The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II – Preview
Follow Genre: action, role-playing
Developer: NeocoreGames
Publisher: NeocoreGames
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox 360

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II – Preview

Good: cool environment, funny
Bad: complicated skill system
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When we think about action-roleplay dungeon crawlers, a lot of people will have the Diablo series at mind. NeocoreGames however is planning to release the second game in their series. Yes, I’m talking about the Van Helsing games! Their first game was a big success and I had the chance to play the closed beta of their second game in the series, which releases somewhere in April.


The first game ends with a major cliffhanger set in a steampunk environment. Following that course, the beta starts in what seems to be an old industrial city. You start off your game by selecting one of the 6 premade beta classes, you can even import your old character from the original Van Helsing!

The 6 classes are Blade, Gunslinger, Spellkeeper, Adeptus, Bombardier and Contraptionist. The Blade is your typical melee character that you stumble upon in a lot of games. The hunter is, well, a hunter! You excel in ranged combat and slows. Spellkeeper and Adeptus are typical mages, they utilize spells and crowd control in order to stay alive on the battlefield. At last, the Bombardier and Contraptionist are like engineers. The bombardier is a mechanic focused on medium to long range attacks and the Contraptionist uses gun turrets and pets on the fly. When you start, your gear and talents are set for you, the only thing left for you is to kill! Seeing as Van Helsing II follows up the original game, you continue leveling from level 30, which was the maximum level in the first game.

When you create your character, you are dropped in some kind of factory. The story here is pretty absent, but of course this is subjected to change. Somehow, the factory is being attacked by General Harker. Because you’re a total badass, you decide to defend the factory against hordes of player triggered monsters. The story doesn’t really get better than that in the beta, other than some side quests here and there where you take out some important targets or rescue npc’s. Eventually, you get overwhelmed and you have to retreat, poor Van Helsing.

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After a few minutes of playing, you might find yourself looking at an npc that has hurt his knee somehow. Yes, it’s the all famous Skyrim reference. Aside from that little attempt of humor, the dialogues between Van Helsing and the commander and his ghost Katarina are pretty funny. Van Helsing is pretty sarcastic and straight forward in a time that knows no peace, which is all the funnier.

It takes a while to get used to the UI and all the different spell if you’re a newcomer. But once you get going, it’s a really enjoyable game. The closed beta is played in only 1 area and features about 1 – 2 hours of gameplay. A lot of items and skills are still missing names and artwork, and the items seem to have really bad stats as well, so this will probably be tweaked before the game releases. The environment however looks really cool, everything looks like it’s mechanical and it’s pretty dark. This gives the game a really grim, mysterious and gothic-y atmosphere.

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Seeing as it’s a very short beta, it’s hard to judge it. The game could turn out really good, but it could also break the series. The little time the beta had to offer was not bad at all though. It was very fast paced and filled with monsters, a recipe for success!

The skill system is pretty complicated. Each time you level, you get some skill points. You can spend those points on basic character stats like body, dexterity, willpower and luck. Leveling also awards some points in the skill tree. There are 4 categories in the skill tree: mystic warrior (melee), occult hunter (ranged), tricks (utility) and auras (passive). You can choose to level up a skill for increased effects or you can unlock a rune of some sorts. These runes have to be activated by spending rage. These runes can include extra damage the next time you cast the skill or they can heal some HP or give mana. Besides runes, you can also unlock 2 buffs to the effect, like 10% more damage with your gun, increased fire rate and loads more! The skill system is really complex and can be used to build a huge variety of specializations.

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All in all, Van Helsing 2 looks like a pretty fun game with good graphics and scenery. The occasional blunt dialogues that Van Helsing has gives the game a unique and funny twist which will surely have you chuckle! If you’re a fan of action RPG’s, this game is one for you!

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