I recently had the opportunity to play Van Helsing on the PC and was quite surprised by this Indy game that blends top – down RPG elements with action and adventure.
During my play through of Van Helsing, Final Cut, the game crashed several times in a matter of hours which was not impressive at all. After some research (and me thinking that my PC had an issue) I confirmed that it was the game and is a widely reported issue with this version of Van Helsing.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, Final Cut features six different character classes that range from your standard sword and shield warrior, to your grenadier or “Phlogistoneer” as they are called in the game. I selected the Phlogistoneer for my play through and was very surprised at how underpowered and pathetic this character was. The only type of attacks that are available to this class are medium to long range which, are half the time worthless as most of the enemies in the game run at you. Therefore a short range attack class is more beneficial.
Whilst I was setting up and customising my character, I realised another downfall in Final Cut. The menus are as confusing as hell and are extremely lengthy. I found myself just staring at a menu filled screen trying to understand how to change attacks. Trying to perform a simple action like this is technical and frustrating and can lead to a hatred of the game. This leads me to the next issue that I had with the Final Cut, the Tutorials. The Tutorials are short and have about a quarter of the required controls and features that you need to be aware of before fully starting the game. The rest of the info is gained by staring at a screen trying to wrap your head around the menus and the control scheme of Final Cut.
Final Cut’s loading times are superb. As I mainly am a Console gamer, I am used to 40 seconds to a minute load times, however Final Cut’s load times are around 20 seconds, meaning game play is hardly ever interrupted for long periods of time. This allows the player to have a streamline play session with very few loading scenes.
Whilst I was in a town in Van Helsing, I noticed that I was struggling to see my character. Because the camera in Final Cut is fixed, there is no way of moving the camera around your character and trying to get a better camera angle. I found myself in many a predicament when I couldn’t see where I was or what I was fighting or even where I was heading. I must admit that I was a little disappointed that even this little detail was flawed.
The character diversity and voice acting are superb. This was a surprise and the characters were a pleasure to listen to. The actors blend a mixture of humour with seriousness which strikes a perfect balance in the game and adds to the atmosphere of a unique and enthralling plot. The soundtrack also adds to the mystic nature of the game and adds atmosphere to what would otherwise be a bland adventure. The music artists strike a perfect note meaning all of the songs are interesting and even whilst exploring the towns, the soundtrack would take you on a completely different journey.
The control scheme in Van Helsing is very basic and is easy to understand. The mouse is mainly used for movement and attacks which means there is no confusion or (thank goodness) hard to understand controls that confuse the player. The Graphics are sometimes blotchy in parts and most of the environments seem to be covered in some type of mist which made me just want to see the scenery clearly the more I played. The levels and environments are very same-same, making for forgettable environments and some level of dis-interest.
The quests in Van Helsing are interesting and engaging which allows for a mixture of fetch and grab quests as well as engaging and enthralling story missions that grab your attention as the gamer. For me, playing Van Helsing was a let down in many ways, but the quest mechanic of the game really allows for an interesting change of pace.
Overall, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut was a mixed bag for me. I was let down by the amount of times the game crashed on my PC and how blotchy the graphics were. However, there are some interesting aspects here such as an inventive story and detailed quests that make me want to really like this game. However the dark side, unfortunately won over this game and there was too much work that still needs to be done to make this a worthwhile experience for any gamer.