The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III lifts a lot from isometric, dungeon-crawling, action RPGs like Diablo III and Torchlight 2. But - while it may not offer many innovations it terms of gameplay - it adds its own B-movie story set against a background of magic and technology, to create something strangely enjoyable.
Click and collect
As you begin The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III you are immediately met with that troubling decision of selecting a class. There are six classes to choose from and each has its own selection of unique abilities, such as the magical Elementalist, the melee focused Protector, and the robust robotic Phlogistoneer.
While each of these play quite differently in terms of speed, defense, and power, their controls are all quite similar - click where you want to walk, click where you want to attack, and click on icons to activate abilities (at least until you master the hotkey shortcuts). Simple.
There is even a rather good controller option if you want to feel more directly involved. But, as a traditionalist, I found the pad reduced the pace of play – each to their own though, as accessing special abilities is certainly easier with a gamepad.
Loads a loot
Mashing your way through the many varied levels you meet a good range of enemies. All have a different look, though the blood thirsty monster theme does see most of them just coming at you mindlessly. The result of this is that - if you are playing any kind of ranged character – you find yourself running around just outside the range of their attacks as they chase you around the world like a rabid kite.
When enemies die they give you experience to level your character and have a chance to drop loot. This provides the perfect reward loop, allowing you to constantly upgrade your equipment and powers.
So far, so light Diablo. And, yes, it is impossible to argue that that The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III is in anyway better than Blizzard’s classic franchise. But that is not to say that it does have its own unique charm. Its blend of science and magic is appealing, especially if you are tired of the pure fantasy the genre usually relies on. Add to this some fun, if poorly voiced, dialogue between the hero, his spirit companion Katerina, and characters in the world, and you are left with a wonderful B-movie feel.
It is hard to place The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III against others in its genre. The gameplay lifts heavily from similar titles, and it adds little new but its setting and story. That said, it is a story and setting that I enjoy, and while your mileage may vary depending on your own aesthetic preferences, its budget price certainly makes it worth a look.