Playing Critic: Rock on with 'Victor Vran,' Motorhead

Playing Critic: Rock on with 'Victor Vran,' Motorhead

At first glance, it'd be easy to dismiss "Victor Vran: Overkill Edition" as just another "Diablo" clone. But solid craftsmanship — and a few more-than-entertaining extras — results in a game well worth playing for fans of isometric action RPGS.

First off, though, who's Victor Vran? You'd think if you were going to name a game after a guy, it'd be someone people are familiar with. But in this case, nope, he's a character completely original to the game.

Victor Vran (voiced by Doug Cockle, also the voice of Geralt of Rivia in "The Witcher" series) is a demon hunter who, through circumstances eventually revealed in the game, has some demonic powers. That affliction normally makes him a bit of a outcast.

However, the kingdom of Zagoravia has fallen to evil forces, and the army of hunters sent to purge the demons has almost completely been wiped out. Vran really wants nothing to do with the situation, but a letter from one of his few friends, Adrian, compels him to visit the benighted land.

That, at least, is the story behind the game's main campaign. There are two others:

In "Motörhead: Through The Ages," Vran is drawn to the Pub at the End of the World to help accomplish Lemmy Kilmister's dream of defeating the Fuhrer.

Yes, you read that right. You get to embark on an adventure inspired by, endorsed by and partially starring the "loudest band in the world." It features the music of Motörhead, and much of the wit and wisdom of the late, much lamented Lemmy — and allows you to use electric guitars as weapons.

The other campaign is "Fractured Worlds," where you battle your way through a seemingly endless array of dungeons in order to piece together a demonic astrolabe, supposedly capable of changing the wielder's destiny.

You can switch between the three campaigns at will, using the same character and equipment in all of them.

That's more than just a perk. It's actually integral to your fun, because in the loot-centric world of Victor Vran, you'll be able to tailor his abilities to fit your personal play style, through the outfits, weapons, destiny cards and demonic powers you equip.

I, personally, have crafted my character to be a bit of a leech, by using gear where every weapon strike, every critical attack and every kill restores a bit of my health.

Common character modifiers affect your character's strength, health, critical hit chance and critical damage rate, while you can also add special, circumstantial effects, such as having massive explosions occur whenever you land a crit.

And if you choose not to play alone — another player can join you on the couch, or you can venture online with up to three others — you can see for yourself how different versions of Victor can play out.

On the visual side of things, "Victor Vran" is a beautifully illustrated game. The artwork takes advantage of the full palette of colors, and you'll never have an issue distinguishing enemies from environment or finding your path.

The monsters throughout the game behave relatively intelligently, so you can't just button-mash your way to victory. You'll have to time your attacks, dodge often and make full use of your various abilities to survive.

And you may find yourself occasionally distracted — in a good way — by enemy animations, especially if you've equipped an electric guitar and find an army of skeletons has paused to begin headbanging to your music.

Every map in the game also has challenges you can try to accomplish for extra rewards, as well as hidden secrets. In other words, there's a lot of replayability.

I could go on and on, especially about the Motörhead campaign (and yes, there's a jukebox in the Pub at the End of the World where you can listen to some of the band's fantastic catalog) but I think it's time to sum up: "Victor Vran: Overkill Edition" is a great value for the loot-crazed action RPG fan.

Joel Leizer is The News-Gazette's Playing Critic. Contact him at jleizer@news-gazette.com.

'Victor Vran: Overkill Edition'

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC.

Price: $39.99.

ESRB rating: M for mature.

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