The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III (PC) Review

By Athanasios 13.02.2016

Review for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III on PC

The first part of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing brought forth an ARPG that, despite being generally satisfying, couldn't hold a candle to its far more popular cousins, like Torchlight II, Path of Exile, and Diablo II and III. The reason? While it was somewhat fun and quite content-heavy, it had several serious issues, with the balance between its many mechanics, the sub-zero replay value, and the lacklustre battles being the most notable examples. Does the third and final part fix these problems?

The story follows the latest mission of the son of the famous Van Helsing, who, along with his ghostly companion, Lady Katarina, must traverse a 19th century world of gothic horrors and steampunk-ish abominations in order to defeat… evil or something. Yes, the plot is not very original, and, apart from the witty banter between the two protagonists, and the abundance of intentionally anachronistic humour and popular culture references, the storyline exists just to give a reason to slice and dice enemies. That's certainly not a problem, though, since The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is nothing more than a pure action-packed Diablo clone-style ARPG.

Screenshot for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III on PC

This translates to different locations to visit, a nice variety of baddies to kill and lots of ways to do so, and, of course, a plethora of loot to collect in order to create the perfect warrior. Classes, along with their individual skill trees, have been redesigned, and consist of typical types, like the Umbralist (assassin), Protector (warrior/tank), Elementalist (mage), Bounty Hunter (ranged gunslinger), and even some really innovative ones, such as the exoskeleton-wearing Phlogistoner, or the summoner of turrets and robots, the Constructor.

There are various mechanics - both traditional and original - that make the journey a pleasurable one. Adrenaline is kept flowing with healing and mana potions not being used as standard consumables, but as skills that can be used again after a cooldown time; equipment can be enhanced, or even infused with multiple-purpose essences; there are tower defence missions, and many, many more. The best thing, however, is Van Helsing's phantom comrade Katarina, who aids him in various ways through her passive skills, as well as by kicking monster booty.

Screenshot for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III on PC

What's new in this third episode? The answer is: the last big boss of the storyline, more enemies to fight, more locations to storm (which, by the way, consist of fantastic outdoor regions that are probably the best so far, as well as some indoor ones that are still a visual borefest), and, finally, Lady Katarina's back story, which turns out to be much better than the main plot; in fact, even the ending becomes better through her brief conversation with Van Helsing.

Unfortunately, for every good thing, this does two terrible ones. Take the audio-visuals, for instance. For the most part, everything looks like a beautiful gothic, with an almost haunting OST, and pretty decent voice acting and sound effects to match, but there's a terrible feeling of copy-paste jobs, especially when it comes to the many indoor areas - not to mention that the camera gets frequently obstructed by parts of the landscape that don't become transparent. Of course, all this would be forgiven if the gameplay wasn't the aspect suffering the most from this inconsistency in quality.

Screenshot for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III on PC

Everything from classes, to skills, to enemies, is unbalanced to the point of annoyance, with examples being how some minor enemies - especially ranged ones - can be strangely lethal, and a severe lack of AoE attacks in a title where monsters attack by the dozens. Surprisingly, these are small nuances when compared with the biggest flaw, which is how all enemies kind of feel the same, since they attack in such large waves, so instead of adrenaline-pumping battles, they tend to turn into a wearisome and monotonous task.

Another thing that the third episode didn't really fix is how low the replay value is. Besides loot being largely unimpressive - since even rare "epic" items don't really fall into the game-changing category - or the fact that there's no point in messing too much with skill combinations - since sticking to five to six of them works ten times better - after completing the story mode, it cannot be replayed again(!), with the only alternative being the Multiplayer mode, or the Adventures; single-level challenge scenarios that can become extremely boring after a short while.

Screenshot for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While the adventures of Van Helsing are far from bad or mediocre, they're certainly far from incredible. Attention was mainly given to quantity, instead of quality, with lots of great ideas not being implemented correctly, gameplay that feels repetitive, and, finally, a replay value that is extremely low when compared to the one found in the genre's big ones. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III can be fun at times, but it's mostly a typical case of "one step forward, two steps back."

Developer

NeocoreGames

Publisher

NeocoreGames

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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