Krater makes a fresh first impression, but beneath the surface, you find generic combat and frustrating design elements.
- Presents an unusually inviting postapocalyptic world.
- Characters start with just two abilities and never acquire more
- Frustrating restrictions on leveling process
- Rote combat
- Lacks fast travel option.
From the ashes, a new society has risen. In the wake of a nuclear catastrophe that wiped out billions, the survivors who dwell in the land once known as Sweden have formed new settlements from the wreckage. Krater is more vibrant than the typically bleak take on postapocalyptic life, and there's a humorous sense of whimsy in the way it envisions Sweden after the catastrophe; for instance, you'll recognize the signs for a company called IDEA as the slightly modified signs of a certain furniture mega-chain. This imagining of Sweden as a land largely reclaimed by nature initially seems enticing to explore with your band of adventurers. But mediocre combat and poor pacing soon take the spring out of your step and make hacking and slashing your way through Krater a slog.
You control a trio of characters who can be assembled from four different classes: the stalwart bruiser; the healing medikus; the long-range, crowd-controlling regulator; and the close-range, damage-dealing slasher. All characters have two abilities--they start with these and never gain any more, so there's little sense of character progression as you level them up.
Leveling up does open up slots for implants and boosters, though, and outfitting your characters with these can boost their stats and add buffs and bonuses to their existing abilities. You can also equip each character with a gadget, which provides a supplementary ability. The freedom to focus on upgrading the stats you want to and to customize abilities with the buffs that you want is welcome. But the pleasure of customization is weighed down by the busywork of frequently needing to return to towns, find crafting tables, and click through the process of creating your desired boosters and implants.
There's an overall level cap of 15, but your characters might start with level caps of 5 or 10, and only by visiting a boot camp and forking over money can you open up higher levels. As a result, you can spend significant amounts of time not earning experience points, if, for instance, you've reached level 10 with your current characters and can't yet afford to unlock the next five levels. This time spent fighting without earning XP feels like time wasted. You can also visit recruitment officers and purchase new squad members who have access to level 15 from the get-go. But this means going through the whole process of leveling them up and outfitting them with boosters and implants from scratch, which is a chore if you've already done this with other characters.
Once they've reached level 15--which doesn't take that long while they're actually earning XP--continuing to improve your characters is a matter of gaining access to better and better blueprints and crafting materials so that you can periodically replace your existing boosters and implants with superior ones. The knowledge that a character is no longer earning experience may encourage you to rotate another character into your squad who can still reap the benefits of XP, but it won't be that long before you have a team of adventurers you're happy with who have all reached the level cap, and again, the knowledge that you're not earning experience in combat makes it feel less worthwhile.
Unfortunately, the combat isn't exciting enough to be its own reward. Despite the fact that you have three characters with differing abilities in your party, there's rarely much tactical depth to battle. Fast reflexes sometimes come into play, as you may need to respond to one of your characters suffering damage by quickly unleashing a heal. But for the most part, what works against one pack of enemies works against another. Since each character has only two abilities, there are only so many approaches you can take to killing enemies, and once you decide upon an effective one, there's little reason to change things up. So you trudge through battles, clicking on enemies and tapping keys to employ your limited range of abilities and gadgets; it's all thoroughly routine.
When you do find yourself coming up against enemies you can't defeat, it's typically a matter of needing to improve your stats with better implants rather than needing to alter your strategy. So it's back to the crafting table again. Should you meet defeat multiple times in combat, your characters suffer injuries, and if they suffer four injuries, they die permanently. But the threat of death seldom generates much tension on the normal difficulty level. Most of the time, you can easily make your way to a town and have a doctor heal your characters before they suffer any injuries.
As you might expect, enemies drop money and loot. Occasionally you come across a weapon or gadget that's better than your current equipment. But much of what you find is only good for selling, and your inventory can quickly fill up with junk. Many recent action role-playing games have made getting to and from town to unload unwanted gear a quick and easy process; Krater is not one of these games. You can extract your team to the surface from any level of any dungeon, but from there, you must make your way across the world map back to the nearest town, and your journey may be interrupted by random encounters. The world map is beautiful, but you traverse it slowly, and since you usually just want to get where you're going, the random encounters that spring up from time to time only serve to further break up the sense of momentum in a game that never gets much momentum going in the first place.
Sadly, Krater never finds a way to distinguish itself from other, better action RPGs out there. At first, the distinctive Swedish setting is alluring, and the ethereal music that plays on the world map lends this land an enchanted feel. But soon each area you visit looks a lot like an area you've already visited, and the tendency of your squad members to utter the same silly statements over and over again begins to grate. And so, bogged down by rote combat and a frustrating leveling system, the act of exploring Krater's large world loses its luster. Currently there are nonfunctioning buttons in menus for online multiplayer options, and you never know what the future will bring. But as it stands, there are far more rewarding adventures for would-be fortune hunters to embark on.
It combines the combat mechanics of action-rpgs with the top-down tactics of the classic old-school games such as Syndicate and X-Com. I like it http://tcvonline.info/
I agree with most of Carolyns opinions on the game but I had some great fun with the it. Unnecessary or not, I change up my strategy pretty often. Trying different booster set ups on the skills, changing team members on the fly etc.
But yeah, I don't think the "design by committee" did the game any good. Asking player about input during the development will only make you focus on small details and not on the fact that the game is largely broken and unbalanced
I agree with pretty much everything you criticize but still feel that your verdict is a little too harsh. Despite all its shortcomings, I quite enjoy the game.
I'm a bit divided on the leveling system.
First of all, I also think that it is frustating. But it also limits the importance of grinding, especially after you've hit level 15. In order to kill stronger enemies you need to adjust your tactics, i.e. your boosters, implants or the members in your team. Killings hordes of weaker enemies until you're stronger doesn't work in this game. The different classes, boosters and implants give you a lot of flexibility for tactical experiments. When all of your characters, boosts and implants are at maximum level, only changes in tactics will let you defeat stronger enemies.
I think the idea deserves credit, although its implementation is less than optimal. And it does set Krater apart from other action rpgs, doesnt it?
"But soon each area you visit looks a lot like an area you've already visited, and the tendency of your squad members to utter the same silly statements over and over again begins to grate."
Very true indeed, there is just not enough variety in the environments and the random encounters are the travel map seem pointless and tacked on. I should of waited on buying this or read more reviews.
GS user comparing Krater scores and Diablo 3 scores. LOL
If Diablo 3 contains the same problematic gameplay as Krater, I'm sure tha fans reaction will be much more severe. XP
I like how you didn't mention Diablo a single time. A good review altogether. I myself gave the game a 6.5, but it's probably because it has grown on me pretty fast.
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they should make this for Wii U player one can use the tablet for implant fussing sounds like fun Wii U is going to be amazing!
Hrm. What a shame, the game had some potential for at least a decent game.
Can't say I'm surprised though; watched a bunch of beta gameplay a few weeks ago when I first heard of it, and everything about its gameplay just felt doomed from the start, if a little fresh.
@Petnos It's still worth buying. It is flawed and has some bad decisions built into it, but it's still good value at 14?.
Should reviews be slanted to take into account a $15 indie price? Yeah, it may not stack up to a $60 AAA title.. but for the price, I thought it was MUCH better than a 5.
after Kevin V, now Carolyn Petit is opening his way to be in my top 3 favorite game reviewers. good job man!
@redder1111 Carolyn is a woman.
@driftingsilvia No. Carolyn is a man.
You don't just magically become another gender because you wake up and decide you want to be.
@AltoShadow13 Its hard to understand gender identity as someone who as not undergone gender identity issues. However, the terrible and sometimes soul crushing struggles that results in some who attempt to be what they truly believe they are, as well as through heart breaking stories and as well as being backed by the American Psychological Association means that is a very real issue and one that we should not be ignorant on, for the sake of not just them but also the possibility that our children may suffer such a situation.
@Christine_K There is something called gender identity you know. You are acting very ignorant on an issue that is very important to the transgender popularion.
@ChemicalsBoy First of all, there is nothing new or interesting in your post or your link. We've all heard it before. The only difference is, I don't agree with the conclusion. More importantly, you're annoyed by the issue being addressed at all, yet you feel the need to make a post such as this for no good reason whatsoever, throwing more fuel on the fire?
Read my previous replies. I was never interested in discussing this, because I am fully aware that opinions are split, and this is not the place to take that debate, yet people keep itching for a response on it - you included.
You ramble on about gender identity as if it is some new and revealing information - it's not. Believe me, it is very possible to be informed on a subject, and still disagree with you about the conclusions made, so if you're gonna keep bringing this up (and yes, it is YOU that are bringing this up - I only post in this ridiculous thread whenever someone else replies to me) please just stick to a point instead of parroting information like a pamplet.
Furthermore, nobody has said anything along the lines of what you were raving about in your last paragraph at all. In fact, there hasn't been any post made wich was particularily negative towards Carolyn at all. That was all your assumption, just like you assume that to hold a position different from yours must equal being severly uninformed.
All things said and done, I think you're the one who might need to grow up a bit, since the only intolerance on display here is your own.
Wouldn't "gender" and "sex" be referring to the same thing by definition? If so they are both physical in which case a person has no say in that once born. Accepting or denying that is the only real choice you have but opinions differ on that subject.
"Each person has a sex, a gender, and a gender identity. These are all aspects of your sexuality. They are all about who you are, and they are all different, but related.
Sex is biological. It includes our genetic makeup, our hormones, and our body parts, especially our sex and reproductive organs.Gender refers to society's expectations about how we should think and act as girls and boys, and women and men. It is our biological, social, and legal status as women and men.Gender identity is how we feel about and express our gender and gender roles ? clothing, behavior, and personal appearance. It is a feeling that we have as early as age two or three.
Transgender Some people find that their gender identity does not match their biological sex. When this happens, the person may identify as transgender."
This is a completely irrelevant and unproductive area of discussion as far as I'm concerned, but I figured I would at least play devil's advocate. It's mind-boggling to me that people still feel the need to bring this up in the comments section of every single review Carolyn Petit writes, especially since her transgender lifestyle arguably has absolutely zero influence on her opinions on a mediocre dungeon crawler. She's been writing for the site for 4 goddamn years. If you want to stroke your own opinions on traditional gender attitudes, go to ConservativeForums.com; if you want to talk about Krater, then stay in this comment box. Grow up and get over it.
@driftingsilvia I'd write my own reply, but Christine pretty much summed up my thoughts. Props to Gamespot for being an equal opportunity employer, but the reality is gender is a physical thing.
I'm not here to debate the morality of it, one way or the other. I just refuse to call him a 'she' since I consider gender to be a physical thing - not something you just decide in your own mind.
@Christine_K oh....you mean....alright lol
@Christine_K Carolyn is a guy that likes to be a girl, nothing wrong with that,each to their own as long it couse's no harm to others
@driftingsilvia Read *his* article about Poison (Final Fight / Street Fighter) as a transgender gaming icon, and maybe you'll catch on.
@Christine_K Read next to her editor profile "Carolyn Petit has been reading GameSpot since 2000 and writing for it since 2008. She has a particular fondness for games of the 1980s, and intends to leave the field of games journalism as soon as she hears that her local Ghostbusters franchise is hiring."
@driftingsilvia oh so sorry, I didn't even read her bio in the end of the review. I just know her reviews are awesome! :D
@driftingsilvia Can you really blame him for saying that though? I thought she was a man at first sight too.
Interesting concept but poorly executed. That's a shame, because post-apocalyptic games have a lot of potential for being great.
Why do these developers who want to bring back the "old-school" style games always seem to bring back the bad with the good? No quick travel. Piles of useless gear. Overly restrictive level cap. Tedium. I like the old-schoold games but refusing to make use of modern gaming improvements while devloping them is inexcusable at this point.
I was hoping this game would be good, but the verdict seems to be they simply made terrible gameplay design decisions.
Maybe the new Divinty will be what I'm looking for???
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@Gelugon_baat Who's talking about conspiracy theories? History speaks for itself.... Madoff, Nero, Hitler and the list goes on. Human beings have a long history of unscrupulous behaviour!
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@3Minotaur3 i would agree with you and that is usually the case with reviewers on this site but i have to say this review is spot on IMO.
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Oh I know full well that reporting you to GS isn't gonna get you banned. But hopefully other members will report you aswell for your bullying tactics and spamming and then GS will sooner or (more likely) later see that you are bad for the community. It's not your opinion I'm attacking, it's that you won't let other people have THEIR opinion without spamming every comment with your "submission argument" ie. repeating it over and over again until the other member give up. It's like having a conversation with someone who always interrupt you before you can finish a sentence. If you have something to say then just say it in a single comment without responding to every single comment in a thread.
TBH I don't want you banned but I DO hope GS will give you a warning NOT to spam every thread and let others have their opinion and then only respond when you have something really important to say.
@Gelugon_baat mmm, i think you need to work on your comprehension. Oh,and work on your trolling,it is bad and transparent.
Well, best of luck and have a great day
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@Gelugon_baat Corruption is everywhere. Anyone who thinks government can't be bought by the likes of tobacco/oil comapanies, other big business or casinos is either stupid or naive. The same goes for game websites like Gamespot. How do you think they fund themselves? Don't get me wrong, I like websites such as this, I just don't give much credence to their game reviews
@3Minotaur3 I have some proof. The guys at Giant Bomb who are exclusively independent and work out of their garages, and who used to work at Gamespot and who can attest to having struggled against external influence (ie, bribes, marketing pressure etc), and who left as a result of such a terrible environment, are now working along side Gamespot. That is a sign that Gamespot staff are to be trusted.
Interesting to hear all the same; so please continue.
@Gelugon_baat If you must but I think you would be better suited to an intelligent conversation with a friend. Peeps on these forums only care about either a: bashing games or b: what they themselves say.
@Gelugon_baat you spend alot of time on pointless debates. These people don't care what ya think :/
I wasn't accusing Gamespot of corruption. I was just saying corruption is everywhere. You just need to read the news each day - there's your proof. All I have been saying from the start is that it is odd when critic reviews differ so much from the general public. I probably shouldn't have said "Critics sometimes need to get off their high horse and stop talking just for the sake of hearing their own voice" but I did. Case closed.