When we reviewed Victor Vran back in 2015, it was already known that Haemimont Games weren't finished with their creation. Fast forward a couple of years and Victor has now made his way to consoles complete with two new expansions, Fractured Worlds and Motörhead: Through the Ages, in Victor Vran: Overkill Edition. In this impressions piece, I'll mostly be talking about how the new content adds to the game, as well as any issues specific to the console release. For console players, Overkill Edition is your only way to get hold of Victor Vran but I'll also discuss whether these expansions are worth the time for a PC player who owns the base game.
To give you a bit of background, I played some of the original PC incarnation of the game back around the time of release and while I found it fun enough to spend some time with, I felt like it lacked the type of variety that can give an ARPG longevity. With the addition of the extra content, I was eager to see whether the game's new version solves this issue. Being a fan of Motörhead myself, I also couldn't help but wonder whether Through the Ages would be an effective tribute or a tacky tie-in. I'm pleased to say that it's certainly the former. Furthermore, the new additions are mostly positive and there's a bit more substance to the end game as well.
Motörhead: Through the Ages is the most fleshed out of the two expansions. Technically, there's roughly the same amount of content in both but with its fully narrated storyboard scenes, and bosses inspired by the band's mascot Snaggletooth, this ridiculously grandiose tribute to a sadly departed legend of metal music feels more like a complete experience in comparison to Fractured Worlds. Able narration from Lloyd Kaufman accompanies you throughout the adventure and the tidbits of Lemmy wisdom and in-game lore are only enhanced by the gleeful hamming-up of the Toxic Avenger creator. The story itself is nuts, something about various villains from different dimensions creating imitations of Snaggletooth, leaving it to Victor to step in and defeat the pretenders thus awakening the real thing to banish the evil. It doesn't matter though, as it's really just a vehicle for a great tribute to the music and mythos of Motörhead and their frontman.
The connection between the action in-game and the band that inspired this expansion is strong. The themed powers (fans of Motörhead will instantly recognize names like Bomber and Iron Fist) provide new options in combat and feel just as viable as anything already in the game and it's likewise for the new weapon categories. The electric guitar, in particular, offers something different from existing weapons and it's a blast to play with. Let's just say that powersliding between a field of demons and showering them with lightning whilst playing a solo will never get old. Even the three separate worlds are loosely themed around the band's albums and maintain consistent themes throughout, from world war trenches to wild west showdowns. The smart level design found in Victor Vran's main campaign, full of unexpected verticality and littered with secrets, is utilized to equally good effect here. There are also collectible album covers and photos of the band, even original Lemmy doodles. It's a bonus for fans, but they'll be mere window dressing to others.
If you're not a fan of Motörhead, there's still the main ingredients of the game here for you to enjoy. You'll be cutting down swathes of enemies and collecting the spoils as usual, you just might want to turn the sound down, because the soundtrack is, of course, all Motörhead all the time. I can't recommend you do that, however, as you risk missing choice quotes from Lemmy, and I mean deep wisdom like "Rich people are mostly miserable pricks." You have been warned. Then again, if the barrage of metal music gets too much it's no problem to hop out of Through the Ages and back into the main campaign or Fractured Worlds. A nice feature in Victor Vran: Overkill Edition is the ability to swap between the worlds of the expansions and main campaign while retaining all world progress, character progress, etc. all with a couple of button presses and minimal loading. You'll also retain everything in your inventory and stash when traveling between worlds so you're not limited to using the DLC powers, weapons, and equipment in their respective expansions.
Due to its nature, I found Fractured Worlds to be a less fulfilling addition to the game. The expansion consists of a few daily randomized maps and 'The Fracture' which is an ever descending series of random levels. There's a story there about Victor chasing his desires through an artifact known as the Astrolabe but it's very barebones and has no satisfying conclusion. It exists solely to push you through the randomized maps by having you collect the pieces of the Astrolabe as you go. It's designed to add in some inexhaustible end game content and gives veteran players something to do while they chase the new level cap of 60. Unfortunately, the random maps have none of the appeals of the main campaign levels, being devoid of the secrets and side areas that gave them life.
Boss fights are another major missing element when comparing Fractured Worlds to the main campaign or Through the Ages. There are some inventive and memorable boss fights in Victor Vran and the new Motörhead themed bosses provide the same punctuation points and variety in Through the Ages. Plowing through map after map of enemies without these punctuation points in Fractured Worlds feels repetitive and eventually gets dull. If you like ethereal wings (and the general consensus among ARPG developers seems to be that everyone loves giving their character ethereal wings) then Fractured Worlds at least has you covered there. Seriously though, the expansion grants access to Talismans, which give the aforementioned snazzy wings to your character as well as granting new unique powers to expand your already impressive arsenal. They're not exactly game changing, but they do add some nice visual effects.
New powers aren't necessarily a good thing though, as the game still suffers from issues with frame stuttering and slowdown when there's a lot going on on-screen. The more fancy effects going on, the more the game struggles to cope and whilst I had no full on crashes, I occasionally found myself with my character skating around the screen while the game played catch-up to all the animations it was throwing out. Going solo this only happens in the most intense fights but switch to multiplayer and the issues are only exacerbated. This applies even to the local co-op option, which is a shame because the ability to easily play with a real life friend is otherwise the stand out reason to own this game on a console.
If you can make sense of the chaos and you have a friend handy, local co-op is the most fun you can have with this game. It works best with two characters of similar levels, of course, but bearing this in mind the enemy scaling works well. Enemies are tougher than when going solo but having two well-equipped players more than evens the odds. Each player also gets a copy of whatever loot drops so there are no arguments there. The only caveats to that are the issues mentioned above. I can't really attribute the game struggling with more intense action to the console port, though, as these issues were present in the original game. Online multiplayer works too, with the convenient option of being able to have players in the same game on separate maps. I never had trouble finding a game, or attracting players into my game either, which is impressive for a relatively niche title. It just doesn't have the same feeling of camaraderie you get from yelling things at someone who can hear you.
For me, the ability to easily play with the person sat next to you instantly elevates Victor Vran: Overkill Edition above the original incarnation of the game but that's not all. The addition of the two expansions and the new weapons, powers, enemies, etc. that come with them makes this feel like a more varied experience right from the get-go. So as well as being a good package for the new console player, there are also merits to picking up these expansions on PC if you were a fan of the original. Most of what's here doesn't make Victor Vran: Overkill Edition a better game than Victor Vran, just a complete one.
Victor Vran: Overkill Edition was played on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and Xbox One.