A console revival of the popular PC exclusive that arrived in 2015, Victor Vran: Overkill Edition offers two new DLC modes - Motörhead: Through the Ages and Fractured Worlds - that temper upon the traditional gothic-horror formula.
Victor’s colourless narrative often serves as a hindrance to its energetic combat though, whether we see him talking to NPC’s with vague disinterest, or make jokes that never quite pack the punch intended. It's a game in two minds, fighting between tongue-in-cheek and deadpan, but, as a result, the satire juxtaposes the dark and weighty themes. That said, it's comedic styling is yet to really grow on us.
The game's level design offers plenty of elbow room to explore and fight your way from room-to-room. You're afforded a full 360-degree view of your surroundings, which proves useful in observing your environment, whilst also feeling like a fresh addition to the predictable ARPG blueprint. This small feature has a significant impact, and is a noticeable change in the jump from PC to PS4.
Combat is the game's main strength - an addictive, button-mashing delight. All three modes serve the same over-the-top helping of hack-and-slash combat, as you fight your way through an assemblage of creatures that never fail to pursue you. You can attack these creatures in large and overwhelming quantities, equipped with an arsenal of shotguns, swords and scythes to help clear your path, which, for the most part, serve as a powerful concoction when used in conjunction with magical power-ups. Adding colour to combat, these power-ups can be activated through the overkill meter that gradually builds over time, with each successive slash and strike, allowing you to execute a range of devastating attacks.
The game's addictive combat sequences and loot system may keep us playing just that little while longer.
Unlockables and costumes are available in abundance here, with an expansive inventory system to boot. Merchants are available at regular intervals for trade, but the same cannot be said for its outdated save-system, that forces you to grind through particular areas just to be able to save your progress. It is, consequently, punishing, and although checkpoints are available in high numbers, these serve only as re-spawn areas when you die, instead of stable save points.
Overkill’s most thrilling DLC addition, Motörhead: Through the Ages, is a crazed, punk-rock mode that has you jamming along to thunderous Motörhead music with head-banging rhythm. It serves as a pure and more fitting exploitation of the game's absurdity, and accentuates the energy during combat encounters. With a respectable homage to the band’s late frontman, Lemmy Killmister, it feels like a tight and polished package that manages to outshine both the main campaign and its other DLC counterpart, Fractured Worlds, which is, on the whole, forgettable due to its less outlandish and fun presentation.
15 hours into Victor Vran: Overkill Edition, it feels like a confident transition of the PC exclusive to console. Although it doesn't offer much variety content-wise from its PC predecessor, aside from the excellent Motörhead: Through the Ages, of course, the game's addictive combat sequences and loot system may keep us playing just that little while longer.