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Victor Vran review: Your loot is your class in this addictive Diablo-like RPG

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 5, 2015
You know what? I'm starting to think that the original Diablo III release being a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad game (or at least being perceived that way) was potentially the best thing that could've happened to the action-RPG genre.

Also, scythes. Because scythes are the most badass type of weapon, and always will be.

Leveling up gives you more health, more item slots, or more "Destiny Points." Destiny Points/Cards are yet another method of customization--equipping them gives you bonuses to critical chance, health regeneration, et cetera.

Victor Vran takes the loot game to its logical end, which is "Everything is loot. Literally everything you pick up is loot," a.k.a. the Borderlands approach.

The upshot is you'll swap gear more often than, say, Diablo. Since skills are tied to weapons, there's a solid reason to keep around that shotgun or that hammer in your inventory, even if you only use it once every hour or two for specific boss enemies.

This modular approach to character classes also plays into Victor Vran's other hook: Challenges. Each map is tricked out with five normal and five elite Challenges--everything from "Find six secrets" to "Slay fifty monsters within 120 seconds with a hammer." They're entirely optional, they're pretty much entirely for bragging rights, and yet I can't stop trying to finish them. I've restarted maps upwards of a dozen times just to complete some pointless Challenge.

I'm pretty sure Challenges are what's keeping me hooked to Victor Vran, because it sure isn't the story. I started writing an entire review of Victor Vran focused on the story, and quickly realized what a mistake that would be--because it really doesn't matter. Diablo is a dumb game with dumb lore. Victor Vran is even dumber.

You play as Victor Vran. You kill monsters. And also Victor is voiced by Doug Cockle, the guy who voices Geralt for us English-speaking Witcher players. There's something about a queen screwing up her kingdom, a ghost who spouts Nietzsche, and a narrator known only as "The Voice" who does a silly Stanley Parable imitation, but it's all largely inconsequential. If you're not here to click on enemies and watch them die, you're definitely not going to stick around for the story.

I do have some quibbles. For instance, each area is actually a massive hub and four or five smaller sub-levels. Not a problem. But for some reason the game re-hides the map and repopulates all the enemies in the hub world if you go back to the shop to sell anything or if you quit the game. I understand you don't necessarily want a loot-based game to have levels devoid of enemies, but it led to me playing the game in a very specific way--completing all five Challenges on the hub world and discovering all sublevels, then accessing those sublevels from the level select screen instead of running back to them across the hub. It's a bit of a cheat.


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