Every year, on the same day, 22 May, “The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing” appears in the vastness of Steam, and at first there was much rejoicing. The first part showed what it means to have the right genre in the right hands. The game had a great sense of humour, very stylish graphics, a great versatile upgrading with very non-trivial additions to the gameplay, as well as hundreds of enemies for a total genocide. The second part had gone further. Not only it allowed the player to choose a character from three classes (they were only as a DLC in the first game), but also brought a lot of new things to the gameplay: control of armies, upgrading new recruits, jobs for the tame chimera and for generals, as well as its own full-fledged Resistance base with a bunch of traders and craftsmen. And that’s without taking into account the defence of said base in the huge Tower Defender games. The co-operative was so awesome that real life was completely forgotten.
However, the first and second parts – are pieces of a whole. They are two halves of a pre-established, but released in parts game. What did the authors do then? To begin with, they took the mode of Tower Defender and sold it once more as a separate game called “Deathtrap”. Then they took all that remained of the second part and made a plot DLC for it. But why sell a DLC, when you can sell a tri-quel? The digit 3 was slapped on to the addition, it was twisted and tortured as best as they could and released traditionally on 22 May.
It’s difficult to guess what awaits potential players, but possible. The first thing that catches the eye of new players is traditional problems with importing files saved in the previous part. For me personally, it didn’t work, so I gave up and decided to create a new Van Helsing, at the same time studying the updated set of classes for the hero. There are now many more – as many as six. But don’t be hasty to celebrate; a bit further below I’ll explain where the treachery lies. So, the classes:
Protector – an armoured knight in the truest sense of these words. Swings his sword, covers with a shield, armour-clad to the very top.
Bounty Hunter – familiar to us from the first game of the classic Van Helsing with pistols, rifles, a wide-brimmed hat and cloak.
Elementalist – a typical magician with a staff, rather puny in melee.
Umbralist – ranger-assassin, specializing in stealth and backstabbing.
Phlogistoneer – Helsing who is more like a robot with futuristic weapons.
Constructor – a typical engineer with various technical bells and whistles.
Are you salivating yet? Suck it all up again. These classes, even though they are radically different, are still fiction, counting on players who have never seen the previous two parts. Choose any class, go to the game, open the levelling menu and start going grey – there is emptiness there, and only the noise of the wind can be heard and the tumbleweed rolls. Almost all levelling was cut from the game, depriving the player of 90% of the choices he had in the previous parts. For example, in “Van Helsing 2” you can take a Bounty Hunter and level him in either handguns or melee. Now he has only range and all the melee has been given to Protector. Do you see it yet? These classes are in fact the same classes of “Van Helsing 1-2”, just halved. So all the choice that you get ended right there – in the character selection menu.
If at this point you feel sad, it’s best you minimize the game and cry. In any case, the game will soon do it for you. The code of the game is so crude that there are more bugs here than in any project on Early Access. Crashes, visual glitches of textures, getting stuck in them, the inability to complete some quests. Indeed, even quitting the game without an error message is a problem. It seems in some places that trying to make the game for 22 May, the authors just skipped the final testing, relying on their own experience (“This is the fourth game in the series, we got this, what bugs?”). However, even just to get to the end of the story I had to get the trainers out, because the game flatly refused to let me get on with the plot in two places, crashing during the transition between locations.
And would that there had been something to test. Almost all locations are created from pieces of old ones and, except for two new places, fully replicate what was in “Van Helsing 2”. But even they, these same locations, leave much to be desired – they are usually very small and finished in 10-15 minutes. Yes, get ready for the game to be over before you say, “What, is level 30 the maximum now?” You simply don’t have time to get sucked in, and there is no need.
In my previous article, I mentioned that some modern DLCs pretend to be full-fledged continuations to enhance their reputation. “The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 3” is the clearest example of this. A buggy add-on for the second part is presented before the players, and it certainly isn’t a full tri-quel. There isn’t enough content, and what there is, works only from time to time. At the same time, the game continues to occupy indecent number of gigabytes on the HDD, as if it was “The Witcher 3” or something…
As for humour, there was noticeably less of it visually. Of course, the characters still share funny remarks, Lady Katarina’s accent makes shivers run down my spine, but only all of this is insipid, stiff, as if even the heroes are tired of all that is happening, and are very eager to retire. Maybe it really is time?
Many classes and dynamic gameplay
Many interesting enemies
Stripped down levelling
Bugs, which likely will not let you beat the game easily.