The Incredible ARGs Of Victor Vran Helsing

One morning in mid-February, John demanded that I point him in the direction of a “good ARPG”. I briefly considered mocking up a new title page for DOTA 2, convinced that the in-game graphics were ARPGish enough to fool him, but I didn’t go through with it. While the idea of John stumbling through a MOBA match is enormously entertaining, I’m not a very good fraudster.

Instead, I suggested he check out Victor Vran. And he did. Now, Vran is receiving a coop update and superficially similar slay ’em up The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is receiving a second sequel.

John’s thoughts are worth reading in full but here’s a snippet:

But this is already, accounting for its large holes, a splendid time. The combat is pleasingly involved, despite fitting neatly onto the comparatively simple button selection of a gamepad. The enemies are plentiful and brightly splattered in the grim locales (although I think having every damned skellington need to be killed twice is a touch tedious). And best of all are the five challenges for every location, constantly adding an extra level of motivation for the click-click-clicking (or tap-tap-tapping).

While it’s certainly true that most games can benefit from the addition of a cooperative partner, ARPGs benefit more than most. Partly it’s the interplay of abilities and classes, but mostly it’s so that you can natter about the latest episode of The Americans, Masterchef or Steven Universe while all that click-click-clicking takes place in the background.

As for Van Helsing, I hadn’t realised the third game was coming out so soon. It’ll be with us in May, and includes new classes with names like Umbralist and Phlogistoneer. A Phlogistoneer is very much like an RPS writer – a Blogistoneer – but with a firmer exoskeleton. You can see ol’ Phlogisto and the Umbralist in the trailer below.

John’s the man to turn to for words about that one as well.


  1. Big Murray says:

    When did ARG stop meaning “Artificial Reality Game”?

    • Luke says:

      It’s never meant that.

      ARG stands for “Alternate Reality Game”.

      • Anthile says:

        Or the noise you make when you stub your toe on the doorframe.

      • Big Murray says:

        My iPad likes to autocorrect.

        When did it stop meaning Alternate Reality Game?

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          Arnvidr says:

          I don’t think it ever stopped. The title of this article is just a play on Argh, I think, using the ARPG genre in the article itself, which as far as I know always stood for Action RPG.

    • JesterRaiin says:

      The day someone thought “Alternate Reality Game” or “Augmented Reality Game” are more fitting term. ;]

  2. Anthile says:

    I don’t think I can play those anymore. After Din’s Curse, anything else seems hollow in comparison.

  3. trn says:

    Bought the first Van Helsing in a Humble Bundle sale. Didn’t think I would play it. Installed it one day when I was bored and played nothing else for about 3 months. Clocked up about 120 hours in the end. I still don’t know what else to say other than it was so much more than it should have been. The difficulty was pitched just right, it looked and sounded great and I was really impressed with Neocore who made it – they were constantly communicating with players on their forums and on Steam and clearly love the games they make. I can’t wait for part 3!

    Sorry. This is my ‘rant about it to anyone’ game.

  4. mgardner says:

    I sincerely hope an Umbralist is a fancy gentleman who slays demons with his umbrella.

  5. manio22 says:

    Phlo..phlogi…what?Do you get +10 to all stats just by correctly spellings his name?

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Phlogiston is one of my favorite pseudo-science hypotheses, where people went to ridiculous lengths to avoid rethinking their ideas based on results, the very thing that science is based on.

      Before the discovery of oxygen, people didn’t know why things burned and why they stopped burning after a while. One dude, Johann Joachim Becher, said 1667 that it’s because of the substance he called phlogiston and that all burnable objects have it. When something burns, the phlogiston goes away and that lead to some rather weird conclusions. Objects get heavier when they have burned (they get oxidized) that would mean that phlogistion has a negative weight. That is bonkers, but since reality must fit with one’s great idea (instead of the other way around) that is the only “logical” conclusion.

      This theory was dominant for more than a hundred years. Luckily, another dude, Lavoisier found out in the 1780’s that oxygen was what caused things to burn.

      • airmikee says:

        The term was also used in AD&D’s Spelljammer expansion to describe the ‘ocean of elements’ the planetary systems floated within.

  6. scannerbarkly says:

    I really enjoy Victor Vran, it’s an ARPG with a lot of focus on the action side of things. Been waiting for multiplayer to land for some time now.

  7. MaXimillion says:

    Right now, the only ARPG I want to play is Path of Exile, since they’re about to release the best feature ever.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I really hoped that was going to be a link to cats on critical hits.