Victor Vran: Overkill Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 01.10.2018

Review for Victor Vran: Overkill Edition on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch ports of indie titles tend to wind up their most popular versions, regardless of overall quality. Whether it be because of the Switch's indie friendly vibe or the lack of a dedicated Virtual Console effectively being replaced by independently developed games, it's not unusual to see an indie find a new home on Switch. Victor Vran, like many before it, looks to find success on Nintendo's latest console. Unfortunately, while it may in fact succeed,Overkill Edition hardly deserves to.

Independent of its technicalities, Victor Vran is an engaging action RPG with surprisingly competent level design. Combat flows smoothly as Victor can switch seamlessly between two weapons at the same time, keeping the action non-stop. While there's no way to chain combos in a conventional sense, the battle system allows Victor to typically strike three-hit combos mixed with cool-down based skills. Along with that, Victor's ability to dodge roll and jump ensures that the action is moving at all times.

Stages themselves are split between a single main objective and five challenges that Victor can choose to pursue at his leisure. While missions associated with the campaign more often than not offer little in the way of difficulty, these challenges make for a great way of offering a harder experience without overwhelming newcomers to the genre.

On top of that, after levelling up enough, Victor unlocks the ability to trigger Hexes that gradually up the difficulty by either buffing enemies or nerfing Victor in favour of offering added XP. Although deliberately designed difficulty will more often than not yield in a better curve, Victor Vran's use of optional challenges and Hexes stands out as one of the better examples of customisable difficulty.

Screenshot for Victor Vran: Overkill Edition on Nintendo Switch

The best aspect of the optional challenges, however, has to be what it brings to each level's design. Typically, one of the five challenges will be to find 'x' amount of secrets. Some secrets are usually hidden in plain sight, but others require Victor to wall jump to higher planes, break down conspicuous walls, or find suspicious paths leading out of each stage's natural layout. As a result, exploration is both encouraged and an active piece of the title's inherent design.

The biggest incentive to pursuing optional content, other than increasing the ARPG's naturally short playtime, is to award Victor with additional XP, gold, and loot. As a Diablo-esque, Victor Vran runs on the concept that Victor will be consistently progressing via levelling and finding new equipment. While both can be done in normal play, challenges offer a more consistent means of doing so.

Despite being Diablo-esque in nature, a lack of conventional classes means that Victor isn't locked into any single play style. At any time, he can swap between different weapon categories, equip new abilities via Destiny Cards, and customise his special attacks with amulets. Outside of base stats, as those are consistent across all levels, no two Victors will be the same. Which is a good thing considering the emphasis on multiplayer.

Even though it's possible to play through the entire adventure alone with no real drawback or drop in quality, there is a sizeable multiplayer component at play. Local co-op works fine enough on a conceptual level, with players dedicating one of the many save slots to another character, whereas online, naturally, pits unique Victors together to tackle Zagoravia's many monstrosities in a united front.

Screenshot for Victor Vran: Overkill Edition on Nintendo Switch

While not dead, the online community isn't particularly active, either; there doesn't seem to be a healthy player base on Switch yet, which is a shame considering how enjoyable the multiplayer component can be. Rushing into a stage with a full party and Hexes turned on makes for a ridiculous gauntlet with plenty of high points. Unfortunately, it inadvertently also shines light on the port's many low points.

Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a technical mess, bordering on disaster. It's entirely possible to play through the entire experience comfortably enough, especially for first-time players, but it won't be nearly as smooth as it should be. Some of these problems are just inherited from the base game, such as the truly terrible sound mixing for voice actors and the genuinely unintuitive UI (no menu should have a learning curve,) while others stem from the poorly optimised foundation of the Switch port.

Even when playing alone, the frame-rate noticeably drops and stutters every now and then. It's usually never so unbearable it causes a major problem, but it is a distraction. It's made all the worst by occasional slowdown, typically when there are too many models on-screen at once. Given how frequently later stages use onslaughts of enemies, it's not hard to see why this becomes a problem.

Making a bad situation all the worse is the narrator who speaks over the majority of Victor's adventure. Were the sound mixing fine, he would still be annoying and totally out of place. Despite the narrative's rather serious subject matter and dark atmosphere, the narrator adds a silly tone to the experience that severely clashes with the rest of the title.

Screenshot for Victor Vran: Overkill Edition on Nintendo Switch

Although this is a clear use of deliberate juxtaposition, that does not exempt it from criticism. The meme touting, pop culture reference narrator is genuinely obnoxious, taking away from a potentially engaging plot and world. He not only adds nothing of value to the game, he actually detracts from it, actively damaging the atmosphere of Zagoravia. The narrator simply does not mesh with the pre-established identity.

A bandage would be to mute voices altogether in the options menu, but Victor also occasionally comments on his surroundings, developing his character. Doing so would negate the frustration of listening to a distracting narrator at the expense of characterisation and world building. It certainly doesn't help that the narrator's dialogue is mixed just as poorly as anyone else Victor comes across.

When the frame-rate starts stuttering and the action slows down, the last thing anyone wants to hear is the narrator chiming in with some non-sequitur to break any remaining immersion. His dialogue itself is likewise horribly crafted, standing out in an already not particularly well written script. Considering his dialogue seems to be triggered by events in the overworld, it's also possible for him to cut himself off unnaturally, showing just how thoughtlessly the feature was implemented into the game.

In a better port, it might be possible to forgive Victor Vran's shortcomings. After all, the core gameplay loop is genuinely quite addictive and engaging, but the Overkill Edition simply accentuates everything wrong with the base, while also adding new problems of its own. Victor Vran is a good game, just not on Nintendo Switch.

Screenshot for Victor Vran: Overkill Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

At its best, Victor Vran is an addictive action RPG with a great sense of progression and a strong visual identity of its own. At its worst, Overkill Edition muddies up a solid foundation with poor sound mixing, an unintuitive UI, and a choppy frame-rate, coupled with slowdown. While the base game is strong enough to overcome its inherent flaws, the Switch port's faults ultimately make all of Victor Vran's worst aspects come off all the harsher. Overkill Edition is a fine enough ARPG when separated from its technical faults, but it's perhaps best bought anywhere other than on Nintendo Switch.

Developer

Haemimont

Publisher

Haemimont

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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