The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – Final Cut review (PC)

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing trilogy has just been re-packaged and released as the Final Cut edition of the game, making this the definitive version of the game. We checked out Van Helsing’s lengthy campaign on PC, not having played the previous releases.

What’s immediately obvious is where developer NeocoreGames got its inspiration: the dark setting, isometric perspective and hack and slash/action rpg style just scream Diablo – which is not a bad example to follow. This isn’t a carbon copy though, as the developer chose the rich lore surrounding the Van Helsing character as their backdrop. For those not familiar with the Van Helsing name – he’s the famed monster hunter mostly associated with his quest to defeat Dracula. And if you’re unfamiliar with that name, this probably isn’t the game for you.

Further deviating from the original writings about Van Helsing, the game also includes plenty of original monsters, extensive use of magic and various applications of industrial (or ‘steampunk’, if you will) technology. The trilogy, and thus also the Final Cut, takes places in the fictional kingdom of Borgovia, and features you as Van Helsing – the son of the aforementioned nemesis to Dracula. Your task, over the course of a massive 30 to 40 hour adventure is to rid the kingdom of the monsters that plague it. Aiding you in this quest is your sidekick, Lady Katarine – whose current status in life (she’s a ghost!) comes in handy at times. Not bound by the limits of mortality, she stands by you wherever you go – but she’s also surprisingly able to carry a lot of your inventory and can even sell items for you in town while you’re out on a quest.

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The Final Cut version isn’t just a compilation of three older games glued together for good measure – the developer also took the opportunity to improve and add several features. The game’s visual got a small boost through a high resolution texture pack that’s now available (for free), adding over 20 GB of data to an already big game for a total of 56 GB. The level cap has also been increased, now reaching up to 100 and culminating into an endgame scenario that allows you to develop yourself further and acquire new abilities and items. And last but not least…. fan of multiplayer gaming can now also enjoy several online multiplayer modes, ranging from cooperative to arena-style player versus player gameplay.

The heart of the game, however, remains its single player mode. NeocoreGames took their time refining the trilogy, and it shows. Issues that the previous games were criticized for have for the most part been fixed, including not just the usual bug fixes but also a few flaws in game design – where things that felt out of place in part 3 now have their place inside the trilogy. The experience still isn’t as polished as something like Diablo 3 is, but that shouldn’t be expected from a relatively small developer. Look beyond that slight lack of polish and there’s a wealth of single player (story) content that Diablo 3 doesn’t even come close to. Sure, it’s not the finely crafted story experience that is The Witcher 3, but that’s a different type of game. Van Helsing is all about developing your (massive!) skill tree, collecting loot from the many, many monster that you slay, and exploring a dark fantasy world. If you were ever into any of the Diablo games, then you’re more than likely to enjoy The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – Final Cut.

Score: 7.9/10

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