Sunday, July 1, 2012

PC Game Review: Krater

You may not have heard of the company FatShark, but after playing Krater you will agree with me that they should be a gaming company to be watched. This game has a lot of the features that make a game a classic. While there are some things lacking, this is a young company so they have room to grow. 

The Story

Krater is a top down RPG dungeon crawler set in a post apocalyptic world.  Humanity has settled around a giant crater created by some long forgotten war or cataclysm.  This crater leads into the Underside. This is where treasures of ancient technologies can be found and this is what drives conflict in the game. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Those who have the pie don't want to share. The resulting tensions drive deadly competition. Top this off with mutated animals and you have a recipe for awesome! Krater has a great feel. It's pretty, quirky, and everyone wears masks & dress weird. Its this atmosphere is what drives me to go deeper in to the game.  The problem with this is that the story is not driving me deeper. The story is not compelling. The world is. But good games are defined not only by the quality of the graphics and mechanics, but also by the story. I get the tingle of a potential good story but it feels lack luster after a while.

Game Play 

The combat mechanics in Krater are very well done. You control a squad of three soldiers. You choose between 4 classes to fill the ranks. They are
1) Bruiser: This is your damage soaker, your tank, your decoy.
2) Slayer, melee damage per second unit. 
3) Regulator, ranged damage per second unit. 
4) Medikus, the medic/healer of the group. 

Each soldier has two skills and a gadget. This allows you to manage 9 different skill sets at one time with them from different sources.  The squad tactics are well thought out and fun. This makes you think about how you use your soldiers and their skills & tech. Large battles can get really frantic, since you are making sure that the right soldiers are taking damage, getting healed while the others are dealing damage. This is why I feel the 3 unit squad is a good limit. Additionally, you can add depth to your characters and their skills by upgrading each soldier and skills. You find boosters and implants, or craft them as the game progresses.  Krater gives you a ton of crafting items and taking advantage of the crafting system is simple and strait forward. While I haven't found any weapon blueprints, I have relied on what is dropped in game to put things together. This isn't that bad because a lot of the weapons are pretty epic. The names for them are awesome as well.


The beauty of this game is it makes a lot of Nerd culture references.  I have seen Star Wars, League of Legends, and Clutch references in the game so far. I am sure I have probably missed or not understood others as well.  It adds to the quirkiness and fun of the Krater.

Final Assessment

This game is fun, but a weak story holds it back, as well as a fair number of bugs.  When this article was written multiplayer was still lacking. Since the video review below there have been some updates that have solved some of the graphical bugs and added a boot camp was added to give some tutorial where it was lacking. This in turn helped to to understand how to use certain items and level up a couple of my soldiers that would not otherwise level up. Still. something that I don't really like is the lack of variety in skills.  You can find unique characters with different skills, but most of the soldiers within a class all have the same two skills.  It gets a little stale after a while.  Krater is still a great game for the price paid.  The music and sfx are good, the gameplay is fun, and the atmosphere is well designed.

With bugs and all I give Krater a solid 2 Triforces out of 3.

You can get Krater on Stream for $14.99 for the standard edition and $19.99 for the collector's edition.

Video Review

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