Wot I Think: Krater

What is the gas masking?
Krater, Fatshark’s colourful take on dungeon crawling, is a feature-laden, post-apocalyptic taste of party-driven RPGing tactics. It’s got a sense of humour and a sense of taste, but does it make any sense? Here’s wot I think.

I have a lot of sympathy with what Fatshark are trying to do. They claim that Krater aims to mix “the combat mechanics of action-rpgs with the top-down tactics of the classic old-school games such as Syndicate and X-Com.” And it sort of does that. Possibly the most immediately cheering aspect of their attempt to achieve this synthesis is the way that you play along to a familiar ARPG beat, but with three characters at once. Each of these characters can be independently controlled, or commanded as a group in an RTS drag-box fashion. Their special powers can be instantly deployed from six hotkeys. These ideals set Krater up as something interesting, and it back that up with the world it’s set in, which sits quite far from the standard fantasy ARPG template with its post-apocalyptic Sweden. This all makes for a robust foundation.

Much of Krater, however, is baffling. And not because so much of it is left unexplained. The lack of a tutorial in a game like this is little more than a speed bump. I honestly don’t care if I have to read roll-over tool-tips and stats for things to figure it all out. I’ve been doing that for years. The deeper issue is that some of the features that lie at the heart of this game do not create a logical structure, and because they defy intuition and create incoherence, they cause frustration. The fundamental structure of the game places a question mark of confusion over itself, and results in an uneasy and awkward experience for what could and should have been a great game.

You must understand that I went in pretty keen. Why wouldn’t I want to play something of a rare strain of ARPG that blends standard mob-thumping with slightly older, more traditional party-based games? The art-style – cartoon gask-mask folk whose aesthetic sits somewhere between Borderlands and a Team Fortress 2 Pyro cosplay session – is a consistent delight. My first impressions were bright: lovely post apocalyptic towns with quirky roof-gardens and leafy backdrops, characters that were reasonably well-written and entertaining, despite their facelessness. This really is a world I want to play in: a ramshackle, colourful frontier of the unfortunate future, centered around that mysterious, titular crater.

The world map, designed to illustrated this and also to navigate and explore your way the world’s many locations, is gorgeous and evocative – if lacking in quite enough information – giving the entire game a feeling of being part of a larger canvas. An early random encounter drops some silly sinisterness into the game, and at that stage, before you’ve really worked out the rules of the thing, it’s all looking rather promising. The game is pretty funny. There are even cracks about Sweden and RPGs – pickled fish, rats in the basement, and a post-apocalyptic furniture company called IDEA – giving Krater atypical sprinkle of awareness.

I love the free camera (with an analogue zoom) as well as the control of the three characters. Each one of these comes with, potentially, its own archetype, allowing you to set up some rudimentary tactical structures: slow and stun with that guy, heal with this guy, and lay down the damage with the big guy. That part makes sense a lot of sense.

However, as I played the oddities began to pile up. The sense that despite the good stuff, it didn’t get the basics right. The combat never really gets interesting. Things don’t escalate in a pleasing fashion. The baddies don’t really come with much variety, and don’t exactly work together. They’re ranged, or they’re not, they’re the standard version, or the tougher boss version. You’re expecting click climaxes to arrive, but they never do. Krater never climbs up beyond some quite basic button-mashing. There’s not much else going on with combat, which is disheartening when it’s the largest part of what there is to do.

Then you notice that the mini-map fog is being redrawn as you trapse around dungeons. Defying a convention that allows you to tell where you’ve been. It’s baffling.

As you fight your way through various missions you begin to encounter the injury and death mechanisms. If a character gets knocked down too many times they can die permanently. You have to visit the hospital to get minor injuries seen to, but permanent injuries stack up. Their negative stat modifiers might not matter too much, but they do require you to be levelling up other characters in case you lose the guys you are currently working with. That means grinding up a lot more money and equipment, which always seems slightly under-supplied, with far too much junk and far too little useful equipment. This might not have been so irritating if death in the game wasn’t so arbitrary. Quite often it was just a case of running, unexpectedly, into a mob several levels higher, and dying. Nothing I could have done. No way to back off. No way to gauge the challenge.

The injury and death system is ultimately more about increasing workload, rather than providing excitement through threat. This is an important point, and at the heart of my confusion with Krater. The reason permanent death in games is thrilling is because of connection to and investment in a character, which is not found here. You either have stuff you need and care about because you don’t want to lose it (Day Z) or you’ve put time and money into fitting out something expensive (Eve). But in Krater I found it hard to care about what I was putting together. Partly that’s because of a lack of player’s own investment – there’s no process of character creation or customisation beyond the uninteresting weapons they are carrying (you do not even name them) – but also because however well you might intend to play Krater, you are forced to train up new characters to continue the game, no matter your skill with the characters you began with. Yes, the characters you start with reach a level cap and must be discarded. Not that the game bothers to explain that, they just stop getting XP and you have to notice that it says “level 5/5” in the character screen. That means hiring someone who can take you from 0-10, and later up to 15.

That’s right: characters run out of the ability to progress. There seems to be no reason for this, other than to increasing the amount of time spent grinding for cash and equipment with replacement characters.

A bizarre side effect of this character-trashing disconnectedness is that story continuity exists, but there’s no character continuity. Characters that you’ve just hired will experience the storyline, and respond to NPCs, as if they were the same original band of characters, even though they are not, and had nothing to do with previous events. It all makes a mild farce of the notion of this being a party-based ARPG.

Perhaps if the Krater’s character upgrading had been slicker and more intuitive, and the seemingly random difficulty spikes had been more comprehensible to me as I played, I would not have struggled so much to like this game. But to have to go back and grind up characters because of the arbitrary caps…. it’s baffling.

As I said at the beginning, I am not unsympathetic to what Fatshark are doing here. They are trying to make an ARPG that both hits the critical beat of dungeon-crawling and loot churning, with some deep and valuable crafting, but at the same time delivers a different kind of world, and a different kind of character management micro-game. I get all that, but I can’t say that it works or, consequently, really recommend it.

Finally, I should make this last point: I’ve avoided comparing this game to Diablo III, because I don’t really think the game is comparable. They are from a similar region of the genre map, but they are cousins from quite different backgrounds, and with utterly different goals. That said, the intensity of the combat experience in Diablo III is what makes it sing. It’s what makes any game like this memorable and fun. The fireworks, and the variety of things you hit, it adds up to a symphony of loot-hoovering bludgeoneering. Krater, by contrast, feels quite downbeat. A well-meaning garage band playing in the music hall intended for a full-scale orchestra. And the dissonance is notable.


  1. danimalkingdom says:

    Despite the drawbacks detailed in this (excellent) review, the game sounds pretty intriguing. Frankly, anyone who develops an RPG and breaks from the fantasy mould gets my support.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yes, this sounds very much like a flawed masterpiece, and I am definitely getting it soon. I just have other games I need to get first.

      • mouton says:

        It is more the other way around – it is a poor game with a few interesting elements which are, sadly, not enough. But I guess you will see for yourself soon.

        • Tuco says:

          I completely agree, it is a very poor game, with disfunctional core mechanics.
          An interesting setting and a decent art direction are its only (insufficient) redeeming qualities.

        • The_Mess says:

          The core mechanics work well enough, it’s just the it needs more variation in skills, enemies and AI behaviour. And reading the manual in the current build helps :P

    • Vorphalack says:

      That will never be a good enough reason for me to back a game regardless of the mechanics. I’d love to see a steam punk / cyberpunk / post-apocalyptic / contemporary / near future RPG do well, but at the same time i’m quite aware that the majority of the best RPGs i’ve played have been set in the low or high fantasy genres.

  2. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    The level caps must be some kind of remnant from an original design that changed over time. I can imagine something like that working if money and experience were limited and you had a greater mix of differently capped units available to hire right from the start. Something like that.

    As it is it’s just… yeah.

    • Mayjori says:

      you do have a mix of differently capped heros from the start you can hire.

  3. mouton says:

    Tried it and my impressions were very similar. I really wish the game was better, but sadly, the negatives far outweigh the considerable positives. I simply gave up after 1000 wolves and 100 bears.

    • phylum sinter says:

      I’m with you (and RPS here) too. After about 6 hours waiting for the good stuff to start, i sighed and uninstalled it. I don’t think the issues i have with it can be patched – it’s just a pretty looking shambles as it is, with a few good ideas hinted at but never fully realized.

      This might be the last game i preorder.

      • Toberoth says:

        Jeebus, when will people stop pre-ordering games? :-S

        I don’t mean to sound sarcastic or insulting, because I’m genuinely curious about this, but I’d really like to know the reasons why you (or any other pre-orderers) think pre-ordering a game outweighs the benefits of waiting for a while and buying it after reading one or two reviews.

        • ZephaniahGrey says:

          It’s probably a hold over from the days of physical purchases where if you didn’t pre-order you’d have to wait a few weeks to get it. That said I still do it from time to time if a game seriously sounds good, and especially if a discount is offered. I didn’t pre-order here however. I bought it day of release because everything about it sounded good. I’m with the consensus here though. After a few kill all the thing missions, and a death, I got tired of it. Also the graphics bothered me. Not sure whether it was my big screen or the game itself, but the characters were such tiny masses of colorful details that I really couldn’t tell which was which at a glance.

  4. Njordsk says:

    Pretty good opinion. I’m 10 hours in Krater, and my feelings are mixed too.

    It has a lot of downpoints, but I’m having fun. Very basic fun, mob bashing, upgrading with boosters etc… But i don’t really “feel” the “goal” of the game, I don’t feel like achieving something.

    And the level cap ruined my day, seriously. I went on google to search how to go from 5 to 10 and people were telling to recruit mercenaries. Just when I was starting to get attached to my party.

    It’s basic, good looking, somehow fun even if very repetitive.

    If someone was asking me if he should bother with this game, I think that would be the first time I wouldn’t know what to answer.

  5. abandonhope says:

    Am I incorrect in recalling that they went from beta to release in just a couple months? It felt fairly beta-y when I last played, which doesn’t seem like more than a few weeks ago.

    • mouton says:

      I had no issues whatsoever in those few hours I played it. It is the bland and repetitive gameplay that truly cripples it.

      On the other end of the spectrum – and staying in Sweden – Magicka was much more fun overall and I played it many many more hours, despite it being a bugfest of epic proportions.

  6. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    That is a shame. The concept sounded really interesting, but it sounds as thought the game could have done with a few more months development & polish.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Based on my experience in beta they got enough polish in for launch, but the problems that nagged me were much deeper than that; things that needed to be fixed before or in early alpha. Mostly the same complaints raised in the article: Poor enemy, and character variety. I also started to get bored with fighting in what felt like the same handful of locations over and over.

      I wanted more skills for my characters, first off. I would have been much more excited about hiring new guys for my team if they all had unique skill sets, but they’re mostly just the same character with the same skills but he can go to rank 10 instead of 5. There are mutant variations, I gather, with unique skills, but I never saw any while I played.

      That said, I still have a great deal of affection for the game, and intend to watch it very carefully as they roll out more features in the coming month. I hope they move to address some of these concerns, because I do want to play the game and support them. But in its current state, there are simply too many other, more fully realized games that deserve my time more.

  7. UncleLou says:

    Great write-up, and I can’t disagree*. It all starts so very promising, but after a few hours, it just fizzles out a bit with the ever-identical enemies and same basic combat pattern.

    *except with the camera, I think a fixed camera and level design that takes the fixed perspective into account work much better for isometric games

  8. RaytraceRat says:

    This review made me change my mind about buying this game. So, dear developers, if you miss my 12 quids you know who to blame.

    • wodin says:

      Shame it’s great fun and has it’s faults but the review is pretty harsh in my opinion. For the price it’s worth it.

      • RaytraceRat says:

        na… truth to be told, I think I will buy it, it looks very interesting. I just need to wait until I have some time to enjoy a game, not just take a 30min peek and leave it in the steam library to rot.

        • The_Mess says:

          And wait for the patches :P

          There’s a big bug fix in the works too due this week, but I’m assuming once the online stuff is working it’ll be a bit more polished.

          Which means less work for me (I help mod the support forum for Krater…) and a lot of happy players hopefully.

      • phylum sinter says:

        What do you think is the game’s selling point then?

        I’ve played it for a good 6 hours and have yet to find anything worth my money in it. Shiny DX11 Graphics don’t count without well executed gameplay concepts. Everything in Krater feels half baked or limited for unknown reasons to me, and i can’t recommend it to anyone for any price unless… well maybe if you’ve exhausted every other ARPG out there – including Dungeon Siege 3 – and that’s largely a bland, but at least functional game.

  9. Easy says:

    I’m about 6 hours in, having mixed feelings but on the whole am enjoying it… so far. I certainly have no regrets buying it, and that says something. The level cap is indeed strange, but you can level up quite quickly on the first 5 levels, so swapping to my first Lvl 10 cap character wasn’t as painful as I was expecting. The game’s quirky charms do grow on you.

  10. Cruyelo says:

    I really like the style of the game, but the combat just feels so repetitive and uninspired that I can’t bring myself to start the game again.

    If they had pushed the concept farther, specialized the characters a little bit more and given them way more abilities, this could have been quite nice. It felt like controlling a party in a MMO (4 classes in the game = tank, dps, healer, crowd control), except each of them were simplified to only 2 abilities, and they weren’t all that interesting. (and modifying them doesn’t go quite far enough to bring those skills alive either)

    A nice try, will be interesting to see what they do next, but this wasn’t as good as it could/should have been.

    • phylum sinter says:

      You’re spot on – if the abilities were fleshed out more, the cap was higher, and the combat were more varied, this game would be great. It’s like they stopped designing halfway and let the art team finish the game.

  11. wodin says:

    I’m enjoying it, yes having to hire new character sis odd but they soon level up. I have noticed on the whole it’s easy but suddenly has difficulty spikes, I also notice during combat I spend most the time looking at the ability bar hitting them as soon as they come available until there are no enemies left rather to the point I never actually watch the fight itslef. Still for the price it’s good fun and the atmosphere is excellent.

    Lastly unlike the reviewer I like the slower pace and less frantic diabloesque action. So I for one was pleased it never got to frantic.

  12. gschmidl says:

    “No way to back off” is not true – stun them and run.

    The lacking ability to progress is not a good decision, but it is apparently going to be patched into the game.

    Many of the other criticisms are valid. I fully expect there to be future patches to address things, but there shouldn’t have to be. An extra month in open beta would’ve done them a lot of good, but at the same time, I’m willing to cut them lots more slack because they’re not exactly an AAA publishing behemoth.

  13. CaBBagE says:

    I played it as beta and more recently the release version. I have to say it feels unfinished, and with that lies the hope that they’ll fix it. If you read the changelogs shortly after release there was quite a lot of content being added with more to come. Like most people after playing it for a short while I was excited, now I find myself wondering if they can sort it or not.

    (They’re doing War of the Roses too aren’t they?)

  14. lhzr says:

    Regarding the level cap of the characters, see this:

    “We will add boot camps where you can upgrade your characters from 5->10 and so forth so people that love their characters can keep them.”

    And that fog of war thing sounds like a bug to me, it’s too absurd to be a design decision..

  15. Dare_Wreck says:

    Does the perspective of the second screenshot look upside-down to anyone else too? The damage numbers are rightside-up, though, so it’s apparently not, but something about the colors and shadows make me feel disoriented, as if the camera has been rotated 180 degrees…

  16. pakoito says:

    This game is calling for modders badly.

  17. Malk_Content says:

    Tried the beta and didn’t even get far enough to encounter the problems you mentioned. The first strike was abilities claiming to generate aggro not really working (enemies would pause on my tank for about a second before moving to the squishy back line which meant the time it took to use the aggro powers would have been better served just thumping things to kill them quicker.) The second when the game rewarded me with quest rewards I could not equip for another 3 levels, this being the reward for the first quest when they know exactly how much xp I would have generated, and where then underpowered by the time I got to that level to unlock the slot. Finally when the game unlocked the ability to slot stat buffs I was happy for about 30 seconds, but then I tried to fiddle with the builds and apparently this slotting is permanent, something the game didn’t tell you until you tried to remove an item.

    Shame I loved the artstyle and general atmosphere of the game, but everything else was so arse backwards.

  18. kibble-n-bullets says:

    I participated in the beta (i took detailed notes on my playtime!) but dropped off after a 2.5 GB update. Anyways, I had always had the suspicion that the developers weren’t really sure about where the fun was. Everything seemed to have an equal focus (it was early an early beta though).

    I had suggested they used different colored and shaped markers for the party members so you can keep track of them while focusing elsewhere on the screen. Unless you look right at the bastards you’ll lose track of whose where in the formation, which is critical in a tactical game like this.

  19. Zyrocz says:

    I bought it and have played it for some hours, but I think I’ll just wait until next month. By then they’ve probably fixed some bugs and I’ll be able to play it online, considering how none of the offline progress carry over, waiting is probably the best thing to do.

  20. Reefpirate says:

    I was, and still am I suppose, very impressed by the visuals and music in the game. It’s a great looking game… Even the concept looks great. But it is unfortunate that the execution ends up feeling a little rudderless.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      This is very true. I enjoyed the writing a lot as well. The visual design especially is wonderful, I love the little survivors gardening on their roofs and the whimsical weapons for the tank, a barbell, a traffic sign, the scoop from a back hoe.

      The combat also feels quite good to me, it’s just the lack of variety that gets me, and some of the weird design choices that, as the article says, make so little sense.

  21. trjp says:

    I’ve been playing this since pre-Alpha and I think I’m probably a bit more realistic about what the game will and won’t do (despite the fact that due to lack of time, I’ve not bought it yet!)

    Throughout the test the game developed in bits and bobs – difficulty leapt around quite a bit – people grumbled about stuff and bugs were squashed BUT 2 weeks before release the game was still VERY crashy, the UI was VERY wonky and the online stuff just didn’t work at all.

    It was obvious from then (or perhaps earlier) the game would release in a similar state – I’m not sure many people realise how hard it is to fix things like that tho. As a developer I cannot give you a timescale for what I do (despite it being the No1 question I’m asked) because sometimes it just takes time – and more time and a bit more time after that.

    Time waits for no-one, of course, and so a release is scheduled and planned and you get what you get. Some things will get fixed and some things will change BUT you have to realise this is a relatively small studio working to a budget and expecting major changes to the game is unrealistic.

    My take – from 20+ hours of testing – is that the party system doesn’t really work BUT that the world around you is just interesting enough to get beyond it. Combat isn’t as good as it might have been either – but it’s functional and you can customize it enough to get your money’s worth (expecting it to be a D3 replacement is silly as D3 is intended to be something you play for 100s and 100s of hours).

    The real highlights are the design, the art, the setting is really excellent and I think that deserved a stronger mention. There’s not an Orc or a castle in sight – I loved that, personally – and it will carry the game for many people I suspect.

    The developer’s intention is to keep the game as a work-in-progress, adding (free) stuff to allow people to keep on playing it if they wish – whether this happens is moot, of course, but you’re not going to get a tighter combat experience or a major change to the party system. I’m sure crap like the fog-of-war will be fixed (it’s clearly a bug) and there will be corners smoothed off for those who are simply enjoying the scenery!!

  22. JackDandy says:

    Ah, bollocks.
    Shoulda waited for the reviews before buying this one.

    Ah well, can’t win ’em all. Maybe it’ll be better after a bunch of updates.

  23. bodkid13 says:

    I received this and FTL on pretty much the same day and as most of the posts (and RPS) hint at this is a broken dream that could have gone much further… Though FTL is so much awesome sauce that I’m covered in slug lust.

  24. dE says:

    This game really does feel somewhat unfinished.
    I was really intrigued at first. The setting seemed nice, the controls were decent enough and it was fun to play. But after about 3-4 hours, those things started to look less nice as it became increasingly apparent how broken (to me of course) some of the mechanics seemed to be.

    My biggest issue is the repetitiveness. Like the article says, it’s either close combat or ranged combat. And that’s it. I’ve never seen a (very late edit by me here) regular enemy use a special ability – there aren’t that many to begin with and I’m pretty sure the AI follows but three basic instructions:
    1) Pick Target based on damage done to Creature.
    2) Move into attack range, attack.
    3) Use Abilities on Cooldown.

    So as a result, the players reactions are just as simple. There is absolutely no tactic involved. There isn’t even any variety. You run in, spam the same skills all game, every encounter is the same while you walk through areas which you’ve seen a dozen times already due to the very small choice of tilesets.
    Part of the problem is the lack of character progression. Yes you can boost your skills with various abilities and bolster your stats, have your AOE attack heal your friends instead or debuff enemies. That’s nice… but it’s still the same ability as you’ve used from the very first seconds into the game. Same visual effects and animation, enemies react in the same way as they’ve always done.

    What this game needs, in my opinion, is a hell of a lot more abilities to use for both, the player and the AI. The game suffers for a lack of those as every encounter ends up being just the same. Literally the first battle when you’ve got your full party (2 minutes in) is the battle you’ll be having all over, all game long. Again and again, no variation. Just slightly differently tinted variants.
    I was in love with the game for the first couple of hours, but the more I see of it, the more I wish it had a longer development cycle.

  25. Erithtotl says:

    The levelling sounds baffling. So you have a character who maxes out at 5, and then you replace him with another character who maxes out at 10, but starts at 1? That makes no sense.

    I think if they wanted something like this they should have followed Dragon’s Dogma’s model.

    In that you have one main character who has unrestricted advancement. One side character (pawn) who also has unrestricted advancement, and then you can fill in the other two slots with temp pawns who are at fixed level, and can even be higher than you but can never advance.

    • dE says:

      Tier 1 Characters max out at 5
      Tier 2 Characters max out at 10
      Tier 3 Characters max out at 15

      You always recruit characters at level 1. They said they’d fix it with some sort of Bootcamp however. Even more annoying are implants and boosts as they are essentially your only way to influence a character. They’re stuck with a character and can’t be removed so essentially every 5 levels up to 15, you lose everything and start from scratch.
      That design decision is indeed a rather curious one. On the plus side, you level extremely fast, often times having reached the cap after a single dungeon. Real progression is made by implants, items and boosters.

  26. Shakes999 says:

    The biggest thing the game is lacking at the moment is multiplayer. It really does get kinda boring by the time you get to the second town, but once multiplayer is put in next month, I can see it getting a WHOLE lot more fun. The biggest issue in my opinion is the battles are way too hectic when it gets harder and its tough to micro-manage 3 different guys. Or maybe I just suck. EIther or, I see alot of problems being alleviated when Multi-player is enabled.

  27. Jerakal says:

    It’s a shame really, I picked this game up on Day 1 and was momentarily intrigued and delighted but the flaws of the game slowly started to wear on me. By the time I realized that I’d have to sub out new characters every 5-10 levels I just turned it off, I haven’t been able to play it since.

  28. Sauerkraut says:

    There’s a fair bit more to the combat than a cursory look would have you think (I say that after a fairly cursory 8 hours of post-launch gameplay), what with the necessity of playing tank, control, and healbot all on one hand. That’s not to say that Krater doesn’t desperately need a greater variety of enemies, abilities, and customization, but the core mechanics are mighty solid. I’ve had fun so far, anyway (but then, that might just be an MMO-y perspective).

    I registered just to make this comment, since I generally nod happily along with RPS reviews. Most of the flaws mentioned melt away after the first hour or two; the paucity of upgrade components, necessity of hiring new folk, and sudden difficulty spikes are all small beans in the long run.

    If Fatshark comes through at all with multiplayer and content updates, I’ll stay a happy consumer.

  29. Aatch says:

    I got it because it seemed good and I liked the not-fantasy stuff.

    I must admit I do regret buying it. To repeat a tweet I made:

    #krater seems like it has potential, let me know when it’s done

    I still haven’t figured out how to switch characters around, I found the level cap baffling. Many times I encountered the same problem as Jim, with just encountering too-strong mobs. I also found the AI incredibly frustrating, invariably they would always target the disruptor-type guy, who has almost the lowest health and defense, so without my stunner I lost a massive part of my tactical ability.

    Things that should be improved:

    The goddamn AI, for reasons explained above and more.
    Character control, I found the fact that I couldn’t shift- or ctrl-click to (de-)select multiple characters frustrating.
    Camera, the camera is actually horrible, when you have to constantly click to keep moving, it gets tempting to move the camera and click ahead, but that causes more problems. I think being more zoomed out and improving the movement mechanics would help this.
    Dialogs, I can’t just straight exit conversation dialogs, this is annoying when interacting with the boundy board, since if you don’t want to take one, you still have to look and then decline it.
    Lack of explanations, with respect to the health thing especially. I found that I didn’t get much of explanation of what the health power-up did, since it seemed to add healing to attacks as well as the healer abilities. But there are many ambiguities, like AOE attacks, do they heal me or the enemies? Stuff like that.
    General polish. I had to directly edit the config files to change options to make it work with my computer. I have a large 2560×1600 monitor, and it just couldn’t cope with it, artifacting and flickering like crazy. When I turned down the resolution, it initially made the game unplayable until I tweaked the config files and, get this, restarted my computer. What is this 1999?!

    There are also some foundational issues that just didn’t gel with me, like only having two skills per character, level caps for characters, ridiculously limiting customisation options. Lack of variety, in general, from mobs to quests. I got bored quickly, since everything was just kill this, get this, go here, which is the same as every ARPG since the dawn of time, but it didn’t inject much character into it. There is also little that makes it seem post-apocalyptic to me, with so much greenery and plant life, it seems odd that everybody needs to wear gas masks all the time, or do these plants not respirate? There is more to plants than fertile soil. The world map, either make it something you move around, ala Final Fantasy, or make it a map with locations, not the strange combination that we have now.

  30. The_Mess says:

    Edit – derp, meant to be in reply to Aatch

    Hit C to bring up squad management, then deselected the squadies you don’t want and then tick the ones you do.

    And the aggro’s getting tweaked in the next patch, but for the moment you’re best to chuck stamina and strength + 1 intelligence implant on the bruiser and use heavy hitting attacks to keep aggro on the Bruiser :/ Not ideal, but it works. Also defence implants are getting tweaked next patch as well.

    As for the resolution issue, can you please head over the to bug report forum and make a post about it?:
    link to forums.fatshark.se

    Because that’s the first time I’ve seen it, and I’ve been doing support constantly since release :3


  31. Odiorne Point says:

    Just wanted to weigh in and say that I very much enjoy Krater. Indeed, it is flawed, but it’s still quite fun, and it’s being improved every day. I’ve already sunk as many hours into Krater as I have Diablo 3, the difference is, I will never play D3 again, where as I keep going back to Krater.

    If anyone is on the fence about it, I would recommend buying it. It has easily enough content and fun to satisfy a $15 dollar price tag.

  32. Polyphemus says:

    Ahem, the level cap problem is essentially gone now, because they added boot camps in the major cities. These places allow you to “promote” characters, which raises their level cap, there are still other problems, but the good people at Fatshark are going full steam ahead when it comes to fixing them.

  33. Khonshu says:

    I think that people should get on board and support this title. Now that the level cap has gone with the boot camp, I can revisit the other characters I have levelled up, which is nice since I have decked out a few characters with boosts and implants. Now that I have these characters to play, this reduces the boring factor somewhat (which I can appreciate people mentioning, but it isn’t as bad as some people say), since there are 16 abilities in the game, and you can use 2 of each in any order you like, which promotes experimentation! (Plus the abilities are awesome).

    I am 11 hours in atm, and I believe that if people persist with this game, they will find they can get much more out of the title than they expect. I would like to add that you CAN change the characters name, simply by clicking on the name in the character screen. Also, this game isn’t supposed to play out like diablo with 1 character and typical character development. When I play the game I feel like I am the manager of a sports team, and I need to manage the equipment, who plays at what time, what training I give my players, who I hire, where we play and so many other things (It also keeps that traditional ARPG feeling).

    If people can get past the character development differences, and experiment with the abilities and boosters and character builds, I think people will enjoy the game much better. With online play and PvP (I think) coming some time soon, I say don’t give up on this interesting, new take on ARPGs.

    • dday says:

      Agree with Khonshu. Im 7 hours in the game, graphics are appealing, gameplay can indeed become more interesting etc, but dont take a magnifier on to some details. Having 7 hours of fun till now, and i’m sure wont stop soon.
      Im putting some trust in fatshark and peeps: 1 week after release and 4 updates already. They are apparently listening to their players!

  34. benab says:

    The artificial level caps–plus the fact that there aren’t really any noticeable differences between races, makes it difficult to get attached to the characters in any way.

    I think what they were going for was an almost x-com-y feel where you have a stable of characters that you bring on different missions. But once a character hits the cap they have no use anymore.

  35. zamalek says:

    Wait, wait, wait. From most of that review I am seeing a review for Diablo 3: is there a hint of sarcasm here? I do have a lvl 60 monk as well as a lvl 30 HC wizard in D3 – so I do hold *some* weight. I hit nearly every issue that you had with Krater in D3, but haven’t (at least as quickly) run across issues in Krater itself. I’ll grab a few phrases that don’t seem sarcastic, i.e. a real problem in Krater:

    – mini-map fog is being redrawn (I can live with this, it makes the game more challenging)
    – reach a level cap (Horrible horrible horrible terrible please make it stop)
    – feels quite downbeat (Sort of)

    The rest of your article is basically a Diablo 3 review, that is, if you ever played Diablo 1 (or any other true HnS/ARPGs) seriously. Any new generation gamer would clearly be offended by this game – but not by most of the problems you pointed out as they belong to Diablo 3.

    Play Bioshock on “1990” difficulty and you might have an idea where Fatshark were going.

    If you were being sarcastic, bravo.

  36. Ashyel says:

    I dunno guys,

    I’m only 3 hours into this & I’m liking it so far.

    An indie game isn’t really meant to entertain you for 600 hours – It’s a filler! It’s meant to be that game which you can pick up & play for half an hour at a time whilst you’re waiting for your girlfriend to come over. It’s meant to be that game which you entertain your self with before you go to work, whilst you don’t have the time to get involved in a raid or dungeon, or dota match.

    As an Indie game, it’s important to criticise it with the mind set that this game isn’t going to be a 100 percent polished master piece. & for the cheap price of $15, it’s a game which has minimal purchase risk. (I spend more on Mc’Donalds a week)

    I can see how some of these features are limiting & possibly frustrating, but as an Indie game, I don’t plan on dedicating enough effort for these features to become problematic towards my enjoyment.

    I definitely believe this game is worth trying for $15. Personally, I think Fatshark have done a good job – the concept is intriguing, the story isn’t too deep & complex. It’s visually appealing, & they are listening to the gamers.

    Over all, I think this is a perfect game for filling up those spare moments with quirky shenanigans. If you are after a fully polished 3 year master peice, then maybe this game is not for you.

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