Similarly to the Diablo series, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is all about loot. Whether you're breaking open pots, opening chests, or buying from merchants, Haemimont Games' latest sees you stuffing your pockets with all the weapons, consumables, and items that you can find, from scythes and swords to destiny cards and demon powers. At times it's a little too much to keep track of, as your eyes will ache from comparing weapon statistics and checking effects. Other times, however, there's a real satisfaction in finding a rare weapon. Whether you'll enjoy this game or not really depends on how much you mind numbers, seeing as – when you're not comparing items – they'll be constantly haemorrhaging out of your enemies as you fight them.
Though the conventions of standard RPGs are present in Victor Vran – the constant stream of statistics and status effects especially – the game is rather refreshing in the sense that there isn't a class system. Instead of having clearly-defined, rigid systems, the game allows you to create the character that you want by customising their loadout.
The different types of weapons, from scythes to shotguns, mean that you can fight from a distance or in close-quarters. Each weapon has its own special abilities, too: shotguns can fire multiple bullets at once to take out enemies en masse, while players wielding hammers can teleport and knock enemies back by smashing their hammer on the ground. A nice touch is that a timer on the bottom of the screen tells you exactly how long each ability's cooldown is, so you'll know exactly when you can use them again.
Destiny Cards act as buffs for your character, increasing health or activating certain effects such as causing an explosion whenever you are damaged. Demon powers act as spells that can be defensive or offensive, causing meteor showers or protecting you with a diamond forcefield. The fact that Victor Vran's character system encourages experimentation is a breath of fresh air, even though the levelling system is a little disappointing, only offering loot in lieu of a skill tree system.
In terms of gameplay and story, however, this title is a little more conventional – though the presence of online and local co-op is a godsend. The game takes place in Zagoravia, a kingdom overrun by demons that Victor Vran (voiced by Doug Cockle, he of Geralt fame) has been hired to hunt. While it's typical RPG fare, and the characters of Victor (and the people he meets) are all rather dull, the presence of Voice – a voice in Victor's head that simultaneously seems to want to both help and hinder him – makes the story more bearable. Excellently played by Andrew Wincott, not only does Voice help you to locate treasure, but he also affects gameplay in different ways. Memorably, in one dungeon he narrates Victor's actions, claiming that he's taken a wrong turn in his search for the exit when in reality he's actually taken the right turn, but Voice simply wants to spend more time exploring the dungeon.
Obviously, with Victor Vran being a dungeon crawler, dungeons represent the main portion of the game, each with their own optional objectives that offer immediate reward upon completion. Bustling with different enemy types that have their own weaknesses and strengths, they can be a slog to get through sometimes but generally feel rewarding, plus the ending boss fights offer plentiful loot as well as interesting combat. By the end of the main story things can feel a little repetitive, but the character customisation and variety in gameplay should see you through.
Containing the original game as well as – oddly – a Motorhead-themed DLC and Fractured Worlds – an expansion that creates four new dungeons every day – Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is quite good value for money and has plenty of opportunities for replayability. The only question is whether you'll tire of the dungeon crawler formula or not.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition doesn't revolutionise the action RPG genre, but it certainly has helped it evolve. The scrapping of class systems and skill trees gives you more control over the character that you want to make, while the hordes of collectable loot will keep you chopping and changing your loadout for a long time. While its story is a little stale and there is still something very conventional about how Haemimont Games' latest is set out, the variety of gameplay and four-player co-op will keep you coming back to Zagoravia for hours.