In May 2013, a surprising action-RPG called The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing launched on PCs. While not a beloved title, a lot of gamers found its mix of fast action and quirky humor to be refreshing in a genre filled with dark, apocalyptic storylines. Players followed the son of the legendary vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing, as he combated the same kinds of monsters his father had years ago. There was a frenetic feel to the combat, a decent amount of good humor in the dialogue, and some interesting weapons that were not often seen in action-RPGs like this one.
That, however, was four years ago and many other titles have come out in the action-RPG genre and improved upon the formula that games like Diablo helped make famous. So the question is, why try to put out a complete package on a new console? Regardless of what the reason is, putting out a “complete version” for the PS4 is what NeocoreGames did. The game had already been released on Xbox One in 2015, and getting a four-year old PC game and two-year old console game carries with it its own preconceived notions and issues right off the bat. The biggest issue I have with The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is that it just isn’t all that fun anymore.
The game starts in a rather rushed fashion as you watch a cutscene and get dropped into the action. From there, you fight monsters and clean out the city of baddies. This is fairly straightforward and expected when it comes to games like this. The normal formula for an action-RPG involves a lot of combat, loot, and experience points. While The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has those pieces, it doesn’t implement them in any exciting ways. For starters, the combat on the PS4 is magnificently boring.
Holding down an attack button and pressing some special moves on occasion is never going to be an exciting gameplay experience. However, games like Torchlight have proven that this can be done effectively if the combat onscreen is exciting and engaging. This game, however, has a bland color palate of browns and greys that makes it boring to watch and boring to play.
One of the best parts of any action-RPG is leveling up and getting new abilities. While The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has three different classes, none of them feel particularly exciting. Where other action-RPGs had me recreating characters to see all their moves and talents, I felt like I had my fill of characters in this game after a few levels. None of the moves are all that exciting and I often felt like I was being cheated when I got a new skill. Instead of feeling powerful, I felt just as I did before I leveled, only now I had a new button to press that would cause a different explosion to happen than the one I was making before. Oh goodie.
One of the largest issues I ran into with the PS4 version of the game is performance. Aside from not looking as good as its PC counterpart, despite being a four-year-old game, it doesn’t run particularly well either. I had a lot of frame rate issues and performance dips while playing and that wasn’t even when a lot of mobs were on screen. I’d be fighting maybe four or five mobs and the frame rate would chug. This was something I never dealt with on the PC version and its unfortunate to see it happen to an older game being rereleased on a new console.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing was a fun game when it came out for the PC in 2013. It was a hack and slash RPG that gave players yearning for more Diablo something to bide their time while great titles came out to refresh the genre. No one will say that this game changed or evolved the genre upon release, but it was fun and worth playing for the action-RPG crowd. However, the same cannot be said about the PS4 version. This is a poor port of a decent game that should be avoided. There are other action-RPGs to play on the PS4 with better performance that offer better value and experiences. Stay away from this version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and either get the PC version or pop in Diablo III instead.