The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Preview

van helsing

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Let’s break down the title of this game to really examine what you’re going to be experiencing when the full title launches on May 22.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

The player begins this journey as the “young Van Helsing,” son of the famous Abraham Van Helsing from the fictional universe of Bram Stroker’s Dracula. Van Helsing is tasked with hunting monsters across the land, accompanied by his ghost/pet, Katrina. Set in fictional Borgovia, players jump between the real world and “The Ink,” an alternate dimension between the land of the living and the land of the dead.

Developed by Neocore Games – a small, Hungarian production company – Van Helsing is an un-incredible, completely typical action-RPG. Players start in a small village, which serves as a base to acquire missions, sell loot, and buy new weapons. Outside of town there are plenty of generic-looking “dungeons” chock-full of generic-looking baddies that swarm the player and hack away at his HP orb in a totally generic fashion.

van helsing

While the design is mostly forgettable, the graphics are competent and on par with what a player expects in this day and age. The world doesn’t have that sheen we’ve come to expect from Blizzard or Runic Games, but considering the size of this developer I walked away somewhat impressed. The mechanics and gameplay are tight and well done, but players will find nothing out of the ordinary in terms of play style.

With nothing being out of the ordinary, I wish that Neocore would have done something to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. Full-blown story-driven cinematics, a new approach to combat, or even a different crafting system (to be fair, I did not have extensive time to get into that sort of minutia) would work for me.

All this being said, what is extremely incredible about this adventure is the price tag. For a measly $15, players can get access to the world of Borgovia and all of the werewolves, mech soldiers, and creepy crawlies one could ever ask for.

another meadow

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

While the maps in the preview lack uniqueness, there is plenty to explore. Each map consists of sprawling terrain with plenty of trees, hills, swamps, and so forth. Random missions pop up throughout the map, encouraging players to explore every inch of the world. One particular mission that sticks out is an escort mission where the player brings a ghost to his dead body, only to be attacked by the ghost. The sidequest is an interesting diversion from the main mission, and serves as a great look into how much content this game could potentially have.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this adventure are the characters. Bursting at the seams with charming wit, the characters all have quirky personalities voiced by perfectly adequate actors. The fun dialogue is only held back by the lack of a true dialogue text box. Instead of the typical lower text box with animated character head, the spoken words are written out in an ugly text right over the character who is speaking. This approach to showcasing dialogue is one of the only amateur moves made by Neocore.

Of course, what most action-RPG fans clamor for is loot. And boy, there is plenty of loot. Most battles take place when a mob of 10+ creatures bum-rush the player, chipping away at HP until he can left-click, right-click, left-click all the enemies to death. After each battle, tons of loot drops, all with varying degrees of helpfulness. The amount of customization will be a delight for any statistician.


Some of the best loot players will find in Borgovia come from “The Ink,” the alternate dimension in the game. Players access The Ink through various means: the well in the town center, from items on the map outlined in purple, and after fighting certain enemies. The Ink provides a fun sidestep in the action, even if its presence isn’t completely necessary.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

What’s an adventure without a protagonist? Van Helsing is a likable protagonist, even if he is a stereotypical “stranger in town.” The premise surrounding his story is cool enough, with a sort of The Witcher vibe, but nothing about his plot stands out. That’s not a problem, though, because what I’m looking for in an aRPG is character customization. Van Helsing’s skill tree is mind-numbingly customizable in a very good way. Each attack can be individually leveled up with a couple of secondary attacks attached to each. By filling the rage meter, the player can use these secondary attacks to help when Van Helsing is surrounded by throngs of creatures. The player can also quickly switch between melee weapons and long-range weapons to customize how he’ll demolish the thousands of bad guys he’ll run up against.

katrina "o"

Van Helsing’s friend Katrina, a snarky ghost who supplements his attacks, doesn’t do much to add to the experience, but definitely doesn’t subtract. She is fully customizable as she levels up, and can be outfitted with armor and weapons. Katrina is a welcome addition, although she feels like the typical pet, as opposed to something greater. Like almost everything else in the preview build, Katrina is just another piece of the necessary puzzle, as opposed to being a great hook for the game.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing appears to be a completely competent game, but I’m left looking for some sort of hook to set it apart from the Diablos and Torchlights in the genre. While being a clone of these famous aRPGs can be a strength for Van Helsing, it may also be a weakness. The game looks to tackle the genre well, but may do absolutely nothing to improve it. With a tiny price tag, aRPGs fans will have a lot to love in the world of Borgovia, but shouldn’t expect the polish and individuality of genre leaders.


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Author: Mike Deas View all posts by
Mike is a gamer, writer and pretzel muncher. He plays on Easy, rarely completes side quests, and hates himself for relying on walkthroughs.

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