I was confused when I first loaded up Victor Vran. Not because I didn’t know what I was doing, more that I didn’t know what I was playing. The reason? Titular monster-hunter come demon-slayer Victor Vran is voiced by Doug Cockle who many will instantly recognise as the voice behind iconic Witcher, Geralt.
Now if you told me I was playing a spin-off of the Witcher series, I would have believed you. Let’s look at that facts; the game is set in an alternate past where monsters, demons and other nasties have started running riot and it’s your job to pursue and end them. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I thought, hence the confusion.
Haemimont Games, having worked on past titles such as the Tropico series, bring Victor Vran in its complete form to the Switch – full to the brim with extra content. More on that later, first of all, let’s take a look at what Victor Vran is in more detail.
Like I mentioned, you play as Vran and it is your job to liberate the cursed city of Zagoravia from all manner of evil. Set as a top-down RPG, you begin to understand that this isn’t your average top-down adventure game. You choose how you want to play with outfits giving you different abilities, weapons granting different advantages and disadvantages and a levelling system that doesn’t force you down one particular route.
For instance, you can wield a shotgun running around like a crazy medieval Duke Nukem (which I did) or you can wield a sword or hammer and get up close and personal to your foes. Added to which a sharp fedora-topped outfit allows your demon powers to recharge slowly over time or a hunters outfit will charge your powers whenever you get hit. Using your demon powers on a large group of monsters is also very satisfying, especially splatting a swarm of spiders with a meteor shower! To top it off, each new level allows you to boost a given attribute such as ranged damage, health points or to get a loot chest – of which the content is random.
It’s little things like this that allow you to tailor the game around how you like to play and tackle each mission differently. Each level/area will also have challenges for you to complete which will grant bonus experience points, gold or other boosts to help you on your way.
Now whilst Victor Vran won’t set the genre alight, more likely sit amongst other great top-down titles, it does prove a massive point. That being that these sort of games can work and thrive on the Switch, which it does. Throughout testing, I played in handheld mode and the whole thing ran smoothly and rather quickly. Navigation wasn’t hard, nor was controlling Vran or the camera which made it so easy to play that I just kept going. One area would lead to another and I easily found myself losing a couple of hours at a time taking out skeletons, spiders and other ghostly beings.
The combat is quite intense too and doesn’t allow you to pause for breath for very long. If you stay stationary for too long you can quickly find yourself surrounded so staying mobile is always advisable, finding a brief respite where you can. This is one of the things which will keep you going as each fight is unique, requiring a different tactic each time.
In this, the Overkill Edition, Victor Vran comes with a host of extra content for you to tackle. Upon starting out you are given the choice of playing the base campaign, a campaign which is inspired by and revolves around the band Motorhead (paying tribute to the late metal legend, Lemmy) and finally the Fractured Worlds mode where everything takes an even more chaotic turn. Considering that the game can also be played online, there are many different things to play and ways in which to do so making this a great outing and addition to the Switch’s ever-expanding list of titles.
My only worry is over the pricing as this sits at £34.99 meaning it’s competing with the bigger and stronger titles out there, including Nintendo’s own strong first-party outings. Would people buy it at this price? It’s unlikely. Would I recommend buying it at this price? I don’t think so, maybe if it was more like half of that, which is a shame, as it may get overlooked until a price drop further down the line. If that does happen, however, I would recommend playing Victor Vran as I’m sure you’ll enjoy this charming adventure through Zagoravia.
Whilst Victor Vran won’t set the genre alight, more likely sit amongst other great top-down titles, it does prove a massive point:
These sort of games can work and thrive on the Switch.