For the past few years Eastern European developer Neocore Games has been releasing a series of excellent gothic horror PC action role-playing games, and I've been ignoring them. I blame Hugh Jackman.
Every time I saw the title The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing pop up on my list of Steam releases, the first image that came to my mind was not a Diablo-style action RPG with a lovely mixture of supernatural and mechanical flair. No, what I saw in my mind's eye was this:
2004's Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman's hair and Kate Beckinsale's bodice, apparently left a bad taste in my entire being. The subsequent video game release from Vivendi Universal did not help.
Thus when I see a promotional image like this...
...my mind immediately imagines Hugh Jackman under the goggles and bandanna and vetoes anything associated with it.
My mind has done me a great disservice.
Last week Neocore released The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut, compiling all three games in the series into one massive adventure. Six playable character classes taking on 50 hours of adventure alone or online with other players, daily and weekly quests, randomly-generated scenario maps and a level cap bumped up to 100 — it's a pretty massive offering.
This is a game that does not shy away from completely flooding the player with different things to destroy, gifting them with entertaining way to annihilate them in the process. Within the first ten minutes of the adventure I'd encountered a gigantic horde of enemies, mowing them down neatly with explosives, my whirly machinegun buzz saw pet thing and my ever-present ghostly companion, Katarina.
With some of this fall's most eagerly-anticipated titles arriving this week and the next, I might not get a lot of time to play through more of Van Helsing's incredible adventures, but now that I know it's both incredibly entertaining and 100 per cent Jackman-free I'm definitely down for more.