Review: Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

Warhammer 40K IMNeocore Games’ mighty, meaty Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr ($59.99) should have come with an advisory that if you like the game, you’re going to have to be completely committed to long-hauling it from the get-go. It’s a demanding and addictive time chomping experience that kicks off with an about 45-minute set of tutorial missions that ease you into the swing of things before it rips away most of its training wheels and lets you carve your own route through its astounding wealth of randomly generated missions. There’s a nicely spread out story here that has your Inquisitor of choice attempting to solve the mystery surrounding an ancient warship packed full of heretics, mutants, xenos and Daemons of the Chaos Gods. Detective work isn’t your sole task, thankfully.  You’ll definitely get to do quite a load of daemon dispatching as you uncover assorted clues during your journey.

While you can indeed compare what’s here to Diablo III on a few fronts, the game feels like more of a throwback to Crusader: No Remorse, Origin Systems’ excellent PC (and later, console) classic from 1995. Partially destructible objects, alarms that summon packs of enemies and a few more familiar elements from that game appear here, but the game also has more than enough loot dropping, skills, upgrades and rewards to keep even the most jaded players quite busy. As with a few other games in my rather large backlog, I’ve held off doing a full review because the game really needed to be patched up so I could give a it a solid recommendation. The latest patch (1.0.5) now makes this one a greater (yet still flawed) game rather than a somewhat decent one that needed a lot more polish.

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Get ready to do a whole lot of this, plus a nice bit of detective work. it’s like CSI with demons and a hell of a lot more weapons.

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Delays of Games: No Penalty, Just Breathing Room

Yes, it happens to the best of them, folks. While disappointing, game delays aren’t the end of the world other than setting one’s expectations for playing what one wants to back a bit. In almost every case, it’s a case where developers want more time to tighten things up and apply a final (well, pre-patch) coat of polish to products so they’re even better when they finally make it to market. This isn’t only a AAA thing, as you’ll see from these three examples.

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Red Dead Redemption II has slipped into October (10/26/2018), but I’m not at all concerned because it’s Rockstar Games we’re talking about here and they’ve very rarely steered gamers wrong when a product slides past an initial launch date (or second or third, for that matter!). Hell, if anything, the new date will keep a lot of people safe at home on Halloween and quire possibly all the way through the holiday season. I’m only half joking, by the way. I know I’ll be camped out in front of my TV until actual tumbleweeds roll past my bleary eyes.

 

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: Three’s Company For The Long Haul


 

So. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III is out and yes, you SHOULD buy and play it if you like action/RPG’s with a sense of humor (and optional gore), loads of random loot drops and probably closure as NeoCore Games finishes up its trilogy. That said… oh, for the days of the retail review disc arriving in the mail! While 20GB may not seem like a huge file to download in this era of “everyone” having a high speed connection, the best I can do around here is roughly 11 to 36 mbps. And that’s WITH connections dropping out from time to time adding more time to the download. 11 hours to download a game (which would be closer to 5 or 6 if the speed is consistent and there aren’t any connection drops) is way too long for me and while I’m not impatient, I have no idea how people put up with this sort of thing with larger game files.

Yeah, yeah, it’s something we’ve “gotten used to” as the digital age has beat retail over the head senselessly as a “superior” option. But for folks like me who fail to see the speed difference when having a disc means you get into those games you want FASTER and with only any day one (or later) patches to download, this digital divide is more “haves” versus “have nots” stuff I see some game companies no longer addressing. Boo. But hell, I won’t take this minor annoyance out on NeoCore games and all their hard work at all. Although it WOULD be cool to see them get their trilogy out on consoles at some point so even MORE people could enjoy it. Eh, we’ll see. In between the ongoing strife here I need to fit my Sunday around getting this game onto a hard drive here, so it’s an early night for this old fart. Back in a bit.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: 2015, Meet 1999? That Works For Me


 

Like a worn pair of favorite jeans you’ve had in your possession for years or a good leather jacket, NeoCore Games‘ throwback action/RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has been one of those reliable standbys that feels as it’s been around a great deal longer than it actually has. This is actually a good thing, mind you. NeoCore’s click and slash series is up to its third installment which is coming to Steam on May 22nd, so here’s a look at what to expect with that set of tease-packed videos above.

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Diehard players who still have a death grip on their older Windows XP-powered computers will be glad to see as with the other two installments, Van Helsing III will run on their creaky old systems. Neocore doesn’t own them that at all, mind you. But it’s great to see a developer not ditch those players who bought that first game at all and continue to support them with all three parts of the series working on what they currently own. While the ability to use an Xbox 360 controller to play the game was a patched in addition to Van Helsing II, the game is still superior with the standard keyboard/mouse setup.

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The mix of action, horror and humor elements is something that sets the game apart from the more deadly serious to much sillier Diablo-style games on the market, as is NeoCore’s attention to more “realistic” detailed environments. Granted, the mix of steampunk, classic monsters (werewolves, vampires and such) and other fantasy bits keeps things fresh throughout. One thing the game will need to be is extremely optimized and as good as can be at launch. VHII had some pesky launch issues that were resolved over time but probably soured a few gamers who tried it out and found it lacking in some areas. From what I’m seeing so far it seems that the third time’s the charm. We’ll find out in four more days.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Ink Hunt DLC Interrupts My Review! But That’s Fine With Me.

VHII Ink HuntSo, I’m in the middle of writing a review for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II (here’s a hint: BUY IT. It’s got some issues, but is fun once you get) when my inbox falls on my foot and out pops and email from NeoCore Games that they’ve JUST released a new patch AND some DLC along with it.

Sure enough, I check my Steam account and it’s downloading away in the background as it should. Well, so much for my review as it currently stands. I’d noted some issues that the patch looks as if it takes care of, so there goes THAT part on my very short list of tiny gripes. Granted, I haven’t played the game since the patch/DLC download, but I’ll get to it later tonight and see what’s what. I’m also in the midst of puttering away on some E3 articles, a review I needed to get up a day or so back and some columns for a few upcoming blogathons I need to yak about so some of you can join up and contribute to. Hokay, back to the grind for a bit before it’s back to the grind later, I guess…

VanHelsingII_InkHunt_003_IslandofBones Back in a bit. It’s Friday the 13th AND a full moon tonight. I’m NOT superstitious, but it seems that a lot of off-kilter people are out and about today. Yeesh…

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Launch Trailer: Hat’s Off (Again) To The Monster Killer!

 
It’s finally all done and ready for its close up, so if you liked the first part a lot, you’ll want to just drop everything now and go out to buy a ring for Neocore Games’ The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II. The game is bigger and better in a number of key ways (you’ll see) and yes, that addictive chase & chop action is even more intense this time out. Not much else to say other than go get this on Steam NOW and have a blast. You don’t want to keep Lady Katerina waiting you know (as she’s way too good with the insults when she gets ticked off). Oh yeah, the guy with the hat and weapons could use your help, too.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Update: New Screens, Beta Gets a Big Boost!

 
Nice. Neocore Games has released four new screens from The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II and added some new areas to the closed beta (which is automatically updating via Steam as I type). Excellent.

VanHelsingII_SteamPreOrder_001I was wondering what that other game was Steam was adding content to as I knew The Wolf Among Us was going to drop in Chapter Three as soon as I logged on. Of course, by the time I got to the email from Neocore announcing the beta update, it was about 70% done and I realized that’s what was up. Yeah, I think sideways from time to time, what of it? Anyway, May 22, 2014 is the new release date for VHII. Remember, you can pre-order the game directly from the developer or through Steam. I’ll have an updated hands-on shortly (most likely after the weekend)…

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 Gets Knockbacked Into May…

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Game delays are nothing new, so this isn’t really a big surprise. Still, you have to love the press release Neocore Games sent out to announce the delay:

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Delayed due to Monster Invasion

Slightly delayed, but no need to worry – all that extra time will be spent polishing the game. The new release date is set to May 22, 2014.

So, what happened to the April release date of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II? Well, we could blame the supernatural or the bad Vrikolak meat in the fridge, but the truth is, we want to release a superb game as polished as possible on release and that will take a little longer than we thought. We want to make sure the sequel is superior to the first game in every aspect and it keeps you nailed to your chairs all the way to the end with its engaging new story. Now the new date will also mark the anniversary of the first game’s release. So be ready to hunt down the new swarm of monstrosities when the game hits Steam on May 22, 2014.

All of you are reaping souls right now anyway, aren’t you?

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II is available for pre-order on PC. To pre-purchase the game, head to neocoregames.com/store and choose from the various supporter packages in various price ranges.

Me, I’m currently NOT reaping souls because Blizzard has ignored PS3 and Xbox 360 owners of Diablo III, but I have other stuff to keep me occupied while I wait for the man with the hat and Lady Katarina to make their second appearance in a more polished form. That, and I can also replay the beta a few more times just to see how all those other character classes do against the hordes.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Beta Hands-On: It’s The Reckoning For That Hunter…

VHIIaThanks to the fine folks at Neocore Games, I had the opportunity to take a beta version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for a spin and am happy to report it’s looking like a bigger, badder, meaner and harder game than the first one, especially if you’re hopping into it with your saved hero from the original. I hadn’t played the first game save for some hours with the demo, but Neocore also sent me a code for the Complete Pack, which got a marathon playthrough over the past week or so (and me a nicely maxed out Level 30 Hunter by that cliffhanger ending).

The new game starts off with a rather massive siege on a factory by many enemies being airdropped in capsules and a large army of civilian soldiers assisting Van Helsing and Katarina, his ghostly (and snarky) AI companion. Granted, one could play the beta using a few default high level characters in a few classes, but after trying out a few of these overpowered guys, I decided to take the longer, tougher (yet highly enjoyable and rewarding) route and go through the first game just to have a more personalized experience… Continue reading

WIN FREE STUFF! The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Steam Codes!

Thanks to the awesome Orsolya Toth over at Neocore Games, I have TWO Steam codes for their excellent Action/RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing to give away to TWO lucky winners! NOTE: This is the original version of the game, NOT the Complete Pack (but you can upgrade to that if you like via Steam by buying that additional content if you like the game!) and yes, the game is PC and Macintosh compatible. How do you enter? Well, just FOLLOW the site if you haven’t yet and leave a comment below. I’ll randomly pick two of you and shoot over your codes within 24 hours. No need to leave your email, as we have ways of knowing who you are… (mua-ha-ha-haaa!)

And whether you win or not, you SHOULD support the sequel, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II over at Necore’s online store. There are some great premiums for folks with funds to spare (you can be in the game!) and the sequel’s MUCH bigger than the original, but costs exactly the same! I’ll be giving the beta of VHII a shot shortly and let you know what’s what with that soon. Stay tuned…

System requirements for the game and official rules for the giveaway are below the jump… Continue reading