Just last month, Diablo fans received the thrilling news that Diablo 3 would be hitting Nintendo Switch imminently. This portable version of the action RPG means that addicted gamers can battle the forces of Hell wherever they roam, complete with all of the add-on content for good measure.
Until now there hasn’t been much in the way of Diablo-style isometric action on the Switch, so it’s kind of typical that Victor Vran: Overkill Edition has also just hit Nintendo’s console. This relentless gorefest delivers similar heart-hammering, thumb-wrecking gameplay to Blizzard’s series, with enough little quirks and cool features to help set it apart. And in this Overkill form, you get the two expansions loving slapped on top of the main campaign, to keep you busy for quite some time.
It’s the end of the world as we know it (again)
Victor Vran’s story, much like Diablo’s, can basically be ignored completely if you like. Essentially the world has been taken over by demonic gits who delight in stripping humans of their flesh, and only a handful of ‘hunters’ remain to keep them at bay. Wor Victor is one such hunter, and at the start of the game he’s hunting for his best buddy in the town of Zagrovia. A town that’s about as pleasant to visit as Hull, thanks to the legions of the damned patrolling the streets.
Nothing particularly original or gripping, but that criticism could be aimed at pretty much any of Victor Vran’s peers. And at least this title has enough self-awareness to occasionally poke fun at the genre and its various tropes, mostly through the disembodied voice who lives inside of Victor’s head.
Hit ‘attack’, repeat
It’s all an excuse for Mr Vran to get out a bloody big sword and get to slaying the demonic populace, anyhow. And the action is thankfully highly addictive, in the same vein as Diablo.
First up, the controls are very slick. It took me a while to adjust to the A is jump, X is basic attack setup – and I couldn’t find any obvious way to change the scheme to suit your personal preferences. But just a couple of hours of play was enough for me to get over it. And once you’re settled, making Victor roll, jump and dodge around the screen is second nature.
Each level has a main objective to complete, which usually involves simply getting from A to B, as well as powerful bosses to take down. However, on the way you’ll also have a number of unique challenges to complete, in return for riches and rewards. For instance, you might have to slay 50 enemies with a ranged weapon, or discover a set number of secret areas. It’s these challenges that add another layer of fun to Victor Vran, encouraging you to adopt new tactics for every dungeon.
As well as your standard attack, Victor can also bust out powered attacks with each weapon. You also have a special Overkill power which can activated when your power bar is filled (something which is affected by your chosen class), as well as bombs, potions and the usual helpful inventory items to keep you alive and kicking.
Level me up, baby
Sadly Victor Vran doesn’t offer the same complex loot system as Diablo, although you’ll find plenty of great weapons as you battle through the game. Scythes, lightning guns; you’re bound to find something that suits your particular style of demon slaying. Although early on you’re best sticking with swords, as their combination of speed and power make it much easier to slice through the demon hordes.
And of course you can level up Victor by taking down as many gribblies as humanly possible. Each time you jump a level, you can boost your powers using the nifty card system – I preferred to concentrate on my critical attacks, until soon I was dealing out crits every other blow and sending enemies fleeing in terror.
As mentioned before, this Overkill edition also packs in two DLC packs: Fractured Worlds and Motorhead Through The Ages. The first is a take-it-or-leave-it effort which basically gives you randomly generated dungeons to smash your way through, while raising the level cap. However, Motorhead is an absolutely batsh*t crazy adventure hosted by the legendary Lemmy (RIP) and – get this, right – Lloyd fricking Kaufman. And while proceedings don’t quite reach Troma levels of grimness and hilarity, there’s enough craziness here to more than warrant a complete playthrough. Headbanging enemies and laser gun guitars? Yes, please.
These demon-slaying bloodfests are always best enjoyed with friends of course, and Victor Vran serves up multiplayer support as expected. You can hook up with a buddy with local co-op or join three others if you hop online using the Switch’s new paid service. I didn’t get the chance to test these modes, but the single player experience is thankfully solid enough that I never grew bored.
Victor Vran may not feel quite as complex or polished as Diablo, but this is a gripping slash-fest that’ll keep you entertained through any long commute or well into the wee hours. The challenge system helps to keep the game feeling fresh, while the addition of the bonus content is a nice touch.