Since their inception decades ago, isometric role-playing games have always been firmly rooted to the PC market. While there's sometimes been a scarce crossover with consoles, the games are often built with a dedicated PC-centric community in mind.
Following some recent changes to console architecture this generation, moving existing PC titles over consoles has proven to be easier than ever. While user interfaces and control schemes usually require an overhaul for a seamless move between platforms, many games are now finding a second life with their console debuts.
"Victor Vran" is a game that now finds itself in this position, following a release on PC nearly two years ago. With two expansions just around the corner, the game is ready to make the leap over to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the process. These are our initial impressions are getting hands-on with an in-progress version of the game ahead of its release in the coming months.
Some unusual traits make for a much more appealing premise to Action RPG newcomers
Assuming the role of a legendary monster hunter, Victor Vran throws players into the harsh monster-filled world of Zagaravia. Shifting away from deep lore in favor of cold-hearted demonic carnage, the game makes a clear effort to diverge from any unnecessary complexities to its world. This aspect of Victor Vran is a huge part of its appeal, with a level of self-awareness sewn into its surrounding world. The game isn't afraid to clearly position itself as an action-focused role-playing experience, without the support of a deep narrative to keep players engaged in the experience.
Several of its mechanics also bear a similar approach, making for a much more accessible experience for the average gamer. While its isometric perspective might be off-putting to some, various unusual traits make for a much more appealing premise to Action RPG newcomers.
One of the most outstanding changes to fans of the genre is Victor Vran's movement systems, which make for a much more dynamic combat system than your traditional Action RPG. With the ability to jump and perform basic parkour traversal techniques, there's a much faster pace to most combat scenarios. Using the left stick, players can quickly skew their perspective in the world, for a greater sense of what's happening on-screen.
While the aforementioned changes are only minor, this has a significant effect on the general feeling of combat. The refinements to combat make for sleeker encounters, which will be hugely appreciated for those not hugely familiar with the tropes of similar titles. However, for veterans of Action RPGs, these tweaks help the game stand out from its influencers as its own standalone experience.
For those playing on Xbox One and PC for the first time, it's also great to see Victor Vran's combat and systems translate smoothly over to a controller. Navigating the game's lanes and hallways feels just as responsive with a gamepad, as does most combat.
There are still some clear remnants of Victor Vran's PC heritage within its menus
Throughout your time in Victor Vran's world, you can expect to encounter endless waves of enemies as you go about your objectives. Using Victor's comprehensive skillset and an arsenal of weapons, players will fight their way through the demonic hordes in a way that fits their own personal play style.
By completing objectives and defeating enemies, you'll be rewarded with loot and bonuses to help you along your journey. With no class systems, these weapons and abilities define your route of progression as a player, which continues to remove some of the unnecessary complexity behind the genre. While simplified on the surface, this makes for a much sleeker and accessible entry point with potential depth for more experienced players.
Although gameplay smoothly transitions over to consoles, there are still some clear remnants of Victor Vran's PC heritage within its menus. Most notably seen in the inventory, its complex structure struggles to adapt to the simplicities of a controller. While navigating these menus should become easier over time, this will be a hurdle for beginners to overcome.
While established names in the genre have a steep learning curve for beginners, some simplified aspects of Victor Vran only make for a more accessible experience for rookies. While these changes help in widening the game's appeal, I'm still concerned with how this affects the game's longevity over time.
Overall, Victor Vran is looking to be an interesting addition to the Xbox One's lineup, by introducing some unique twists on your traditional action-based role-playing game. Although it may not have the same brand recognition as some similar releases on the console, its approach makes for an interesting slant on the genre.