The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut remains the best way to experience Van Helsing’s story, but not quite definitive.

By Woozie, Posted 16 Nov 2015

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has popped up out of nowhere and steadily managed to make a name for itself within its genre. While, arguably, not as notorious as Diablo and Path of Exile, it has become a name that’s uttered in ARPG circles and, on top of that, has reached its fourth iteration. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut sets off to be a definitive edition for the series, bearing the story content of all three games unified under one name and one set of systems. We’ll discuss just how much of that it achieves right now.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut, Screenshot, Review

Monster hunting in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut isn’t that much different from past iterations. Certainly, every game has had its own different approach towards the class and skill system, some more, others less successful, but all of it fell under the classic hack ‘n’ slash formula. The latest iteration keeps the six class archetypes from Van Helsing III and reworks the skill system. Higher tier skills now benefit off lower tier skills, making investing in them worth it once you’ve leveled up enough for them to become obsolete.

The game makes use of an online account that centralizes your character data to the Neocore servers. Without having an account, you can still play, however offline characters will not be available for online use. You’ll have to create a different character and level those characters up in a separate online session. Not having an account also affects the availability of certain endgame elements, but, it is nevertheless considerate of the developers to have not made the game require a constant online connection.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut, Screenshot, Review

All classes have their own foci and this, alongside the customizable character stats and skills, does provide at least some level of replayability. The endgame revolves around scenario mode, where players can run randomly generated maps in hope of getting new, better items and perfecting their character via the Glory system’s passive buffs. The Glory system, alongside the new difficulty systems are ways to lengthen potential playtimes that were clearly inspired by Diablo 3. The endgame also features daily missions that often times require certain classes of characters to be completed, thus, encouraging the creation and leveling-up of more than just one class.

The loot tends to be more varied this time around, while, also mostly catering to the character class you’re playing. The option of upgrading pieces of gear with essence, the game’s equivalent to sockets, is still there. This time around, one can also combine essences to gain more powerful versions of said essences. In case you find useless Epics, a vendor can combine them, offering a new random epic that now scales with your level. In this way, low-level epics can be gathered and only combined when the level cap has been reached, thus showering one in max-level epics.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut, Screenshot, Review

Graphically, we’re talking about the same engine the games have always been built on, the only addition being a 7GB high-resolution texture pack that makes the game somewhat prettier. The animations still feel a bit clunky and lack the polish of other ARPG’s. At times, sound effects will simply “forget” to play when you’re using a skill, or when the enemies are attacking you. If the previous games in the series have had problems with broken quests, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut does a good job at fixing them. Bugs, however, are still reported on forums but in a seemingly smaller amount and they’re never of the game-breaking variety.

The series’ online segment has always walked with unsteady steps. During my time with the game, I could never get into any of the two available PvP modes and Adventure mode kept failing to connect. Playing the story online seems to work just fine, however, it’s the host who decides which part of the story is being played and the matchmaking system failed to place me with players that were at the same point through the story as I was. Online play is most likely better if you bring a group of friends along. Clearly a high point of the series is the interaction between Van Helsing, the hunter, and Katarina, his ghostly companion. This continues to be the case in the Final cut, with the writing being just as hit and miss. The story hits a lot of clichés, but moments of self-consciousness turn it into that type of cheesy story you grow to expect nothing of, but which you still slightly enjoy.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut still lacks the polish of other titles like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, but it does provide a way to play through the entire story while holding onto your characters. It recreates the classic hack ‘n’ slash formula competently and the gothic-noir setting sets it apart from other ARPGs. As long as you’re invested in another ARPG, there’s little else to be found here, with the lack of polish and possible bugs you may encounter. Those who own the trilogy receive it for free and new players should head directly to this version, should they decide to give the game a shot, as it is cheaper than buying the games separately. The Final Cut remains the best way to experience Van Helsing’s story and, with enough patching, it can come close to being the definitive version it claims to be.

MateÈ™ Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): NeocoreGames
Developer(s): NeocoreGames
Genres: Action, Adventure, RPG
Themes: Hack and Slash
Release Date: 2015-10-03

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