'The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing'
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.0 stars
The atrocious "Van Helsing" movie released in 2004 left such a sour taste in my mouth that I've been unable to ... err ... sink my teeth into anything related to the franchise ever since. Fortunately, Neocore Games' action/RPG title "The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing" reinvents the franchise and in a fun and exciting way!
Instead of playing as the infamous vampire hunter, players take on the role of his son as he cleanses Borgovia of deadly supernatural creatures. Borgovia is a dark, surrealistic land filled with subtle Steampunk touches that combine advanced weaponry, steam-powered devices, science and magic.
Like traditional RPGs, this title offers players the ability to accept various quests to earn XP that advances Van Helsing's level and abilities. I really enjoy the ability to choose which statistics to enhance as well as the actual skills to learn. Speaking of which, the skill tree for both melee and ranged weapons is extremely advanced, with options like learning fireballs and then enhancing them with extra power and/or damage over time.
Scavenging for loot is also extremely rewarding. Too many modern RPGs limit this ability, so I appreciate being able to find and use various weapons, armor, and accessories that offer a wide variety of statistical advantages. It's also cool to customize weapons and armor with gems that enhance their benefits.
Adding humorous banter and handy combat assistance is Van Helsing's ethereal cohort Lady Katarina. She can be customized in a wide variety of ways, ranging from what skills are used to how she fights, and she can also be sent off to sell extra loot. Now that's what I call a handy companion.
It would be nice to have the ability to rotate the screen, and some battles can get confusing because of the large number of enemies onscreen. However, "The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing" is still a surprisingly enjoyable adventure.'GRID 2'