Friday, June 15, 2012

Krater Early Impressions

You don't see many squad-based rpgs these days, especially not set in a post-apocalyptic world. Fatshark released Krater for PC three days ago and the response has been pretty good so far. Currently the game is only singleplayer, but they are planning to add co-op within the next month and player versus player sometime after that. Sure there are bugs and a few problems, but take a look at my list below and see how everything stacks up. I should note that many bugs have been fixed already, I've seen two patches today alone and the developers seem pretty on top of it.
-Open world, Baldur's Gate style.
-Three seemingly balanced, yet hardcore difficulties
-Your characters can permanently die if they receive injuries (which they get from getting knocked out in combat)
-Open world difficulty, meaning you can go anywhere right off the bat, but you will quickly get murdered if you are too ambitious
-Random encounters on world map (like Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age)
-Random loot drops with various rarities, typical to most RPG's.
-Quest system keeps all the quests relatively in the same areas
-Crafting system that isn't stupid
-four classes and many different characters you can recruit
-Graphics are pretty good
-Smooth framerate
-Strong presence from Fatshark (developers) on Steam forums
-Quests aren't too exciting yet, but they aren't particularly more boring than most quests in RPG's.
-Camera is rotatable, but still feels a little off
-Can't pause combat to issue commands, but in its defense I don't think you really need to do that.
-A few audio bugs
-No manual save, you can only continue from your one saved game and the game auto saves constantly.
-Bug of some kind: Can't access any menu on the world map other than my journal/quest log.

I've only played Krater about five hours so far, to my dismay, but let me explain a little bit about the RPG aspect of the game. Your squad has three members, but you recruit others and switch them. There only four classes, each of which have two main abilities, and each character levels up like a normal rpg. However, leveling up doesn't increase your stats or anything typical like that. The main purpose of leveling up is to unlock more slots for upgrades and implants. You strengthen your characters by placing implants that increase stamina, strength, focus, intelligence or other attributes. You can also place upgrades onto abilities that make them do something every time you use them, like heal more for the medic class, do more damage for the bruiser or increase the focus of the tech based class.

Each character you use in Krater feel's a bit disposable. Many of their upgrades and implants you use cannot be removed, same with weapons, but you have to keep getting better and better units. The first group you start with can only only go up to rank 5, which is essentially level 5, and the next closest town let's you recruit characters that can go up to rank 10. So once you get to that second town you stop using your first group of characters entirely. It's an odd system and I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I need to see if it slows down a bit later or if you will constantly be switching out old characters for new ones.

Krater doesn't have a demo yet or anything, but the game is pretty cheap, $15, and I am really enjoying it so far. The diverse environments and the huge open world have been a lot of fun to explore. I cannot wait to get back in there and see more of what Krater has to offer. It is only on Steam at the moment and only for PC. I recorded a bit of gameplay for anyone who would like to see it in action and if you would like to see more on the game check out the links below. Thanks for checking it out!
Main Website:
Steam Page:

-Written by Sean Cargle


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