In true ARPG fashion, there are towns available throughout Van Hesling. In town, you can embark on a small assortment of quests, shop at a vendor, and purchase skills that can be upgraded. You may also craft items from scratch, or modify equipment using essences found in the field. Essences are like gems, and can only be put into certain equipment. The majority of your time will be spent playing through the main adventure in the field, however. It is interesting to note that during Act 2, there is a sort of tower defense game that needs to be played to progress. While nothing major, it is a nice strategic break from the norm. Battles can also become quite strategic, with the combo system and the mix up of melee and ranged battle. Some bosses require modest planning and strategy, and manipulation of equipment in the area.
While fun is to be had in the first playthrough, which will net you 10-12 hours of playtime, there are no respawning enemies. Replay value comes in the form of trying the game on a harder difficulty, or trying out hardcore mode, where death spells disaster. Van Helsing is also playable with up to four players online. While there is nothing especially enticing about playing co-op, it can be a fun thing to do with your buds. Loot does not improve with friends, but it is probably a good idea to roll with a buddy or two if you want to clear some of the harder difficulties. Also, as mentioned by a staff member, it is a good way to have each character specialize in a certain playstyle. In the solo game, it is usually necessary to invest in a sort of hybrid character due to survivability. If playing cooperatively, specialty builds can be explored, such as pure dexterity/ranged, or a magic wielder. Whatever the case may be, the possibilities present in co-op play will add definite replay value to the game.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an awesome game. The system that Neocore has in place for an ARPG is outstanding, and they can only improve on it from here. With three games planned in the Van Helsing series, it will be interesting to see how the series develops over time. Whatever the case may be, it is refreshing to see a relatively unknown developer go head to head with some of the biggest names in the genre, adding innovations such as AI companion depth in the process. This is a game that is definitely worth your time and money.
The Co-Op Experience: Hunt down scientific monstrosities with up to 4 players online as Van Helsing and other members of the Hunter's Guild.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.