Set in a Gothic-Noir Eastern Europe during the 19th century, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 is an action role playing game that builds off the success of its predecessor, which is based off Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While it gets off to a sluggish start, the game quickly reveals itself to be a solid role playing experience.
Van Helsing 2 itself is massive and while you may seem to get many of its secrets and hidden items in your first playthrough, you probably missed more. The game picks up right where the last game left off with your character, the son of Abraham Van Helsing taking over command of the resistance movement against the corrupt government. While overwhelming at first, the introduction is almost a poor representation of how well the game plays a few hours in.
Starting Van Helsing 2 is a pleasant experience, allowing you to watch cut scenes if you happened to miss picking up the game before buying this one. From there it dives into character creation where you get to design your own Van Helsing, choosing from three classes: the classic “hunter class” which is most like the traditional Van Helsing, a Thaumaturge a traditional magic user class, and an Arcane Mechanic, which is based around more of an engineer, allowing the use of bombs, and flamethrowers among other things. There is a very nice option which allows you to boost straight to the maximum level of 30, which allows you to experience the class, before you begin leveling it up.
As you progress you gain access to your “Hunter’s Lair” which serves as your hideout allowing you access too many very useful features. Such as stashing loot, trading with NPCS, your quick travel system, an item creation, as well as quest givers from the resistance.
Though Action Role Playing Games may not be known for well flushed out stories, Van Helsing 2 is an exception, the story is well thought out and is made better by the banter between your character and one of his companions, Lady Katarina, who fights alongside you.
As with many RPG’s you do not have to dive right into the story, there are a nice amount of side quests given by various NPC’s as you progress, as well as nice Tower-Defense mini-game which serves as a nice breather from the grind that naturally comes.
While the story gets off to a overwhelmingly rough start with the introduction, once you power through it, it quickly develops into a well done game, with enough content to encourage multiple playthrough with all three classes. Though it falls flat at times, there are many times that remind me why I enjoy RPG genre so much. Be it the witty banter between characters, or the satisfactory of burning an entire mob of creatures with one spell. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 is perhaps the most well done action RPG that I have ever seen outside of Diablo.