Friday, July 20, 2012

Krater Tots

This is literally where I got the title from
  Swedish developer Fatshark's new dungeon crawler, Krater, throws its players into a apocalyptic setting, where you control a party of three characters, all with their own unique sets of skills and attributes. Krater stands out from other games of this hack and slash genre with a perma-death feature, a pseudo-RTS gameplay, and randomized dungeons and events.

Map View of Krater
  It might be best that I start this review off by saying that the game looks absolutely fantastic. It has a nice atmospheric feel to it, and the techno-synth music running in the background brings a nice little addition to the Krater environment. Each area in Krater is beautifully rendered, and the shadows and bloom are appropriately scaled. One of Krater's selling points is that the map is absolutely gigantic and the scope is appropriately scaled. If you squint your eyes, you'll see that the character models aren't all that bad either, but dungeon crawlers are dungeon crawlers, and graphically pleasing environments are the norm. I suppose where I'm going with this is that Krater looks and feels wonderfully apocalyptic, and FatShark made a great steampunkish atmosphere to go with the game. 

Krater Gameplay
  The gameplay of Krater sets itself apart from its peers with a unique party system. Each member of the 4-person party can be ordered about separately, and can even be sent on completely different missions on different sides of the map. The party consists of four main character archetypes, Bruiser (tank), Medikus (healer/doctor), Slayer (melee damage dealer), and Regulator (ranged damage dealer). Convention dictates that the Bruiser takes the lead in combat while the others stay back and play their roles with a set of different formations. A neat mechanic to Krater that ties it in with its setting is that the party is basically a small mercenary group, and must therefore keep hiring higher level capped characters every time that cap is reached. For example, the first 4 characters you start out with are capped at level 5. Upon reaching that cap, you should probably visit a marketplace to buy the next character before heading out again. However, this same mechanic makes the gameplay tied to the level cap, and even then, the highest level is 15, constricting the game even further. Leveling your entire party will take a godless amount of time, as you will be fighting battle after battle with 2 or 3 members not even gaining experience.

Fast Travel Feature
  Each character in your party has two main abilities, which are upgraded with each level. However, these abilities cannot be changed, and at the end of the game, you will still be using those same 2 abilities for each class. Leveling a party member allows you to give stat bonuses to a selected attribute, for example health, damage, or defense. Furthermore, you will be able to add points to your skills, which can be used in synergy with other party members, for example you could give the Regulator a buff to one of his abilities that heals the entire team. In addition to the point system, the player can give each of the characters implants to further bolster stats, giving the game a pretty competent level of customization. Another neat mechanic that Krater brings to the front is a nifty crafting mechanic. Using ingredients dropped by slain enemies, the player can meld together weapons to gift to his characters, provided the recipe is available. However, crafting can only be done at Crafting Tables, which are only offered in the marketplaces in towns, meaning that you will have to hold on to junk items that much longer until you reach a town.

  Though Krater is a fun game to pass the time with, there are a couple glaring issues that were too obvious to gloss over, such as a strange item pickup system, and the aforementioned level cap mechanic. Krater still holds its own in defining itself from conventional dungeon crawlers, and has a respectable amount of neat things that make it stand out. I definitely had an enjoyable time playing Krater, but its nowhere near the point where I would gladly give days trying to completely beat the game.

Freshness Rating: I went in, but didn't stay till the end. Bork bork.

Official Website

1 comment:

  1. Sounds a bit disappointing, but at least you had fun.