Krater: Shadows Over Solside

This was one of the more unusual titles which has ended up in my possession for review. It’s a post-apocalyptic action-RPG which kicks things off in Sweden of all places. It’s a refreshing breath of air to see a post-apocalyptic setting which hasn’t been completely done to death, even if a lot of the setting can only be defined by names and dialogue, and you even start the game off with a massive hangover as you attempt to find where the rest of your party collapsed the night before. Okay, sure, I’m on board with this so far.

Once you’ve assembled your merry team of three, consisting of a Bruiser for heavy attacks, a Brawler for quick and agile attacks, and a Medicus for healing and having an unimaginative name, it’s time to get questing. Straight off the bat I found Krater to be absolutely beautiful in appearance. The graphics are not the crispest you’ll ever see, but the art design and direction they took really hooked me from the get go. It’s a steam punk meets Fable style and to me looks fantastic as you traverse the World Map and trudge through the forests. The soundtrack is also spot on, the collector’s edition even comes with a bonus CD justifiably for it, which was also great because in most dungeon crawlers I find myself using an iPod 75% of the time as if I’m going to grind I want to grind to good music. Krater did not have this problem.

That all being said, however, there are many other problems which you have to contend with in Krater. After the first few hours you do begin to notice that a lot of the quests get rather similar. It begins to feel like those first 20 odd levels of an MMO when you have to clear an area of everything or kill a certain number of something. Those quickly become almost every quest. Minus an occasional looting quest that does little to spice things up. Of course, it will also be a few hours in when you finally hit the level cap of each of your party. Why so quickly, you ask? Well, you can improve and upgrade your party members with boosters and implants, as well as weapons/equipment, and that then takes over for a levelling system when they quickly hit their cap. This then reduces the game down into a tedious micro-managing system within menus, and having to craft new implants to stand any chance of progression.

It damn near makes levelling moot to begin with and ends up making the experience feel really unsatisfying. When I complete a quest I want a big blaze of lights and a giant モLEVEL UP!ヤ to appear next to my character. Not a loot box to pop up and then I have to end my menu screen, click and drag a new implant across, attached it manually, and then leave the menu. That’s not satisfying. That’s EVE Online standard and I will not stand for it in what should be a really enjoyable action-RPG.

The World Map is terrific, you can somewhat free control between areas and have random encounters along the way and those are all good, but there’s no fast travel system. None what-so-ever. Meaning when you have to revisit an area to kill more of a different species than you had to last time, guess what? Enjoy your 15 minute trek to get there. It’s so unnecessary and clunky. It would have been a perfectly acceptable option but it should never have been mandatory.

I really wanted to give Krater: Shadows Over Solside a higher review score. The writing and dialogue is very well done, I loved the setting, the art direction was stunning, and I enjoyed the combat for the rather simplistic click-fest that it was. Krater fell short on some of the key aspects though leaving me no alternative but to drop it many more points than I would have liked. However, I wish to end it on a praise, if you see it on a Steam Sale at a reduced price it should definitely be worthy of your consideration if it looks appealing to you. I would never want to put it up against Torchlight II of Diablo III with it’s current price bracket.







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