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- The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III
Third time's the charm.
Van Helsing, the titular legendary hunter of all things monstrous and diabolical, has unfinished business. In the last episode of the trilogy, he brought order to Borgovia which was embroiled in the ravages of civil war, but the betrayal of Prisoner Seven left a bitter taste in his mouth. Now, the so-called Cult of Seven seeks to destroy what remains of the capital city Borgova (yes, without the 'i'), and Van Helsing knows that his nemesis is behind the numerous plunderings of secret laboratories scattered around the city. This time, his mission has as much to do with revenge as it with simply doing his job.
While The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III is the final chapter in the trilogy, this doesn't spell the end for NeoCore's popular series. Narrative Designer Viktor Juhász believes that given the success of the Van Helsing games, no one should be surprised to find more games based around the famous hunter by the indie studio.
That said, while this installment is a direct continuation of the prior episode, your character will not be imported over and must start at Level 1. However, the main reason for this is the advent of the six new classes—Elementalist, Protector, Umbralist, Phlogistoneer, Constructor, and Bounty Hunter—the first two of which were available in the preview build I was given. With the overall strength of these new classes, NeoCore Games wants to make certain that Van Helsing feels powerful right out of the gate, showing the growth of his power over the course of the last two games. So while Van Helsing seems to start from scratch, he's doing so on a much higher tier.
In typical Diablo fashion, you must guide Van Helsing through fixed environments, slaughtering mobs of ghouls, fiends, centaurs, and whatever foe dares to stand in his way. The build takes him and his spectral companion Katarina, who retains her sharp, dark, and macabre wit, through secret laboratories, haunted forests, and a gnome village. Along the way, he'll gather side quests and occasionally return to his hunter lair where he can trade any unwanted goods for better gear. Of course, he can just send Katarina away to sell equipment at any time, but she won't be around to lend her aid in battle while she's shopping for you.
It's difficult for me to choose whether I favor the Elementalist or the Protector since they play so distinctly from each other. The Elementalist has a keep-away strategy where he can send the energy balls that rotate around him out to deal damage and also create a line of fire by hovering his mouse over the ground near his enemies. On top of that, he can summon dragon heads from the ground that act like fireball turrets and cast a storm that rains purple energy randomly over a field.
The Protector, on the other hand, is a tanked knight with plated armor and a shield for blocking. Sporting the more simple approach of hacking and slashing opponents up close and personal, he may seem unskilled at crowd control, but he has both a charging dash and an ability that sends icicles from the ground that hits every enemy in its conic path. Use the icicles a few times against a mob and they all fade into nothingness in mere seconds. By spending several ability points, the icicles can have greater reach and hit enemies with a slowing debuff. It's not the most brilliant strategy, but it certainly gets the job done.
If you're looking for a supernatural and humorously deadpan adventure in the same wheelhouse as Diablo, except far more cheeky, then The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III will fit the bill nicely. It's slated for release later in May for PC.