by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Knockdowns and Injuries
Player damage works differently depending on what level you have chosen to play the game at. In the Easy (Casual) mode, the squad members are allowed three knockdowns. After that point they will receive an injury that must be healed by a doctor in one of the towns for a fee. In Normal mode, the fourth knockdown ends in death to that character and a new ally must be hired. In the Hardcore more, every knockdown causes an injury. And often, injuries sustained can be permanent injuries which reduce the players stats...not substantially, but it can definitely be a pain.
But unless it is your main character, it will only be a minor inconvenience. Your chosen allies only have a limited time span in the game due to the fact that they have a level cap. This means you'll be swapping characters a fair bit, giving little incentive to level them up. The fact that you're basically forced to change your squad every few levels means that there is little connection with the other squad members.
What is worse is that no matter which crew members are with you, the story doesn't seem to change along with them. On the whole, there is actually little story to the game at all. Yes, there are hundreds of quest givers that have their own minor stories, but there seems little backstory about the crater and itís properties. Small cut-scenes do tell some of the story of the area and are quite nicely done though.
The cut-scenes have an almost Borderlands feel to them, as do the interactions with the quest givers, mainly due to their looks. It works rather well in the run down shanty-esque towns surrounding the crater. Otherwise, from a visual standpoint, Krater feels more like Torchlight, both from a setting point of view and from a design perspective. The layout on screen is pretty much identical to that of Torchlight with party members in the top left of the screen, mini map in the top right whilst all the current spells and attacks are located along the bottom. Even the dungeons have a similar look. I have no quarrel with using a similar layout because it worked really well in Torchlight and does so for Krater. All the required info is displayed either on the main playing screen or within a click of a mouse or assigned key. At times the information can be a tad difficult to read due to the tiny font used.
Audio is quite good. The background music is often haunting, giving a sense of helplessness in the apocalyptic setting despite the lush forests and semi thriving communities located around the crater. There is little in the way of voice acting though and this is a little disappointing, only because the quest givers do have some speech linked to their dialogue, but not all. It just seems like it was half completed or just added on as an afterthought.
Head to the Krater
Despite the issues of the low level cap, the tiny font for loot details and the voice acting afterthought, Krater is a fun game to play. It is easy to get into even for novice role players. It could almost be classed as an RPG-lite sort of game, due to the small number of classes and character stats. But being in control of a small squad, the less micromanagement of the characters makes for a more enjoyable experience. The visual splendour of the landscape, not normally associated with a post apocalyptic world is another nice touch. With the amount of area to cover and towns to visit, gamers will certainly need plenty of time to get through it all. There is a main quest line that can be completed, but there are enough quest givers throughout the towns to keep you busy elsewhere. And with word from the developers that they are planning on adding extra locations, the game is certainly worth the purchase price.
Gameplay is simple to pick up. Combat is fast paced. Knockdown and injury system is a nice feature
Characters have low level caps, meaning you wonít spend much time with each character before changing to a new one.