games / Previews

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 (PC) Preview

March 29, 2014 | Posted by Marc Morrison

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Coming out in the middle of last year, the original Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing probably didn’t make the splash it could have. The market for loot-driven action RPG’s is a strong one, but also fickle, with not many people getting deep into VH1,or bothering to play it at all. I find this a bit of a shame; I reviewed the game on its release and found it a fun game with some rough edges. Well, the sequel is almost upon us, so I can give you a few thoughts on this soon to be released game.

The mantra of “more, more, more!” seems to heavily play into the approach of Van Helsing 2. At boot up, you’re given a character creation system, which is something new. VH1 had, at launch, only one class, and you dumped points into only one of two skill trees (melee/ranged and magic). Van Helsing 2 has six starting character classes, with the options to import your VH1 character (which is a 7th class), or just the option to create a custom class. The initial classes are: Blade, Gunslinger, Spellkeeper, Adeptus, Bombardier, and Contraptionist. If you decide to import a VH1 character, that class is a Hunter. The Hunter, Blade and Gunslinger share the same talent trees, and trick/aura systems. The difference is how the initial points are allotted. Spellkeeper and Adeptus share a skill tree, as do Bombardier/Contraptionist, but the differences are initial point allotment, and starting skills.

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Gameplay is almost exactly the same as from the first game though. You can switch between two weapons, have three skills in a quick select fashion and can power them up using rage to do different effects. You still have two tricks also which are basically survival spells you can use, when you’re in a jam. You go around the level facing groups of enemies, killing them as you try to survive and picking up the loot they drop.

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The loot is something I should mention, actually. Not every piece has a description, which is fine (it’s a preview version after all), but man there is a lot of it. If you think the Loot 2.0 system in Diablo 3 is nuts, the drop rate in this game is positively insane. After almost every encounter at least one piece of gear dropped for me, sometimes two or three. Legendaries (orange) items are still rare, but blue (uncommon) and yellow (epic) items drop all the time.

Visuals and audio are about the same from the first game. The game does seem slightly prettier, but some things are hard to pick out from one another (like elevators). The voice work has the same actors, which I actually kind of appreciate. These people clearly are European, but it adds an authenticity to the game’s Romania-esque setting.

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Ultimately, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 is exactly more Van Helsing action for you to get into. I like the series and the gameplay, so it suits me just fine. The expanded nature of the character classes is great, as is the deeply blown out nature of the skill trees themselves. New enemy types, rune crafting, a non-linear story and a metric ton of gear drops will make this a highly customizable game upon its release, that I look forward to diving into.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 is due out on April 7th.

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Marc Morrison

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