Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II

2:00 PM on 06.30.2014 // Patrick Hancock
  @therealhancock

The Search for Curly's Gold

The first Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing wasn't a bad game, however it did have crippling technical issues that held it back. Those issues have since been fixed, and developer Neocore Games has learned a lot in the process, it seems.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II does what a sequel is known for and improves on the core idea of Van Helsing while adding enough content to justify a sequel. If you're a fan of "ARPGs," your ears should be perking up right about now.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II (PC)
Developer: Neocore Games
Publisher: Neocore Games
Released: May 22, 2014
MSRP: $14.99 

The story of Van Helsing II picks up right after the end of the first game. In case players completely forgot the plot or never played it, the opening cinematic does a superb job of catching everyone up. Essentially -- the city of Borgovia needs defending, and Van Helsing just so happens to be pretty great at exactly that. Simple enough.

In addition, a mysterious character simply named "Prisoner Seven" is involved, helping out Van Helsing throughout his adventure. However, Seven's intentions are the definition of vague, leaving the player and Van Helsing to always question his motives. The plot isn't too far off the beaten path and gets pretty predictable, but it's decently written and very well voiced in order to keep the player's attention throughout. The first game's humor comes back in full force, however this time its done with much more tact. The referential humor of the original rubbed me the wrong way, but that was not the case in the sequel.

Players now have the ability to make Van Helsing one of three classes available, instead of being forced into a single role like in the original game. In addition to the classic Hunter, players can opt to make Van Helsing a Thaumaturge or an Arcane Mechanic. Each class plays very differently from the next, and there are loads of customization options within each class themselves, almost ensuring that two players will not play alike. Players may also import their characters from the first game if they wish.

The Rage concept returns in full force, allowing even specific skills to be customized. Each skill has three sub-abilities that can be leveled up. These sub-abilities might make the main ability deal more damage, last longer, or cause some secondary effect. In order to use these powers, players must spend Rage, which is gained in battle, by pressing the appropriate sub-abilities keybinding. These can also be combined, as three points of Rage can be used at once. This makes battles feel more fast-paced, since players are tapping the S key three times, firing an ability, then pressing the D key twice and the A key once and firing off another ability. It feels great and makes this ARPG more than a standard "click-fest."

Katarina, the "ghost with a snappy wit" returns in the sequel and can also be customized a ton. She feels much more fully fleshed out than in the first game and she even filled the classic "tank" role pretty well during my playthrough. Her AI can be extremely customized, which allows her to not feel like dead weight the entire time. Plus, she can hold on to excess items, go back to town and sell them, and even go buy potions (much like Torchlight). Later in the campaign, Van Helsing also gets control of a Chimera, who can be summoned to fight alongside the titular hero or be sent on missions to get loot. Naturally, I summed him all the damn time

The tower defense mini-game makes its return, which is a mode that I wasn't too fond of in the original due to lack of direction. I am happy to say, however, that Van Helsing II gives this mode the care and dedication it deserves, making it leagues better. The towers are more interesting, the maps feel better designed, and the package as a whole comes together nicely.

Van Helsing  is also in charge of resistance commanders now, and can send one of his commanders out to do his bidding for him. Managing these commanders is a mini-game in itself, as each one has certain tactics they are better at and sending the wrong one can mean a mission failure. 

The difficulty in the game works similarly to how the original Van Helsing did: throwing more enemies at the player equates to a "harder" game. It's an arbitrary way to challenge the player, and it made me feel forced to constantly be pumping points into HP, since I was absolutely melting to the hordes of enemies thrown my way, especially in my second playthrough of the Story Mode. Luckily, re-doing skills and skill points only costs gold, which is plentiful. It's much more manageable in multiplayer, though if you don't have someone specific to team up with there aren't many public games out there to join at any point in time.

Players can alter the difficulty in a different way, and can now add trophies to the Hall of Trophies to gain both benefits and challenges to the campaign. Said trophies will add bonuses like added elemental damage while at the same time adding a benefit to the enemies like giving them more HP. It's a nice risk-and-reward way of customizing the difficulty a bit and fits well into the game. In addition to the Story Mode, which can be played multiplayer, there are also Scenarios, which are only unlocked at level 57.

After finishing the story mode once, however, players will likely be around level 30, meaning that they'll have to go into New Game+ mode or grind out some levels online. It's a less than optimal way to get to the Scenario mode, and I feel as if it should unlock after completing the story, at the very least. The Scenario mode offers up a random "mini-campaign" with various effects on the world, but will mostly only be for the hardcore players due to its high level requirement. Likewise, the Battle Royale PvP mode is also locked until level 57.

The visual design of enemies in Van Helsing II is great, offering up some truly bizarre foes to take down throughout the campaign. Their behaviors are varied enough so that every enemy doesn't simply run straight towards the player, though many do. The visual style is alright, though things are overly shiny and can be a bit muddy as well.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II is a much better showing than the original. It's what a sequel should be; it improves on nearly everything while adding brand new ideas to the pile. Best of all, the core gameplay mechanics are still a blast to use and really spice up a genre that if often left untouched. It certainly has its shortcomings, but fans of games like the Diablo series, Torchlight, Titan Quest, or Path of Exile will love it.



THE VERDICT

8

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II - Reviewed by Patrick Hancock
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Patrick Hancock, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure therealhancock Tips
Watching and playing competitive games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and Rocket League take up most of his time. His three favorite non-video game things in the world are space, dinosaurs, and ... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II


  Jun 13

Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing sequel announced

More ARPGs are always a good thing in my book


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Nathan D avatarNathan D
Thanks to Dtoid I now have this gif in my life, and I can't stop laughing. I seriously can't get over it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Finished SOMA today , was able to do a second run without enemies with the "Wuss" mod, found it actually more frightening has you get more time to think about what is really going instead of doing hide-and-seek with the AI (Alien Isolation I miss you)
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I stayed up late last Saturday writing a Dead Space 4 proposal outline. Solved every plot hole, had plenty of badass moments. This is the state I live in, people.
Torchman avatarTorchman
WHY DO THEY GET SOUNDS BUT PIKACHU AND CHARIZARD CAN'T. WTF
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished my Storge set and 4/5ths of that was on the clock today o_O I also got a dragonlord eyepatch, which is totally practical covering the right eye when Cyndel's hair covers up the left eye.
Lawman avatarLawman
So Zack Furniss told me I should play Dying Light on Hard. Guess who's never listening to Zack Furniss again? :-/
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Deadpool spoilers: He gets cancer.
beargreasey avatarbeargreasey
So Kanye just announced his new game, Only Once. It looks beautiful and personal. It's just a shame that I still have no idea what it is.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I dunno why people are getting so huffy about Windows Store / XbOne Quantum Break crossbuy. It means double the gamerscore for me, and AW and AW:AN are rereleasing on the One so I'll have owned them 3 times over. Great games.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I once considered pitching an idea for a Dtoid Australia podcast, but then I realised it'd probably just be Zyk and I getting drunk on Foster's and complaining about Atlus for half an hour each week while incessantly calling each other cunts.
Parismio avatarParismio
New Splatfest is Pokemon Red vs Pokemon Blue. Im Blue Team bitches!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Been sick but these pills are fixing me right up. [img]http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-don-t-call-it-a-comeback-i-ve-been-here-for-years-ll-cool-j-63-60-01.jpg[/img]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
Why is it impossible to find a raid group in Destiny? Am I just cursed or something? All I want is to get a clan and do a raid.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I don't even care how the rest of this day is.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
*Starts up XCOM: UFO Defense* Alright, I'm ready to do this...hmmmm...not much going on. Space ship! Shot it down! Lets fight, I've played XCOM...wait...what the fuck do all these buttons do? Alright I got it now! Annnnnd 1/6 soldiers survived. Hmmm.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Going to Deadpool in 45 minutes. I can't wait to see Ryan Reynolds junk.
jak2364 avatarjak2364
http://www.game.co.uk/en/dying-light-the-following-the-spotlight-edition-only-at-game-298773 I'll need to ask for a credit line increase, but sure, why not?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Hnnnggg. My End of Evangelion video I made like 2 years ago has almost 700,000 views. I never thought it'd get this far. It was the first video I ever made and just did it for fun. Guess I have an eye for editing and an ear for music placement.
gajknight avatargajknight
I want to listen to classical music. But I'm in a funky mood right now. The solution?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Been watching Better Call Saul, being a pretty big fan of Breaking Bad, and it's been pretty decent. Like a b-side to BB. But, this scene with Trevor (GTAV)-famous Steven Ogg has been my highlight. There's more to it before this, but it's the best part.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -