Victor Vran is an isometric, SteamPunk styled action-RPG that was originally released on Steam in 2015 and features a plethora of weaponry, items, outfits and demon powers which allows the player to tailor the game to their own liking. The Overkill edition features the main game and the subsequently released DLC and is now available on the Nintendo Switch.
Victor Vran tends to get compared to Diablo III quite a lot, which is understandable. Both are isometric, top-down action-RPGs but with a few noticeable differences. It’s these tweaks which makes Victor Vran feel more unique and not just another dungeon crawler trying to get a bite of the Diablo pie.
Instead of picking a set class such as a Scout. a Wizard or a Swordsman, the player is instead able to swap out different weapons which alter the way the game plays. From fast-moving swords to long ranged firearms to the slow but devastating hammers; Victor Vran offers a number of different playstyles which can be further altered by changing Victor’s main outfit. This mechanic sets Victor Vran apart from your average action-RPG; a welcome addition for someone as indecisive like me. Having the ability to switch styles on a whim suits me down to the ground. And of course, there’s nothing saying that you have to change your style. If you want to stick to close range then you can.
I’ve yet to notice any limit to the number of weapons Victor can carry – so equipping for any occasion is pretty easy. Though, that assumes you can resist the alluring temptation to sell your inventory for more gold.
Players looking for an additional challenge can also enable Hexes. These can be turned on and off in the inventory screen and will add an extra level of difficulty to the game such as enemies that are harder to kill or Victor will periodically lose health. Some might think this is a little crazy, but the payoff is worth it: extra loot! And realistically, that’s what everyone is after in a game like this.
Of course, weaponry, spells and hexes aside, it’s important to make mention of the monsters in Victor Vran. During the course of the game, you’ll encounter hordes of creatures that you’ll need to destroy in vast numbers. An early mission finds you destroying a number of spider eggs, with tonnes of the 8-legged beasts swarming you. With perhaps fifty of the god-forsaken creatures on screen, I didn’t notice any slowdown or loss of frames in handheld mode.
One of the biggest issues I find with Switch ports is that the GUI in handheld mode is often too small. Victor Vran also suffers from this problem. While I’ve played games which are much worse it’s clear that the game has been predominantly designed for the big screen – shrinking everything down to a 6.2-inch display doesn’t do the text any favours. Reading in-game text – while not exactly strenuous – may cause issues for some players. A lot of areas rely on text-heavy descriptions such as demon abilities and weapon descriptions.
Graphically speaking, Victor Vran is a fairly good looking game. The attention to detail is impressive and really lends to the atmosphere of the world that the devs have created. Leaves can be seen falling from trees while exquisite paintings adorn the walls in the main castle. With this being said, however, the tone of the game is dark and gritty so it has the grey overwash that feels ever present in many modern titles; though permeated with brighter offerings of colour.
For those who enjoy a good couch gaming session, Haemimont Games has also included an online and offline multiplayer mode allowing up to four friends to drop in and hunt together. A trick that I feel is often left out in the cold in modern games. It’s a great addition and I feel a given for the genre.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a great entry in the library of Switch games. Although it’s been out for a while there are gamers that may not have given it a go and the lure of the Switch’s handheld modes means you can dispatch the demons of hell on the go. While the action can seem a little small in handheld mode it looks great on the big screen and runs perfectly well without any lag. With so many combinations of weapons, outfits and spells, there’s bound to be a playstyle for everyone. It’s by no means Diablo III but it does a good job none-the-less.