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.