Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing - Walkthrough - part 6 - Dreadworks and Secret Lair

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 6 - Dreadworks and Secret Lair
(Hunter, Heroic Difficulty)
Shortly after you enter the Dreadworks, Van Helsing will hit level 14, which opens up the third tier of skills. These generally cost a lot of Mana, so be careful about relying too much on them unless you want to drink Mana Potions like water. For our playthroughs, we aimed to use no potions and to this point have not used a single potion. Our build and play strategy continued to focus on recovering Health. In the worst case, we ran from combat, knowing that Van Helsing's health would be fully recovered in a few seconds via strong HP Regeneration. And instead of Armour and Resistance, we focussed on Dodge, which stops all incoming damage if successful; and can defend against bleeding and damaging area effects. Essences help when gear had Essence Capacity, but we hadn't yet bought Capacitative Essences to greatly expand the usage of Essences.

Mobs are bigger than before, and in some cases a lot bigger (such as Rat Thing mobs in the sewers of the Secret Lair). A single level of Embracing Flames and Ice Blast are good for all builds as the powerups either give you a high damage reduction (10% to 30%) or immobilize enemies (2-6 seconds), and we can still use them to activate healing via the Hidden Reserves aura.
  • Starting in the Dreadworks, there are elevators and upper/lower levels on the map. If the enemy is close enough but on a higher level, you can use Ice Blast or Embracing Flames. These area effect blasts ignore how high or low the target. If the enemy is in the radius on the (x,y) plane, they will be affected.
After the Orichalcum Mine, you are hopefully good at kiting and keeping your distance, because (on Heroic Difficulty) there are a lot of sudden-death situations in the Dreadworks, especially if you try to melee. Bombs and mines start to appear a lot in the game, as do some rather tough mobs. Shooters start to scatter if you hit them with anything, so melee can be very frustrating. It is recommended that you respec to an Occult Hunter ranged build:
  • Switch Explosive Shot for Poisoned Shot.
  • Improving Icicle Shot or Poisoned Shot will also increase their Mana Cost, leading to possible Mana shortages. Blood for Mana in place of Hidden Reserves may be an option, but a potentially tricky one because you will then have to rely on Arcane Healing for emergency healing.
  • Rage-healing via the Hidden Reserves Aura is still viable since you can activate Power-Ups on Ranged attacks at range (and a level-3 Power-Up with Poisoned Shot can easily cost about 20 Rage for over 40% healing).
  • Ghastly Shape (the special trick to dash through enemies that you learnt after the Drill Worm) will come in handy until you can train yourself to kite more effectively away from enemies that can suddenly pull you in, but is not necessary.
  • The Ethereal Embodiment trick (a few seconds of invulnerability) is probably better than Ghastly Shape for situations where you are pulled into vast damage or just need to get out.
Notes on Enemies
  • Dreadknecht Grenadiers:
    • These throw a lot of blinking, beeping mines that can be hard to shoot out. They aren't hard to deal with unless you have no room to move.
    • Back off and try to locate and kill the Grenadier first. The problem is sometimes you are too busy moving and shooting to pick out the correct one, and carefully target it amongst the other soldiers.
  • Strongmen (and MouthBeasts):
    • Basically Lesovik Shamblers with chains. They each get to use their chains just once, but once can be enough. Chains stun you briefly after you are drawn in, during which time various things can occur:
      • If there are several Strongmen, they might all use their slam attack at once and flatten Van Helsing before you can activate any healing against the overwhelming combined damage.
      • If there are Grenadier mines in between, just getting dragged past or near mines may set them off before the stun wears off.
    • Generally you can still keep the Strongmen on screen without being in range of their chains. If you do get drawn in, dash out immediately or hit everyone with Ice Blast with the immobilizing powerup.
  • Batrachiantaur (immobile grenade launchers)
    • Depending on your health total, they can one-shot you. If you are in melee, they do only about half damage.
    • Running sideways instead of directly away from their grenades seems to work better. They fire infrequently, so watch for the attack animation. They will track you before firing if you are moving, but the grenade once fired won't follow, so with some practice you can watch for them to fire and start running.
    • Since they require attention to handle, try to pull their supporting troops away and deal with them first.
    • If you are having trouble approaching, try dashing in with Ghastly Shape, but beware if you haven't already cleared the area of minions since you could end up pulling more enemies.
At the very start of the Dreadworks, head south to activate the store, and also to give you room to back off from the mob to the north if you have to.

Answering "Death" gets you an Essence that adds +5 damage for 15 Essence Capacity, which is a 1:3 damage ratio instead of 1:7 from other non-Epic essences. Also, the effect applies to wherever the Essence is imbued.
In the mid to late game when you need a lot of points in defenses to make a tangible difference, use this Essence on Armour to boost damage. Combined with an area effect attack and a Heath Drain item (+x% damage to Health), it gives you a combination of damage output and additional healing that is generally better than a couple percentage points on Defense, Dodge, or Resistances.

Main Square
The Main Square is tight with enemies all around. If you are having trouble here, lead them to the south where there is an electric fence they cannot pass. Teleport back to base, then using the base exit, run back to the fence on the other side and shoot at them. Only the teleporting rat champions will be able to reach you.

A cheesier way to thin out this area is to go to the other side of the electric fence (stair side). Go down the stairs and around to the left. You will be on a path below the Main Square. You cannot shoot the enemies above, but you can still hit them with spells because most spells ignore vertical distance. Once you have the attention of a clump of enemies, go back to the electric fence and safely shoot them because they can't reach you.

Secret Lair
The first defense of the secret lair has a clump of slug-like creatures to the south. Mouthbeasts are nearby and can pull Van Helsing in. Circle around and approach them from the direction of the Mouthbeasts instead.

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