A Diabling we Shall Go!

What with Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, the upcoming Warhammer 40K Diablo-like game and the near-release of the Necromancer for Diablo 3 - Diablo-clones are appearing all over the place. So when we got a code for Victor Vran, thanks to both the publisher and the gorgeous folks @ Xbox it was time to dive back into the worlds of monsters and demons to see just what this Diablo-like game was really, well, like.

Good news, I've enjoyed my time with it immensely and it adds a few things here and there I really like - so that's a great sign.

If you love Diablo 3 and those kinds of games then honestly, Victor Vran is a good addition to the action-adventure Diablo genre.

Sound Familiar?

Victor Vran is the hero of the piece, a gravel-voiced narrative demon slayer by trade. If you stop a moment, listen to him, you might think he reminds you of the hero of the Witcher series - Geralt of Rivia. You'd be correct, since the grumble-tones of Doug Cockle are pretty unmistakable here as Doug lends his voice to yet another monster slayer.

There's gravitas, humour and some pretty dark overtones to the overall script and Doug does a bang-up job as per usual. Yet, I can hear Geralt as plain as day!

Gettin' About

Victor Vran has a full 3d camera that can be rotated 360 degrees, unlike say Diablo 3 where you're locked into the same perspective. This is vital because many of the game's secrets and secret areas are sneakily tucked away in the various maps, often hidden by walls and so forth.

You can navigate around the maps easily, thanks to a solid mini-map and Victor's movement controls which also include not only a jump, but also a wall-jump that lets the demon slayer leap to higher areas or over seemingly impossible barriers to get at the hidden goodies beyond.

Between the main map and mini-map, navigation is a cinch and the whole experience of exploring is rewarding and fun. Especially when you find a sweet loot chest and usually a badass monster guarding it.

Fightin' Demons

Once you've dived into the tutorial, learnt all there is to know about movement and fighting in the game, it's time to choose your outfit, difficulty and type of character, hardcore or not. Non-hardcore characters take no penalties from dying, and you guessed it, hardcore characters do. The game's transparent about all this, tells you what the stakes are and what you can expect if you set your difficulty to casual or hard - the outfits all alter how you play the game and if you have a particular style of play they're usually suited to that style.

Then it's off to get a quest and explore one of many map areas (you can return later on), discovering secrets, killing monsters and getting loot and xp - all that good stuff.

To begin with you have a single weapon slot and as you level up you'll unlock additions to your character. A new slot, extra powers, more slots for Destiny cards and so on.

Each weapon has an X, Y and B attack and there are various types of weapons, from rapiers, swords, hammers and even different guns.

As you battle monsters you'll accrue Overdrive, which will let you unleash various demon powers to decimate them. From meteor strikes to a giant boomerang and in-between, there's a fair few powers to unleash and play around with.

Then you have Destiny cards, minor or major bonuses to the character that you can switch out as you like. They're like Tarot cards that you can plug into Victor to give him more health, life steal, a massive explosion when he creates an Overkill or critical hit and so on.

Combat feels good, there's a dodge roll (lb and a direction) similar to Diablo 3 and when you hit there's a sense of weight behind each strike, especially with heavy weapons like hammers.

As you might expect there's tiers of monsters, with Champions being tough and dangerous - armed with demon powers and a good source of loot/xp.

There are also challenges on the maps that once complete unlock loot and xp for your character. Do them all and you can get a new Destiny card.

Looting and Hacking

There's a lot of loot in Victor Vran, similar to Diablo 3 it'll come in various rarities and of course Legendary loot is always awesome to find. Tougher monsters have a chance of dropping sweet goods and the loot drops get better on harder difficulties.

Inventory management is good, simple, easy to use and frees you up to spend time killing demons rather than sorting through tons of equipment. It's easy to see what equipment/power/card is better as comparing items is automatic.

Don't Die Alone

You can play the game offline co-op with a friend or play online with up to 4 other people slaying monsters and having fun. You can't mix offline co-op with online players, unlike Diablo 3.

A Solid Contender

Victor Vran is definitely a solid contender in the Diablo-arena and it's a good looking game, with some good voice actors and solid frame-rates. The musical score is decent and the whole package comes with the DLC if you buy the Overkill Edition from the store. This DLC has a single gonzo-standout thing about it, one of the packages involves: Motorhead and is truly awesome!

There's a fair bit to explore too, it's not a small game and whilst the story is pretty generic in places it's got some interesting moments. So all in all, a decent addition to the action adventure genre and worth taking a look at if you're hungry for more Diablo-esque fun!