Unlike the original, the experience in Van Helsing II feels convoluted, which is a feat as you’ll be marching towards one main goal throughout the game. As you find yourself leading the resistance to take back the city of Borgova, each action you take moves your troops a step closer. A strong narrative isn’t a requirement in a game of this style, as the most important aspect of killing creatures with the infamous Van Helsing is spot on. As it was in the first game, the visual style blurs the line between gothic-noir, as the cities and outside locations are spectacularly realized. There are many secrets to be found in each of the chapters, so scouring entire areas becomes a necessity, especially as you won’t be able to replay those areas.
If you want a break from slaughtering mechanical soldiers and magically infused demons, you have plenty of options, such as the return of the tower-defense mini-game. Keeping your army well-maintained by upgrading equipment and hiring additional soldiers will benefit you in the end, as they will bring back items and money after successful raids. I’ve found that crafting equipment can be just as good as any drops that fall of the various werewolves and creatures that roam the wilderness.
Considering I picked up the original Van Helsing after the release of the DLC, I had all three class choices from the get-go. I found the additional classes more enjoyable than the classic Brom Stoker’s incarnation of the infamous vampire hunter. Seeing the inclusion of them in the sequel was a welcome addition. While controlling various mechanical beasts aren’t my speciality, I found the Thaumaturge to fit my play style, allowing me to toss magical bolts of lightning and other elements at my foes. As most of the spells work as a ranged attack, it is in stark contrast to the melee focused classic Van Helsing. If you are unsure on what class to play as, you have plenty of opportunity to use each one to determine your preference.
Van Helsing II plays similar to many other action RPG games, such as Diablo and Torchlight, utilizing a combination of mouse clicks and keyboard keys for your skill bar. You are given a couple additional skills slots, allowing you to deepen the amount of skills you can use at a given time. Unlike Diablo III, which has not ported over the controller support from the superb console versions, Van Helsing II fully supports controllers. The controls feel just as responsive as with a mouse and keyboard, but gives the illusion of direct control over your character. Anyone that uses their PC in a living room environment, this is a must-have addition.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II continues the humorous dialogue (be prepared for many pop culture references) between Van Helsing and Lady Katarina, who still follows him around. Not much has changed in how the game is played, but I still find the skill trees and crafting mechanics too convoluted and in need of simplification.
Note: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II review was written based on a digital PC version of the game.