Victor Vran Early Access review: “No story and missing crucial characters? For now it’s not worth buying”

Priced at €19.99 in Early Access, Victor Vran’s game play just isn’t innovative enough, says Emer Sugrue

Game Title: Victor Vran

Publisher: EuroVideo Medien

Reviewed On: PC

Available on: PC

Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 14:00

   

The newest release from Haemimont Games, the team behind the much-loved strategy series Tropico, is so new that it hasn’t actually been finished yet. Victor Vran is an action-RPG where you hunt monsters. Who is Victor, and why is he hunting monsters? Who knows? The game is currently available on Early Access on Steam, and seems to be very early access indeed as they haven’t added in the story yet.

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Early Access is a term open to interpretation, but considering the game is currently on sale to the public at €19.99 it’s a little insulting to claim they are holding back the story to avoid ‘spoiling’ it. It’s a particular blow to Tropico fans, as one of the best things about the series is its personality and sense of humour. Hopefully that legacy means that when they do add in the story, it will bring the whole thing to life.

Without a story or real characters it’s very hard to feel invested in any sort of RPG, and Victor Vran’s gameplay isn’t innovative enough to compensate for that. The game has lots of different maps and locations and you run around killing monsters (mostly spiders and skeletons) to gain points, complete challenges and get new powers and weapons. The weapons are different varieties of swords, guns and hammers, and you get different attacks with each one. It’s very similar in layout to other RPGs like World of Warcraft but less . . . well, just less.

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There is good potential for customisation, but nothing more than you would expect from any RPG. Different armour, different weapons, different strengths, but it’s not entirely clear what difference it all makes other than looking cool. A common issue in Early Access games is balance, and they haven’t got it quite right here. It’s goes from overly simple to death squad a bit randomly, which is more confusing than annoying. It’s something they will likely have ironed out by the official release however.

Even with potions and magic, the game involves an awful lot of clicking the mouse to squish spiders. You can go through streets, gardens, dungeons and castles, but no matter which part of the map you’re on you are essentially just walking around smashing spiders or shooting skeletons. Like a lot of RPGs, it gets very repetitive. The challenges don’t offer much variety either, despite the grand titles. Fighting your way through hoards of spiders to “slay the Chessmaster” is a bit of a let down when you find out that the Chessmaster is just a slightly bigger spider. Calling a spider “The Chessmaster” because it lives on a chessboard is giving it way too much credit frankly.

The graphics are nice but fairly simple, and while it has a large map, it doesn’t feel like a grand epic. Even so, it ran very slowly for me. Loading screens pop up frequently and take a very long time - so much so that several times I wondered if the game had crashed. While I don’t have a specialised gaming PC, my laptop should be able to run the game more comfortably than it did. Again, it’s hard to say whether this is because the game is in Early Access or not.

The verdict

It’s impossible to judge fairly while the game is missing such vital elements, but at the moment the game is quite bland and repetitive. I am curious enough about it to want to play it again (and revise my review) when it is officially completed and released, but for now it’s not worth buying. There are too many great games out there to spend your time paying to beta test.