Victor Vran hit the scene in July 2015, and was a surprisingly enjoyable game. Developed by Haemimont Games, the brilliant minds behind the Tropico series, it seemed like a Diablo-esque ARPG would be a completely different direction for the studio. Still, fans and critics enjoyed the title—so much so that it got revamped, repackaged and brought back with local and online co-op along with two expansions, making this the definitive edition of the game.
That’s high praise for sure, and depending on whom you talk to, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is mindless in every sense of the word. That’s not criticism; rather, it’s just cheesy in every way imaginable. The base game follows Victor Vran, a demon hunter who returns to the city of Zagoravia to help deal with a demon problem. No one is sure where it all went wrong, but Victor, the demon hunter with demon powers, is here to save the day.
Players traverse a town inspired by Victorian London, taking out hoards of demons, spiders, demon spiders, and the like with a variety of weapons. This is all done from a top down view. Players unlock a variety of moves and Terra cards that give Victor an extra boost. There’s actually quite a bit that lends itself to different play styles, though I found it can be rather exploitable if players stick to ranged weapons. Still, the game is frantic and fun, and when you throw in some extra players via co-op (local or online) it creates a pseudo-Gauntlet feeling, which is always welcome.
But everyone has already experienced the base game by now. If you’re interested in picking up Victor Vran: Overkill Edition it’s not just to play the base game, and the expansions will definitely tickle your interest. In fact, immediately after my copy of the game installed I started one of the extra worlds before playing the original game.
That world was titled Motorhead Throughout the Ages, and oh boy, did it not disappoint. In terms of gameplay, this is Victor Vran at his most Victor Vran, and it’s the dumbest, most amazing thing to happen to video games. You see, long ago, there was a protector of the city (which really looks like London again) that bore a striking resemblance to the Motorhead logo. One day, it stopped working and things got out of hand quickly. That’s because an evil Fuhrer that bears a resemblance to an infamous Austrian dictator took this as an opportunity to conquer the world with a healthy mix of Second World War military actions and some old-fashioned hell demons for good measure. This is a dark time for the world, so the late great Lemmy Kilmister, who while being the front man for Motorhead also found the time to be the leader of the revolution, called upon Victor Vran to save the world.
Playing through this expansion was bittersweet to say the least. As a fan of Motorhead, I couldn’t help but tear up whenever a Lemmy quote was read by someone else. That feeling of slight sadness over the fallen rock star went away rather quickly when the quote was anti-politics or anarchistic in some fashion. In a way, it feels like it shouldn’t be otherwise, but it does end up adding a healthy dose of cheese. The entire soundtrack for this expansion is hardcore Motorhead—which is amazing—and some of the weaponry compliments the expansion’s rock n’ roll origins.
Victor Vran: Motorhead Throughout the Ages, in all of its glorious ridiculousness, also pushes a very anti-war theme, and in a way that’s noble. Throughout the playthrough, both Victor and Lemmy (through notes read by a bartender) muse on the horrors of war and the human price that is paid. The only problem is, it tries to be deeper than it is. While it’s a clear anti-war commentary, the content is always so base level that it feels unexplored. Still, for such a silly expansion, it’s an interesting route to take.
The other expansion wasn’t met with the same reception as Motorhead Throughout the Ages, but it might actually be the stronger title. Fractured Worlds follows Victor, as he turns to a demon to aid him, but whatever dark magic item this demon had was destroyed and spread across a world that was fractured (get it?) across multiple realities. It’s simple and to the point, which really helps with a title like this.
Victor Vran: Fractured Worlds features daily changing dungeons and a new item type called talismans. On top of that, it ups the level cap to 60 and introduces some new enemies. Overall, this turned out to be the expansion that I enjoyed the most, which is really hard for the Motorhead fan in me to admit.
The only problem is that, despite the small changes here and there, there is not a lot of variety in terms of level designs. There are some obvious changes in screen tint, and each expansion along with the base game does differentiate itself enough that it’s not completely noticeable, but when sitting down and playing through Victor Vran: Motorhead Throughout the Ages and Fractured Worlds one after the other, a lot of the areas start to run together.
Despite that, each entry features their own unique intro cutscenes that look straight out of a comic book. They’re shown through almost unanimated still images with a hand drawn aesthetic. These set the tone for each storyline, and offer unique designs that are a joy to watch from a complete visual perspective. The voice acting in these left a little to be desired however. Whether it’s in the cutscenes or throughout the game, the dialogue is actually embarrassing to listen to, and the delivery wasn’t fantastic either. On that front, it feels awkward and forced, but a little bit can be forgiven for the material.
Still, for what it is, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a lot of fun, even with its flaws. It’s goofy and unafraid to be cheesy in almost every way imaginable. While players can find better options in the ARPG genre, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is a unique title unafraid to do something different, and as a comprehensive package including the game’s expansions, there’s a lot of content to enjoy.