Victor Vran is unashamedly a Diablo-esque action-rpg. You click your way through dungeons, mansions, caves and forests, destroying legions of the undead with your huge repertoire of massively overpowered spells, collecting loot and levelling up. While other games have attempted to find gimmicks to distance themselves from Diablo (Torchlight and Van Helsing notably), Victor Vran seems to revel in it, making snide jokes and comments about what you are doing.
In terms of gameplay the biggest shakeup is that there aren’t classes. Instead you pick up different kinds of weapons and spells that you slot into your inventory. This means for one moment you could be carrying a huge axe and slowing down time to entrap your opponents, then you might get bored of that and equip a grenade launcher and the ability to self heal. Different outfits too provide different gameplay styles, with some giving you more ‘overdrive’ (mana) for attacking, while others provide different boosts but limit your overdrive.
The game is heavily story based, with you going to different areas to take down enemies or complete other missions (that almost exclusively involve killing all the things) but there are also a number of side objectives in every area you go into. This might involve killing enemies with a certain weapon or without using spells or potions, it might be about doing it quickly. If you complete these you get a nice little bonus and it provides a bit more interest for when the base gameplay starts getting a little stale.
In between missions you return to your base where you can combine items into better ones or simply spend all your hard earned money on spells, items and a kind of tarot card that provides you with perks. These, again, are easy to switch at will enabling you to completely change your playstyle depending on how you feel at the time.
We played through the game exclusively in co-op and this is undoubtedly the best way to play, not taking it too seriously and trying to outdo each other with ridiculous damage numbers or spells. The game does a good job of making you laugh despite the oppressive grimdark atmosphere. The narrator is constantly mocking you and telling small jokes, and some of the enemies are utterly bizarre like the dancing undead that make you dance with them to some kind of disco music if you spend too long in their proximity. Nothing a good shotgun blast won’t fix.
For those of you who enjoyed Diablo and Torchlight but are looking for something new, Victor Vran definitely has a lot going for it. It might not be as polished or vast as some of the more established entries in the genre, but it’s £15.99 and very funny. Buy a 2 or 4 pack between friends and have a hell of a time.