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Best of E3: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

On the second-to-last day at E3, the Tech-Gaming crew had a little bit of time to kill, so we wandered around the West Hall to see what surprises we might have overlooked. Tucked away in the back corner, hidden behind the glitz and splendor of the Big Three, we found a tiny, forgotten booth for a small Hungarian studio called Neocore Games. They invited us in and gave me a chance to try out their flagship title, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.

The game actually follows the son of Gabriel Van Helsing, the famous monster hunter, as he slogs a demon-infested 19th Century Europe to reach Brogovia in order to stop a new evil from razing all of Eastern Europe. The build I got to sit down with seemed to cut the difference between the Diablo-style “mouse-click/loot-grab” mechanics and Hunter: The Reckoning’s strategic-action-oriented combat. Players will juggle a host of ranged weapons, swords and spells in order to take down the hordes of grotesque monsters as you slay your way to Brogovia.

The art-style is very unique, and was one of the things that made the game so memorable against the backdrop of samey games that we saw at this year’s Expo. I had never played a Hungarian videogame before, and so I really wouldn’t have known what to expect as far as visual conventions, but Van Helsing’s art direction was striking. The environments were dark and whimsical, living somewhere in between a classic Tim Burton set and a gritty Western game. The enemies were distorted, mechanized versions of classic monsters, like werewolves and vampires, while Van Helsing and other allied characters had a much softer, almost Asian inspiration to their facial and wardrobe design. The juxtaposition should have been jarring, but it all seemed to fit together very well.

My biggest take-away from my hands-on time was that this game is going to be tough. There is a lot more to the combat than clicking on the thing you want dead until it falls over. Players are expected to manage their distance, facing, spells and weapons all in real time while mobs of really tough monsters gang up on the young Van Helsing. There’s a pretty in-depth levelling system that allows for a great deal of customization, but I didn’t really get a chance to dive into that on the show floor. I also didn’t get a chance to play the game using an 360 controller, but could confirm support, since the game is releasing on both PC and XBLA. I’m not entirely sure how the game will map to a controller, but in my dreams, it controls just like the old Hunter games on XBOX.

The pre-alpha build was very promising. Needless to say, I’ll be looking forward to picking it up at the end of this year.

About Sean Kirkland

A Tulane-educated Master of Architecture and Monster Hunter apologist, Sean "SeanNOLA" Kirkland might have relocated to trendy Angeleno suburbs, but his heart remains entrenched in the Crescent City.

27 comments

  1. Quick grab a weapon, we’re getting surround by Diablo clones!

  2. “I had never played a Hungarian videogame before”

    Wait, you didn’t play Zen Pinball? You guys reviewed it!

    • I’m pretty sure you played a game from Appaloosa Interactive.

      Ecco the Dolphin, C: The Contra Adventure, Three Dirty Dwarves, or Tiny Tank: Up Your Arsenal? I’m pretty sure you’ve mentioned these on the podcast.

  3. Sean, I think it’s cool you let us know about a game that the big sites will probably overlook, but you could have told us more than just it’s kind of like Hunter: The Reckoning and Diablo.

    • He said it was hard as well and that the game is coming to XBLA.

    • Hopefully, I’ll have more to say once the game hits shelves. The game isn’t very far along yet, so I couldn’t get into much detail. Chances are, most of what I saw will see some degree of change before the final product.

      • So between Des’ love for the Czech Republic’s Arma 3 and you digging Hungarian games, you’re not interested in Japanese games anymore?

  4. You guys are just a little late on your E3 coverage. Still good job finding a game that might go overlooked.

  5. Money says his dad makes a cameo.

  6. But have you played a game that was developed in South Africa????

  7. I don’t what everyone’s complaining about. Sean’s preview is better than Team Xbox’s and OXM’s:

    http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/25836/The-Incredible-Adventures-Of-Van-Helsing-Coming-To-XBLA/

    http://www.oxmonline.com/incredible-adventures-van-helsing-preview

    And he doesn’t make fun of the way Hungarian’s say “loot”.

  8. Gaming is big here in Hungary. Some mentioned major games but also there is many independent developers. You should come visit Budapest.

  9. Definitely something I’ll demo. Still haven’t tried of the loot hunts.

  10. So the big thing with D3 is how easy it is to get into a MP game. Will Van Helsing be the same?

  11. I’m not sure about “Incredible”, but it just might turn out to be “very good”.

  12. This and Diablo 3 should come with a free mouse because these types of games turn your button into mush. It’s not pretty.

  13. Thanks SNola, good preview.

  14. Is there going to be a open or even closed beta? A key giveaway?