First Impressions of Krater

Over the past week I have had the pleasure to play the pre-alpha build for the upcoming action RPG game, Krater, for the PC. The game is being developed by Fatshark, the Swedish game developer known for its work on Bionic Commando Rearmed 2.

Krater puts you in control of a team of three people:  the tank, who can take big hits and put out some decent damage; the DPS (damage per second) who can take a decent amount of damage and deal even more; and the healer, who is normally very squishy but keeps your team alive. This build lets you travel through a few different areas and accept some quests, but is just a taste of what the full game will be like.

For a pre-alpha, the scenery looks gorgeous. Buildings are detailed and several asset items are almost photo-realistic. The sound was choppy, but you can chock that up to the build, as the rest of the game was very stable. What was disheartening, however, was the lack of a mini map.  Even for a build this early that should be an essential piece of the game. I had accepted some quests but had no clue where to go to complete them. This allowed for more travel and taking in the scenes, yet it was a little frustrating, having an objective but no knowledge of how to complete it.  Hopefully this is something that will be fixed in the coming months.

The controls are simple: a left mouse click to select characters, and a right mouse click to move them to a desired location. A WASD scheme to direct the whole team may be more efficient instead of clicking on points on the screen, but again this may be added in the final game.  There is also a hotkey bar that allows you to quickly access attacks for each of the characters, which is a great bonus – especially for the healers as it makes them much faster and far more efficient.

Life totals are displayed as bars above the heads of team members and enemies alike. This is a great design, unlike other recent games where health totals have been shown in the corner of the screen, since players focus more on what they are attacking. Having the bar in front of you gives you more time to plan attacks and heals as you need them, without diverting attention away from what you are doing.

After traveling through a few of the sectors I found myself immersed in the game, discovering that it will incorporate both a crafting system and an upgrade system to make your character’s weapons and armor better, using items you find dropped by enemies. There is also the option of exchanging members of your team, hiring them for in-game currency if you have the profits to do so.

A few hours passed without realization, and that is always a good indication of how entertaining the game is.  If Krater can keep you in like this without being close to completion, imagine the time you will put in when it comes to retail! The listed release for Krater is between Q2 and Q3of this year, so a few updated builds may be released in the meantime. Overall, the game seems very solid in its early stages and I look forward to seeing the finished product!

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February 26, 2012 - 8:30 am