Peerless Vampire Killers: Van Helsing II

By Adam Smith on May 12th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

The latest trailer for The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II plays out like an advertisement for a monster hunting seminar. An encouraging pitchman takes budding slayers through their development options, suggesting that some might want to try out a spot of thaumaturgy while ensuring that their pet chimera is cleverly utilised and well-fed. The benefits of companionship are outlined, as are new crafting and enchantment systems. Dedicated Drac-dusters may be slightly irked when the host recommends they abandon their solitary lifestyles in order to brush up on their people skills so that they can command and train armies – the world’s at war now and the stakes are higher than ever.

John enjoyed the first game well enough and his hands-on with this sequel left him in good spirits.

If the level I’ve played is indicative of the general tone of the next game, I think they may have really found their groove. As someone who mostly can’t stand tower defence, I’m really impressed with how it implemented ideas from it into the level, while never making it feel overt. Although despite this, and despite the size of the area, it did become a touch repetitive by the end of its hour and a half or so.

The first game took a while to reveal that it had a tower defense mechanic underlying its ARPG fundamentals but the up-front emphasis on training troops and managing mobs suggests the slow-burn might have been abandoned. These continuing adventures, credible or not, will burn like a flagon of Greek fire.

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14 Comments »

  1. Eight Rooks says:

    The weird thing is -

    The first game took a while to reveal that it had a tower defense mechanic underlying its ARPG fundamentals

    - it really didn’t. It was a minigame in between the odd couple of stages here and there which was practically optional. I always thought it was strange they were making such a fuss about it the first time around, and it seems even stranger now they’re pushing it as a Thing. Still. Might get this at some point, but hearing they’re also doubling down on the grating pop-culture jokes really did put me off buying it on release. Daft, irreverent humour’s fine; the first game had a damn sight more personality than Torchlight II. Three Portal jokes was a bit much, though.

  2. trjp says:

    I liked the first one – I’m with Eight Rooks when he says it’s a nicer world than Torchlight’s (which has that quality of “existing just to give you a place to kill stuff”) BUT

    The original game – whilst looking quite polished and having all the game mechanics you’d expect of an ARPG – had a plethora of issues in terms of balance and ‘fluff’

    It would swing from tedious to nail-grindingly hard with abandon – you spent FAR too much time running away/circle strafing and very little time ‘thinking about strategy’ – a lot of the upgrades/perks etc. were trivial/pointless/outright harmful (example – your sidekick is almost completely useless and can be ‘improved’ to be even less than that!)

    What I’d like to hear is that the sequel takes place in the same world but that they’re spent some time making the game work better. The pieces were there but needed some effort spent to make them more interesting (it didn’t help that some of the pieces were DLC in the first game either)

    If that’s not happened – if we have the same ‘game’ with new places – I’m oot…

  3. Rhygadon says:

    The two main voice actors from the original were excellent, so it’s good to hear the same voice for the protagonist in this trailer. His level of commitment to the dialogue is impressive. But there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance in hearing that same gritty, urgently breathy tone of voice used for the parts about “loot” and “multiplayer modes” …

  4. SkittleDiddler says:

    The first one was a bit of a tedious grindfest, even for an ARPG. And I couldn’t play it on my system without it crashing every fifteen minutes or so. Think I’ll pass on a second helping.

  5. gravity_spoon says:

    I know I am going to get hate from RPS circlejerks for saying this but first one was a shit game in so many ways that its awkward to see a sequel being made. It was horribly optimized, bugs ran amok in quests which forbid completion, there was no enemy AI except “jihadi” behaviour, tank-chug potion-kill was the only way to play effectively, enchanting was useless and easily undermined by level upgrades, shit to nothing itemization, horrendous hit-detection and many more. I asked again and again at various forums where Valkyrie_Neocore (their official community manager) spammed post about this game if any of the above mentioned issues are going to be fixed, and no surprise, I or others never got any reply. I am an arpg fan and perhaps I should not listen to RPS when they like a game so much without mentioning a single issues it had.

    • Borodin says:

      Hmm. You say you don’t like Van Helsing? It sounds more as though you get upset when people don’t do as you tell them.

      • gravity_spoon says:

        Looks like you get upset when you see a post about how shitty your precious little game was and your arsehole of devs havent bothered to even promise fixing its problems. And your precious little of RPS hivemind is singing praises about them. Yeah seems like that is the case.

  6. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Don’t you think this looks more like a big expansion than a sequel? No new classes is a bit odd. I hope it won’t feel like the exact same experience, then it’s just like starting the first game at level 1.

  7. Reinaert says:

    Am I the only one who caught the Bad Brains reference in the title? Nice.

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