As this reviewer fancies himself a Bourbon drinking Heavy Metal fan, he initially got stuck in to Through the Ages. This campaign is heavily inspired by none other than Motorhead, who worked closely with the development team back in 2014 to realize a collective vision.
Featuring 13 Motorhead tracks, boss fights are even inspired by Motorheads back catalogue including the iconic ‘Snaggletooth’. The main plot device in Though the Ages is hunting down the various monuments of rock in order to finish what Lemmy Kilmister started; to end a ruthless dictatorship and to return the true Snaggletooth to his original state in order to bring peace.
If You Like to Gamble…
One found the difficulty level amongst the highest of the three featured campaigns, however the rewards within balance out the gameplay. One of which is Lemmy’s Bass guitar weapon with is accurately overpowered. The best discovery for this reviewer was finding out that all inventory carries over into each campaign. Seeing Victor bust out a guitar solo during the more serious storylines was a highlight to say the least. With that being said, Victor Vran doesn’t stray far away from its satirical roots. Most notably with the narration in the base game, the Skyrim nod has been well noted.
Needless to say, the soundtrack for Through the Ages is bloody brilliant! Lemmy, Phil and Mikky took an active role during the development of the said campaign. A highlight would be the re-recording of classic material to feature during the conquering of the monuments of rock. Nice fan service Haemont games!
The base game features Victor Vran in a more serious and troubling scenario as he searches for his long lost demon hunting BBF in a land overrun by demonic hoards. The follow up to the base game, ‘Fractured Worlds’ is as previously mentioned included in the collection. Fractured Worlds features a raised level cap to level 60, more challenging and intimidating dungeon areas and a compelling narrative extension. This really is the complete collection of Victors adventures thus far.
Execute The Grind!
The gameplay mechanics featured in the Victor Vran: Overkill Edition are exactly what players would expect from an Isometric ARPG title. Each attack has a specific cooldown timer and is nicely mapped to the various button options most modern controllers can accommodate, including jumping. A rarity in the Isometric ARPG genre.
Whilst ‘Diablo III: The Eternal Collection’ will be on the Nintendo Switch before the year is out, Victor Vran features satirical undertones which aren’t as well executed in other games in the same vein. Whilst this is mostly due to the Motorhead content, the various fillings in the Overkill Edition make for a tempting slice of mouth watering demon hunting pie.
If Victor Vran would have been released simply as an ode to Motorhead, this reviewer believes it would fall short of expectations. Whilst Through the Ages is entertaining enough, one feels that the latter campaigns flesh out our protagonist and provide variable but balanced loot drops. This makes for a steady incline of immersion and tact which elongates the lifespan of the title without sacrificing content to the aforementioned demon hordes.
That Bloody Top Hat…
Players will unlock various demonic attacks and powers via the in-game equips that can be found in various dungeons and maps. By the same blood-soaked sword, various weapons and various rarities can be found as well. Whilst some of the higher end items can be purchased in the campaign’s hub worlds, there is rarely a need for players to do so providing they are one with the ‘grind’.
Whilst players have no direct control over stat progression, the sheer scope of abilities and skills to utilise are flush to say the least. As enthusiasts run through dungeons dismembering demons, Victors overkill meter builds over time. This unlocks the protagonists demonic attack as well as attack bonuses. For example; Players can repeatedly use Victors Aimed attack shot whilst wielding a shotgun instead of once, which also produces overdrive. Love it. Switching weapons on the fly by hitting a bumper is a nice touch. There is no better feeling than flattening one demon with a legendary hammer to then blast another ones face off with the aimed freedom of a shotgun blast (Que Machine Head).
Each quest has its own list of achievements such as killing a specific number of foes within a designated time limit for example. Meeting the requirements of these achievements grants stashes of gold or mounds of XP, which are distributed by a celebratory flag pole. The beauty of this mechanic is that players don’t really need to keep track of it, again providing that they are at one with the grind and explore every corner of the map. Otherwise, what’s the point? Right?
Slayed the Frame Rate too Vicky?
The monster design is also a variable experience preventing Victor Vran from crossing the familiar line of repetitiveness and title fatigue the genre can be known for. Due to willing players learning attack patterns, earning rewards and experimenting with various weapon and power combos, punters will find embedding sharp and blunt weapons along with flying lead into hellish creatures a delightful experience.
One found a dramatic decrease in frame rate whilst playing the title in handheld mode as opposed to docked mode. This was mostly in built up areas that can be found regularly in the Through the Ages content. This reviewer knows of more demanding Nintendo Switch titles which perform more efficiently. Whilst not a game changer, one hopes for this to be patched post haste!
Putting the frame rate issues to one side; The in-game environments, character textures and menu presentation are very polished and refined. The character art during cut scenes is worth a creditable mention, there is some lovely artwork on display in Victor Vran: Overkill Edition. Attack special effects and lighting match the theme of the game and defies the cheese-board riddled realm of camp fantasy, which is lovely.
The soundtrack is awesome for obvious reasons, with sound effects also rising to the occasion. Victor Vran: Overkill Edition provides ripping solos, life-like crashes and grueling blood splats. Whilst this reviewer could not try out multiplayer options, this title supports 2-player couch co-op and 4 player online modes.
Graphics and Presentation: 3.5
Overall Score: 4/5
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a solid Isometric ARPG experience that takes a break from the over bearing demonic overtones to make way for some good old-fashioned satirical comedy. Featuring a few pop culture references with a solid gameplay system that reaches each of the three corners of this collections campaign; It’s hard to find a reason to not join Vicky on his gruesome adventures.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam
Price: £35.99 (eShop)
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Haemimont Games
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Age Rating: PEGI 16+
Review copy provided by publisher