This post has general tips and tricks for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing played on the PC at Heroic Difficulty. For a list of all our Van Helsing posts, click here.
Part 3 - Croakwood
(Hunter, Heroic Difficulty)
With kiting and careful strategy, you can actually clear the Croakwood overland map without having spent a single Attribute or Skill point since the start of the game.
There are enemy clumps in Croakwood. The wolf packs are not too dangerous, but the veteran and boss packs can be if you do not have any where to retreat or if you can't split them up. Katarina should tank in the early game until you can stack healing skills and auras on Van Helsing. Generally if you run far enough, enemies will eventually fall away far enough to stop pursuing.
Giant Footprints and Wolf/Soldier Skirmish
As you approach the western path up to the hill with the giant's footprints (western side of the map), you will trigger a werewolf/soldier skirmish. However, if you approach the werewolves very slowly from the south, you can snipe them and pull a few to you at a time. You can in that way clear all the wolves, then proceed up the hill to clear the soldiers -- instead of letting them kill each other.
- If you click on the well and the sword before getting the prerequisite items, you get different banter from Katarina and Van Helsing at all stages.
After securing the field to the northwest, you can go for Excalibur by first getting an old coin (off a Lesovik Methuselah), dropping it in a well, and then using the oil to draw the sword that is on a hill just to the left of the valley with the well.
- You can safely unlock some of Excalibur's bonuses by grinding in the Werewolf Cave, which resets every time you exit Story Mode and return to it -- unless you have completed the entire sequence and rescued the mayor, in which case the Cave is marked as done and will not reset.
If you have trouble with the enemies in Croakwood, then aim first to secure the scarecrow in the field to the north east -- Just run there, avoiding enemies, if you really have to. All enemies on this map turn away from this wheat field (even though Katarina only mentions the wolves disliking the scarecrow), so you can retreat Van Helsing into the field and quite safely shoot at enemies. In this way you can so clear all the large packs and large boss packs.
The Ink location here is all but impossible to do without area effect attacks to handle the near-continuous raven spawns.
There are two possible non-violent solutions for the Wisp which result in unique jewelry drops. Katarina chooses the ring ("Hearthfire"; +5 Fire Damage), but if Van Helsing says "Begone...", he can choose between the ring or an amulet ("Lifespark"; HP regeneration). Fighting the Wisp typically gives only a few common essences that you could easily buy if you sold either of the uniques.
- Neither unique has great utility beyond the next few character levels, but the ring is more interesting for the bonus skill level, which is a very rare enchantment. The amulet, however, is better if you kite a lot, or for Katarina because in the midst of combat you can switch her to an invulnerable ghost mode to heal.
- Each non-violent solution is a separate count toward the Riddle Me Wisp achievement. If you have one character choose the ring and another choose the amulet, this advances the achievement by +2 out of 4 required answers.
- If you are farming this area for loot, you can clear the initial wolves, then run around the boss and his entourage to the chest near the unconscious mayor. Open it and continue running. If Katarina is in ghost mode, she will pick up all the items (assuming you set her Behavior to do so), which invariably drops a rare item.
- There is also a crate behind the meat rack nearest to the mayor.
- In phase two, the wolves endlessly spawn from the totems, so this is a fairly convenient way to rack up damage and kills to fully activate Excalibur. Very little treasure to be found, however.
- The safest way to defeat the boss is to put Katarina on Ranged and concentrate on the wolves that the boss spawns -- and keep running from the boss area effect attacks. Shoot the boss whenever you can, switch Katarina to ghost mode if she is cornered or at low health. Eventually attrition will defeat the boss.
- There is only a small window of opportunity to engage the boss before it uses its powerful area effect attack, so unless you are playing on a low difficulty level and can go toe-to-toe with him, it is best to use ranged attacks on the boss once you have cleared the summoned wolves.
- Bash and Crushing Blow is of course an excellent way to cut down the boss's health by 30% with each blow quickly, but you don't really need it until the Drill Worm boss later in the game. I recommend you trim wherever you can and take skills that will globally be useful, such as the healing auras.
- If you melee the boss, the summoned wolves might surround Van Helsing and block his ability to run away from the area effect slam.