Use the to move down the Main menu and press to enter Options. You can navigate with the and read the tooltips.

Once you’re ready to play highlight the Select Character button in the middle, press , then to enter the character creation window. Choose you character class, name your character and select a difficulty level. Select the Story option to begin your adventure.

Bounty Hunter

An agile hunter with an assortment of ranged combat skills. An expert on various applications of firearms and battle stances who can summon mechanical seekers to find and mark his prey. When push comes to shove, he can also manipulate the flow of time at will.


A very resilient, heavily armored melee fighter. Master of the lost art of wielding sword and shield, he dishes out, blocks or reflects punishment back on his assiliants. A resounding battlecry, blinking into the Ink or calling upon the elements are also in his repertoir.


A fragile but powerful spellcaster, armed with a variety of offensive and utility spells. His expertise in commanding the four elements is unmatched, be it the conjuration of devastating storms, arcane creatures, deadly barriers, or launching raw bolts of energy.


A master of shadows who fights using sophisticated hit and run tactics. As the bearer of arcane twin blades he can fade into the Ink, bend shadows to his will, conjure malevolent spells or allies from the darkness and attack with an unrelenting combination of strikes.


An expert of Weird Science in a machine suit. Armed with short and medium ranged heavy weapons and several types of mines. He is a brute military force who can call artillery strikes, launch rocket barrages, cluster bombs and thwart attacks with a flamethrower or a portable forcefield.


A master contraptionist who can assemble a wide variety of mechanical creatures on the spot. A true artist when it comes to keeping a healthy distance from his enemies by deploying turrets, ornithopters, exploding dismemberbots or his extremely versatile and deadly gun platform.

In the upper right corner you can see the automap. In the upper left corner you can see the control interface of your companion, Lady Katarina. The orb in the lower left corner displays your resources while the panel in the lower right is dedicated to your fighting skills and abilities.

Use the to move around. You can interact with objects and NPC-s by walking up to them and pressing the . If you are close enough to an interactable object or character an indicator will appear over them.

Your character will automatically collect some items, but you have to pick most items up with the . All items are added to your Inventory.

You can meet many characters on your travels. Sometimes conversations will happen automatically, other times you can initiate them by interacting. If you are presented with choices during a conversation you can select between them with the and pressing .

  • An exclamation mark means they have a quest for you.

  • A question mark indicates you already completed a quest and you can finish it and receive rewards by talking to that person.

  • A purse sign means you can trade with that person, sell or buy equipment.

  • A wand, a beaker or an anvil indicates the person can help you create new items or combine existing ones. See Crafting section.

During your adventures your character will gain experience, unlocking new abilities and skills. You can learn more about this in the Leveling Up section.

This section will teach you the most important aspects of monster slaying.

Turn towards enemies and press the or button. This will make your character attack with the skill that is assigned to those buttons.

The target is selected automatically, based on the type of skill you use. With a little practice, you can easily maneuver around and pick targets.

Besides your main attack skill slots, you have a further four slots available. These are bound to the and buttons along with the and . The most important thing you need to know about these skill slots is that they cannot activate Powerups, only the two main skill slots can (see the Rage system)

There are two main resources in Van Helsing, represented by the colored orb in lower left of the screen.

  • Health (or Hit Points) is shown in red. Health does not regenerate by itself, you must replenish it by drinking Health Potions by pressing .

  • Mana is shown in blue. Most skills require some of this resource to be used. Mana slowly regenerates over time, but you can quickly replenish it by drinking Mana Potions by pressing .

  • Rage – shown as a yellow bar around the attack skill slot – is a special resource. It is used to activate special skills called “Powerups”, which add special effects to other skills when used. The Rage resource is gathered by killing enemies. Each killed enemy will increase your Rage pool by a fixed amount. Unlike Mana, Rage slowly drains away if not used.

Powerups are used to enhance regular attacks.

Each skill has three associated powerups, which must be purchased like regular skills when leveling up. If you have any powerups available for the skills currently assigned to the main attack skill slots (in the lower right corner), they will show up above the corresponding skill.

Powerups add their effect to a single attack performed with the corresponding skill. They don’t do this automatically though, you must manually charge them each time. The effect will apply to the next attack with the skill in question.

Charging powerups is done with the . Push it left to charge the left powerup, up to charge the middle one or right to charge the right one.

Powerups can be charged up to three times for increased effect. If a skill has more than one powerups available, they can be used in combination with each other by distributing the three charges among them.

Another way to charge powerups is to recall previously created Powerup Combinations with the . See the Editing Skills chapter.

Using powerups costs Rage. Each charge spent will drain a fixed amount so using multiple charges depletes Rage quicker. Killing enemies with powerup enhanced attacks do not yield Rage.

Finally, note that some skills benefit from the Rage bar simply being full. If you don’t wish to use powerups, you may wish to purchase these skills instead.

When targeting an enemy during combat, you can find information about him at the top edge of your screen in the middle (health bar, special abilities). Ranked enemies are stronger, you can easily spot them by the colored circles beneath them. Their names are also colored depending on their rank: elite, champion or boss.

When you die, a respawn window appears offering you three choices.

  • “Respawn here!” This will cost you 10% of your current gold.

  • “Respawn at the nearest checkpoint!” This will costs 5% of your gold.

  • “Respawn in the Lair!” It costs nothing and it takes you back to the Lair.

  • Respawn Protection.

    After you respawn, you will be in “ghost form” for a few seconds during which you can move around but you aren’t able to attack and enemies won’t attack you either.

    Hardcore Death.

    If you checked the Hardcore Character option at character creation, death is permanent and you also lose all gold and equipment you carried.

Pressing the which will bring up the Character Panels window.

The top of the window is the Panels Menu where you can switch between the various character panels. Use the and to move left and right in the menu. Below the panels menu there is a possible sub menu, depending on which character panel you have selected. Use the and to select options in the sub menu.

The panel area can roughly be divided to three columns. The right column is mostly used for information. It is the other two columns where you can make most changes, using the to navigate between panel elements. The actual changes are done with the , , and buttons but the actions they perform may change from panel to panel. Look for the displayed information to learn which button performs what action locally.

This panel summarizes the most important statistics of your character.

Use the to switch between item categories on the radial menu in the right column. The list of items in the selected category is shown in the left column, where you can select items with the and equip/unequip them with the button. You can equip one item for each category except for rings of which you can equip two.

The middle column displays the details of the currently selected item and also compares it to the item you have equipped in that category. Green and red numbers show the positive and negative changes should you swap the selected item with the currently equipped one.

Note that your companion, Lady Katarina has an inventory of her own and can equip some of the items too. You can move items between the two inventories with the button.

Skills are organized into two categories, available in the sub menus of the Skills panel. You can select skills using the radial selector with the

Skill components

Each skill entry consists of several icons which represent different components of that skill. The central icon is the Base Skill that you character can learn and improve throughout the game. The number below it shows its current skill level.

The rectangular icons are the Expertise Skills. These are add-ons to the base skill and modify its effect in some way. Each has three levels, Learning them is only possible when the base skill has reached the required level. Once learned, expertise skills apply their effect to the base skill all the time. Active skills also have three Powerups as well.

Editing Skills

Selecting a skill with the and pressing will allow you to edit the skill. Use the to select the skill components and press to purchase (you must have enough skill points available, see Leveling Up).

Editing also lets you link (bind) the skill to a skill slot. Press to bring up the skill slots panel, then press the activation button of the slot you want the skill to assign to.

Powerup Combos

Select one of the powerup components of the skill and press . Then use the and buttons to distribute the three charges between the powerups and press again to store the combo. Once you do this, every time you press the during combat the powerups will be charged according to the combo pattern you just defined (provided the skill is assigned to one of the two primary skill slots).

You can store a separate combo for each skill you know.

You can think of the Companion panel as a combination of the Character Sheet and the Skills panel. The middle column displays Katarina’s main Attributes, experience and basic abilities while the left column is dedicated to her skills and controlling her behaviour.

Katarina’s skills work very similar to Van Helsing’s, except they only have a base skill component. Katarina will use her skills automatically.


Lady Katarina has three combat forms available. Melee and Ranged dictate whether she fights from up close to or away from enemies. In Ghost form she can’t fight or be hurt. Instead, she protects you by providing a 10% damage resistance to your character. If she does fight by your side, you can determine how she chooses her targets.

If you want, Katarina can automatically pick items up from the ground. You can specify which items she collects with the radio buttons in the Item Collecting options. Most items she picks up will be placed in her inventory.

Whenever your inventory becomes full or you are low on resources, you can send her to Go Shopping by opening Katarina’s inventory and pressing down the . She will sell all items in her inventory and return with the gold. She will also buy potions if you tell her to do so.

The Journal keeps track of your progress in the story. If you ever wonder what exactly your task is, who you should find, etc. this is a good place to look for information.

Perks continuously provide bonuses. Learning perks is pretty straightforward, just select one form the list on the left and press (you must have a perk point available, see Leveling Up).

Your character gains experience and levels up as he progresses through the story. To benefit from experience, you need to distribute the various points gained at level up.

Attribute points are distributed in the Character panel. Attributes increase your character’s resources and give bonuses to skills. They have no upper limit.

Skill points are distributed in the Skills and Auras panel. Skills and Auras can be upgraded to a maximum level of 15, each level costing 2 skill points. There are four expertise skills for each skill that extend and modify the way their parent skill behaves. These have three levels and cost 2 skill points/level.

Powerups each cost 1 skill point, regardless of their base skill.

You only gain Reputation by defeating ranked enemies. When the Reputation bar (found on the Perk panel) is full you are awarded a Perk point with which you can purchase a perk. You can earn a maximum of 10 perk points throughout the game.

As you play more and more, you’ll encounter many game functions.


In the merchant window, select the item you want to buy or sell from the list in the left column and press to buy/sell it. You can switch between item categories with the . Anything you sell by mistake is available for re-purchase.

The Storage Chest

In the Lair, you’ll have a storage chest. Anything stored here can be accessed by all of your characters.

The Enchanter

Items can be further enhanced by placing additional enchantments on them at the Enchanter. Most items can hold one extra enchantment, but some can hold two. You can access this feature at the Lair, at the NPC called Saffi.

You can apply the extra enchantment(s) on the Enchant tab of the enchanter window. The new enchantment will be chosen randomly. An item cannot have multiple enchantments of the same type and certain types of items cannot bear certain types of enchantments. Weapons for example cannot have a Defense enchantment.

You can replace individual enchantments on the Replace tab. You can replace any enchantments here, not just the extra one(s). The new enchantment will also be randomly chosen. The Reroll tab allows for changing the strength of individual enchantments, without changing the type. The value will be changed randomly within a certain interval. The enchanter also lets you change the cosmetic appearance of your item to that of another item.


Another way to increase your equipment’s strength is infusing them with essences. Alchemical enchantments occupy separate slots and the usual enchantment limitations do not apply to them. You can access this feature at the Lair, at the NPC called Dr. Dampf.

To infuse an item, open the Alchemy window by talking to the alchemist, then select the Enhance Item sub option. Select an item with an Essence capacity from the list on the left and press to place it into the appropriate item slot in the lower right. Next, you must do the same with the essence you wish to use. Finally, press again to finish the action.

You can reverse the process with the Dismantle item sub option where you can separate an item from all of the essences. Note that you can also separate merged essences here (see below).

With the Enhance Essence sub option, you can merge an essence into another essence to increase its potency. Some essences are lost in the process. Lastly, certain essences can be combined with each other with the Combine essence sub option, resulting in a new essence type. Not all combinations yield results.

Capacitive Essence can be used to increase an item’s Essence Capacity, but only two of them can be infused to a single item. The maximum Essence Capacity cannot exceed 50.

Artifact forge

You can try to combine enchantments on different items by molding them together in the Artifact Forge. You can access this feature at the Lair, at the NPC called the Inventor.

Select an item that has some enchantments you like and others you may want to change to something else. Choose one or more items that have enchantments you would like to transfer to the forged item. Upon forging, the Source items will be destroyed, and half of their enchantments – chosen randomly – will be transferred to the Forged item. The Forged item loses half of its enchantments – also chosen randomly – and receives the new enchantments from the Source items. For each Source item destroyed, there is a chance that the Forged item becomes stronger and gains an extra enchantment. If multiple enchantments of the same type are transferred from the Source items, the resulting enchantment on the Forged item will be stronger.


The Chimera is a creature made of the material of the Ink, a clever, swift and strong being. According to legend, the very first Chimera was originally created by Koschei the Deathless, the greatest wizard of all time. He designed his experiment to be bodyguards and hunters in the Ink. The Ink slowly distorts them, though, so the older specimens end up as devious beasts.

The Chimera's body is made of raw Ink-material, and a creature of pure magic won’t consume ordinary food. They live on magical essences that they smell from miles away. The Chimera’s body can be influenced by arcane means. The master must place magic candles in the summoning ring to grant the creature strength, faster movement, thicker hide, resistance to magic or advanced fighting skills.

In order to turn the Chimera into a loyal Guardian, a prospective master must defeat it in a special Circle of Combat. If he or she fails, the creature is set free.


The Pigasus is the true wonder of weird science, created to explore the depths of the murky Otherworld (better known as the Ink). Spend some precious Essence to summon this strange creature to your Lair and buy Set or Godlike items from the Pigasus for the right prize of course!

You will have the option to employ a variety of traps besides your own steel and magic. This is essentially a tower defense mini-game with some extra rules you can learn about here.


Enemies will arrive in waves from the red chaos portals and attempt to reach the blue exit portals. They follow movement paths, along which you can build various traps to stop them. Building traps requires a new type of resource: machine parts. You have an initial pool and you can acquire more by clearin the enemy waves.

You can build traps on the available trap slots, just stand near of the desired spot and open the Trap Menu with the Left Trigger. You can also upgrade or sell the existing ones. There are two types of traps, floor and column traps.

You can find out more about the upcoming wave by opening the Map (Press D-pad down). Here you can initiate the next wave by pressing the Menu button.

Coop Story Mode

You can play the game’s story mode with up to four friends. This works mostly the same as if you played alone but there are a few significant differences.

Items and gold are dropped individually for everyone playing. Enemies have their health and damage increased based on the number of players. You can only join someone else’s game if your character has reached at least the same point in the campaign story as the host’s.

In coop mode everyone’s progress is saved whenever a main quest is completed, but only if it hadn’t completed that quest in a previous game already. Your character however is always saved regardless of this.

Battle Royale is a Player versus Player mode with special rules. The game mode is played for points that are accumulated by killing other players. The first player to reach a set number of points wins the match.

Whenever a player becomes the score leader, he is designated as the Target. Killing the Target is worth more points than a regular kill, giving other players a chance to catch up.

Killing monsters may yield keys that can be used to open the chests, which may reward scrolls. Scrolls are temporary boosts that give the user a significant edge for a short time when activated.

You may need to build a character specifically for this game mode.