there’s nothing wrong with mindless monster killing every now and again. The one big issue I had was the lack of couch co-op. In order to play with up to three other people one must venture online, but I rarely got a good connection in the few days I tested it out. Technical hiccups aside I think it’s well worth visiting to those hungry for a Diablo like with some comedic value. It’s a budget title appropriately priced that values gameplay and a fun story above all else.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: I received a PS4 review code for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Enhanced Edition.