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PAX Prime 2013: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II hands-on

PAX Prime 2013

There’s an emerging market for the Diablo lite. It’s a niche for this specific grind and loot driven experience. Small Hungary developer Neocore Games are there to meet the need. Following the relative success of the budget-priced The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing earlier this year, they’ve shown up with a timely follow up, the second in what’s planned to be a three part series. We took in a demo and talked with the studio’s PR Manager.

She talked about how the studio have found their demographic. Early response has exceeded expectations and there was a healthy showing of interest in their follow-up at this year’s PAX. The first game’s only the start of this chaptered development and what we’ve played of the second feels true, exactly what the first delivered, and more of it.

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Our demo took place out in the mountain ranges. We were introduced to a new character class, the Thaumaturge, a mage archetype. His toolset expanded on the base mechanics in an iterative way. Now we could draw walls of fire around the screen with the mouse and had several new spells to cast down. Another new class has been added, assuaging complaints of only having a Van Helsing class, if that was not the first game’s principle charm.

And they’re staying rooted in the classic lore. The idea’s still true to the Van Helsing character of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The developer’s Hungarian identity comes through with this iconic setting, detailed in witty dialogues and gothic settings that separate it from others in this niche genre.

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What’s also being emphasized in the second chapter is a further exploration of Tower Defense. It comes as a progression of the developer’s early work on the King Arthur titles, to lean into some strategy elements. They had also brought an iOS title to the show, separate from the sequel that is purely a Tower Defense spin-off, called Death Trap.

Although it’s not been very long since the last episode, it’s entirely welcome to see more of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. It looks to build upon the strengths of the first title and appears to be a true continuation, with character transfer available. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II doesn’t punch above it’s weight or surprise us especially but instead is entirely content with simply being more of a good thing. And that’s exactly what all of these Diablo lites are there for.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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