Tag - dungeon crawler

Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness Review

I’ve been playing video games almost as long as there have been video games and ever so often one comes along so loaded with nostalgic feel that it feels like it traveled through a time machine.  The beauty of Steam Greenlight is these beautiful old school RPGs like Castle Torgeath can still find a home in your heart after so many years of hardcore games.

At the beginning of Castle Torgeath: Descent into Darkness, you are presented with a few paragraphs of text explaining the game’s premise. You are a down on your luck adventurer who finds a listing on a job board. The listing advertises an expedition into the ancient, and supposedly-abandoned, Castle Torgeath. The ad promises fortune and glory for anyone who joins in, so you grab your sword and start after the expedition.

The game resembles those old school, first-person dungeon crawlers like early Elder Scrolls games – actually, it more than resembles them – it is one! Castle Torgeath captures that retro feeling so well that, if you played through those kind of games when they came out, it is like a time warp.

You have three meters in you lower corner, one for mana, one for health and one for hunger.  Healing and mana are refreshed through potions and fountains and hunger is helped through food.  You want to keep an eye on all three to survive.  Occasionally you will stumble on a lost adventurer who will sell you the goods he has found or a spell he knows for the treasures you have stumbled upon.  Be wary of making too many trades or you might be short of valuables when you need them most.

There are multiple levels with bosses at the end and the game progresses with starting enemies being weak like rats to bigger enemies like summoned demons and big ass bugs.  All the time you also have to look for hidden clues and passages while avoiding hidden traps and enemies. The graphics are even retro, and they are done well enough to not make you sick playing but still simple enough to still hearken back to the roots it’s based on. The game features no speech, but plenty of tried and true text to read and the developers have quite a bit of lore scrawled out for your enjoyment.

At one point in gaming history, first-person dungeon crawlers relied on angular or grid-based movement systems. Torgeath allows for free-roaming movement, which should help modern gamers from giving up. The older movement systems can be rather constricting.

Last Health Point:

Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness is a very fun play based off a very old school game design which works on a nostalgic level as well as introduce modern players to gaming history.  Besides it less than $10 and when you consider inflation isn’t that much more than it would have cost back in the day.


Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness Review Score

(4 out of 5 stars)


 

The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II Preview (PC)

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I was a big fan of the first Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing. It had a Diablo feel to it but with enough of its own take on the random dungeon crawler to feel like a fresh play. There were a couple titles that came out around the same time but Van Helsing was definitely a standout with its fun interactions with Katarina, loads of Easter eggs and enough pop references to keep you smiling if not chuckling all through the game. It took gameplay serious but let the script be campy – which might not be for everyone but definitely hit home with me. So the question begs… does the second hold up to the standards set by the first?

Description:
Put on your wide-brimmed hat, grab your weapons and embark on an incredible adventure in the gothic-noir world of Borgovia, where mad science threatens the fragile peace between monster and mortal. Be Van Helsing, monster-hunter extraordinaire and save the day with your charming and beautiful companion, Lady Katarina (who happens to be a ghost, by the way). Explore the savage wilderness in the mountains and the soot-stained brick districts of a grim metropolis twisted by weird science, and don’t forget: you might never know who the real monsters are!

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Features:

  •  Enter a memorable gothic-noir universe filled with monsters, magic and weird science.
  •  Play through a refreshingly unique story, spiced up with wry humor and snappy dialogue.
  •  Fight fierce battles against supernatural foes with diverse skills and abilities.
  •  Use the special abilities and tailor the skills of your remarkable follower.
  •  Customize your character through a detailed level-up system where you decide which skills and abilities you’ll need for the hunt.
  •  Modify your skills on the spot with a unique power-up system.
  •  Learn the secrets of mystical alchemy and forge powerful items.
  •  Build and develop your hideout and place traps to defend it from waves of terrible monsters.
  •  Become the greatest monster slayer of all time while playing a cooperative multiplayer monster hunt up to four players.

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Hands On:
First off it is important to note this is a closed beta and a fairly early build at that. If you pre-order the game you get instant access to this beta but it is only about an hour long right now and most of the loot isn’t named yet. You will pick up an axe that has no image and is named “vh2axe” as a working title. There is a very good chance the stats on all the items will get completely reworked as well so don’t put so much stock in looting up, try to take in the experience.

At time of press, normal difficulty levels aren’t available (1-30) only veteran (31-60) but after character creation you will be geared up with a nice class appropriate set of rare gear that outshines most of what drops so you will be able to jump right into the ass kicking. There are six classes to start with with the ability to import a character from the first game (if you leveled it high enough and finished the game) but for the beta you are probably better off just going with a new character since it will be finely geared. There will also be a chance to create a custom class somewhere down the road. Currently the classes are Blade (primarily melee and recommended for newcomers), gunslinger (ranged combat with sniping), spellkeeper (elemental caster), adeptus (power caster and crowd control), bombardier (steampunk AoE damage), and contraptionist (steampunk necromancer). The classes and their armor really reinforce the gothic steampunk feel of the game, particularly the contraptionist who makes mechanized spiders (not skinned yet) and turrets.

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Just like in the first game Katatrina can be set and armored up to compliment your class so make sure if you are range dependent you set her to melee or visa-versa. Like amazons in Diablo she has many but not all gear slots so think of her needs as well as your own when gearing and make sure she has plenty of potions. Particularly nice things about Katarina are you won’t be trading her in and if you decide you need her to perform a different role whether it be melee/range or defensive, assist, etc in battle you can set all that at any time. She even has her own inventory and you can order what she picks up off the field such as gold, commons, or magoc items and when her inventory is full or you need money you can send her shopkeeping and she will go sell it all to the vendor. It takes the tedium of running back to the shopkeeper in the middle of a dungeon simply because your bags filled up. You can even expect a playfully, snarky comment as she does it.

The beasties are brand new even in the closed beta, where you get to see magical monsters fighting side by side with steampunk nightmares. There is a pretty wide variety though sometimes it is hard to tell during the beta because you will have massive hordes of them all piled on top of each other trying to get at you. in those cases you do whatever aoe and crowd control your class allows for and just watch for critical hits to thin the herd so you can get a better look at them. In a beta, especially one with press and pre-order invites, it is usually more about showing off mechanics and variety so if you find yourself in the beta and not sure if you like the massive hordes or level builds don’t give up on it, they are simply trying to showcase elements of the game.

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Characters are highly customizable through skill trees as well using points earned leveling. The category sheets are are basically melee, ranged, tricks and auras and each one has an unlockable general trait with upgrades and refinements available. So for example your gunslinger might have explosive shot which can be leveled to 10 but it also has refinement bubbles around it such as hex round or shrapnel that you can put a point into to add that damage to your explosive shot when you use it. Auras are passive effects that can be activated so that using mana might give you health or increased range and damage. WoW players who have rolled hunters have a pretty good idea about what this is like. In these ways when combined with random equipment drops it is very easy to have two characters of the same class with completely different builds and play styles.

When it comes to single player play there is storyline and scenario, scenario is specialized maps with harder enemies and higher loot drops. There are level requirements but it is a great way to gear up. There will be multiplayer modes that include games you can start or join but those aren’t currently available in closed beta. Hopefully this will be set up very similar to Diablo.

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First Round:
I played the closed beta a few times to get a feel for the game and so far I like what they are showing us even if it is less than an hour of play. The classes look nice, the graphics look great and the play is great with funny touches added to the quests. The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 2 is a game to watch for to get a Diablo style dungeon crawler with it’s own feel and it’s own $14.99 price tag.
(note: the graphic below is a nice comparison but is somewhat dated with six character classes available in the new Van Helsing title)

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (PC)

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Fans of Stoker’s “Dracula” novel and Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” film are probably familiar with Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing is the mysterious occult expert who helps stop the blood thirsty and somewhat tragic main character of the story, Dracula.  Those who are fans of campy movies may know Van Helsing more as the title of a Victorian/steam-punk supernatural tale of a vampire hunter with a fully auto crossbow who can jump carriages over ravines like nobody alive (who looks a lot like Wolverine).  Those who love parody movies would know the name… Nevermind – even by parody movie standards, “Stan Helsing” sucked and doesn’t deserve our time except to say how terrible it was.  Fans of dungeon crawlers who were maybe a bit disappointed by the last Diablo outing but who loved the little indie title Krater have a new reason to know and possibly love the name with The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.

Official Description:

Put on your wide-brimmed hat, grab your weapons and embark on an incredible adventure in the gothic-noir world of Borgovia, where mad science threatens the fragile peace between monster and mortal.  Be Van Helsing, monster-hunter extraordinaire and save the day with your charming and beautiful companion, Lady Katarina (who happens to be a ghost, by the way).  Explore the savage wilderness in the mountains and the soot-stained brick districts of a grim metropolis twisted by weird science, and don’t forget: you might never know who the real monsters are!

Features:

  • Enter a memorable gothic-noir universe filled with monsters, magic and weird science.
  • Play through a refreshingly unique story, spiced up with wry humor and snappy dialogue.
  • Fight fierce battles against supernatural foes with diverse skills and abilities.
  • Use the special abilities and tailor the skills of your remarkable follower.
  • Customize your character through a detailed level-up system where you decide which skills and abilities you’ll need for the hunt.
  • Modify your skills on the spot with a unique power-up system.
  • Learn the secrets of mystical alchemy and forge powerful items.
  • Build and develop your hideout and place traps to defend it from waves of terrible monsters.
  • Become the greatest monster slayer of all time while playing a cooperative multiplayer monster hunt up to four players.

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Hands On:

So this information would kind of lead you to believe you are THE Van Helsing of Dracula lore. Actually, you take on the role of Abraham Van Helsing jr. That is the default name, of course, you can alter it. My character became “Ripper” Van Helsing very quickly! Also, the character bears a striking resemblance in weaponry, dress, and fighting style to the 2004 movie version staring Hugh Jackman.  By the opening narrative you find that you have had a long and interesting travel around the world to get to the land of Borgova where they are having problems with werewolves, bandits, mechanical men, and other creatures. Most these monsters don’t play nice but some of whom, you discover, should not be judged by looks alone.  Dungeon crawlers and hack and slash titles don’t necessarily need a strong story or even a back story, but the game’s developer, Neocoregames, seemed to understand that if you use an iconic name it should. Thankfully, they have weaved a memorable story into the game and have done a decent job throughout.  The dialogue is humorous and playful between Abraham (Ripper) and his ghost/poltergeist Katrina and, at tines, the game even pokes fun at other titles in the genre.

As I often say, even the best story won’t get the chance to unfold for a player if the gameplay is boring or aggravating. That was actually lot of the complaints about the last Diablo outing…  Luckily, the developers looked at what has worked in successful dungeon crawlers and, instead of reinventing the wheel, took the good parts to create a solid combination.  There are skill trees, diverse enough to fit most play styles while also not getting overly-complicated or diluted.  Your character has both a ranged and melee build which can be changed on-the-fly by simply hitting the R key.  Your companion has a small skill tree to work with and levels up with you. This allows you to set skill points as well as choose who and how she attacks: Ranged first, melee first, weakest opponent, etc.  You can even set her to pick up items such as gold and common to epic loot so that you don’t have to! When her inventory fills up, you can tell her to “go shopping”. This makes her teleport to town, sell everything in her inventory, and return with gold and any health or mana potions you commanded her to buy.  She is such a handy NPC to have at your side, especially when you find yourself out in the middle of nowhere and out of potions.

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Creature battle is fairly standard with melee mobbing. You tend to get lost in a giant wave of enemy bodies and a lot of ranged-attach creatures tend to maintain their range if possible, leading you to chase them down.  This makes the option to switch back and forth between melee and range with a single button very handy, as you can take some initial shots at a distance then start melee with the ones that charge you. After, you can finish off the rest by switching back to range for those spell casters and riflemen.  Monster AI is well done for the most part, with a big, shining example being the “mechanical men” who are dressed like Her Majesty’s troops and actually go into a firing formation to attack – which proves to be both daunting and challenging!  When you and your companion see them line up like Revolutionary War re-enactors, take aim, and fire for the first time – you will probably take more than a few hits before you figure out how to react to their tactics (run and regroup).

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing uses a combination of rage, mana, and health to get through the game.  Rage is gotten through fighting and is used for things like “explosive round” in your gun. More traditionally, mana is used for mystical abilities like lightning strikes or healing your party.  Mana and health can be gained through potions, spells, and gear just like most dungeon crawlers.

One of the things that stands out as being very enjoyable is the game’s environments. They have a very old world feel to them – the buildings, the marshes, the forests, all have that Transylvania-n vibe.  It is much like the way Krater stood apart with its Borderlands-style graphics and feel. This game is definitely a hack and slash dungeon crawler, but shows that all dungeon crawlers do not need to be alike!

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Last Round:

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is, in many ways, a standard dungeon crawler. However, this is a “standard dungeon crawler” done smartly!  It takes the best aspects of the genre and combines them into a solid and enjoyable game that becomes a standout title.  Right now, it is on sale for 10% off on Steam, though at a $14.99 price tag it is a deal even at full price!

[easyreview title=”The Adventures Of Van Helsing Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4″ ]

Trailer

KingsRoad Review (PC/Browser)

Just as they are celebrating 100,000 likes, we thought it a good time to talk about the Facebook browser launching game KingsRoad.  A dungeon crawler with surprisingly good graphics, it is definitely a game to consider.

Description:

KingsRoad sets a new standard for gaming on Facebook! Embark on a journey across the kingdom of Alderstone to reclaim your land from the monstrous creatures that threaten it.

• Engage in brutal real-time combat, explore a robust loot and skill system, and battle towering bosses – all rendered in stunning 3D graphics!
• Discover powerful new skills as a knight, archer, or wizard. Switch between classes at any time!
• Team up with friends for 3-player co-op and defeat the forces of darkness together!
• The first action-RPG that fits your schedule – giving you a truly epic experience every time you open your browser!

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Hands On:

There are certain expectations someone goes into a browser game with. I try to forget those because we should just judge a game not by it’s platform but on the game itself.  That being said, when a game looks and acts much stronger than the platform it is on is known for producing, it should be recognized.  That is definitely the case with KingsRoad, which has all the sophistication and visual quality of a standalone PC video game – albeit in a Facebook browser game format.

It is a solid dungeon crawler with nods to all the famous ones from over the years, complete with crafting systems and armor modification.  It doesn’t really stand out from any of them in any particular way but it is a free browser based dungeon crawler and being able to play a Diablo like game on the go from any computer makes it stand out in its own way.  The animations of the creatures are done very well, the voice acting is excellent, and the gameplay is smooth and completely lacking in glitches.  KingsRoad is solidly built all around.

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Now for the downside…  In these modern days, players have gotten used to, and accepted, free to play/pay to win as a gaming model that is here to stay.  Players decide how much a richer experience is worth to them and that is how much they invest in upping the quality of the game.  In some cases this means purchasing simply vanity items such as a special mount or pet or silly hat.  Then in other cases it means using real world money to get the best loots.  KingsRoad is definitely in this last category.  Opening chests in a dungeon crawler is a little like Christmas presents, you have waited to get to them and they often hold the best surprises and that is definitely true in KingsRoad.  Unfortunately those chests all cost gems, which can be earned VERY slowly through the game or purchased with real life money.  The chests can be as cheap as about 60 cents worth of real money or as expensive as over $10 each.  When you consider the best loots come from these and each section of dungeon has at least one of these this adds up incredibly quick.

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Then there are the “buy now” pop ups that happen constantly throughout the game.  You get to a certain point and a pop up  shows up that says “Buy this great deal now for this many gems!  This is a one time offer, if you don’t buy it now you can’t later!”  These are great deals if you want to spend money but, if you don’t, you will wish you had what if offered soon enough.  Don’t worry though there will be another pop up soon to offer you something else for real world money.  Don’t have much time to play?  You can spend all your in-game gold to upgrade your smithing abilities only to find out it is going to take two and a half real world days before you can do that, unless you want to pay some real world money.  There’s a theme going here and honestly I am not against developers making money and I understand supporting a game through microtransaction funding.  There is a line where all the pop ups and real life money requests begin to detract from the game and it feels less like a game and more like an ad for a game and KingsRoad has done it more than any game I have seen.

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Last Call:

If you are willing to pay plenty of money KingsRoad will be a great game to play, a standalone among browser based ones.  If you are broke this game can still be fun but you have to look past lots of ads and ignore the chests you see along the road, especially the really shiny ones because those are not for you.

[easyreview title=”KingsRoad Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”2″ ] Our Rating Scores Explained

R.A.W.-Realms Of Ancient War Review (PC)

They go by a few different names, dungeon crawlers, hack and slash adventures and RPG action to name some but if you have ever seen Diablo you know what a prime example of the genre is.  By far the most successful of the dungeon crawlers, Diablo is what all other games of the type wish to be: great play with a dedicated fan base.  That second aspect is really hard to earn and many very good games have given us the great play and gone by practically unnoticed.  One of the ones that has been lucky enough to grab attention is Realms Of Ancient War, the only question is does it have the gameplay to keep eyes and hands on it?

Storyline:

Long ago, the four kingdoms of men, dwarves and elves were torn apart in a violent war.  A brittle peace has been established 10 years ago during the mysterious “Summoning of the Kings”.  But today, the world is on the verge of entering war again, as hordes of Nothingness are pouring through portals across all four Kingdoms. The Kings have sent detachments of soldiers to investigate the origin of this new threat… none ever returned.  This all seemed so far away from you. But it is you that the King of the North has chosen, to open the four Portals and put an end to the evil forces, once and for all!

This seems like a pretty interesting plot and driving force for a game and reveals itself more deeply as the game progresses, fleshing out a pretty detailed story and villain.  You really don’t need a good story necessarily for a hack n’ slash adventure but it can be the defining edge that turns a single game into a series with fans crying out for more.

Graphics:

The graphics are really, really nice.  There is great detail all through the game and varying environments so that you don’t get tired of looking at the same graphics over and over, one dungeon blending into the next.  A lot of attention was paid to the graphics, from crumbling walls to growing blood puddles and it really shows.  Also a very nice touch is the corpses remaining on the ground instead of disappearing as soon as you leave the screen or right before your eyes.  This takes a bit more memory and detail to programming but is worth it when you are running around, can’t remember if you covered an area properly and you see a nice pile of carnage you have left behind.  It can be so cool seeing your areas of destruction that sometimes you just want to call somebody over to show them all the damage you have done.  The death throes of the beasties and their positions or in some cases lack of position make for very cool moments.  The only graphic question I have offhand is whether the developers intentionally made it so that the wizard’s green gas cloud looked like he ate too many chimichangas, if so I can relate to the wizard even more.

Gameplay:

This is really the “meat and potatoes” of the game over which most things will be forgiven.  If the plot is a bit weak and the graphics suck good gameplay can at least get the game played and develop a fanbase.  As true to most hack n’ slash games you aren’t generally concerned with one of two enemies but hordes and hordes that pile up and collect around you.  These can make for the above mentioned corpse retention particularly satisfying as you watch them stack like wood, well bloody, death rattling wood.

There are three classes to choose from, a range strong Wizard, a melee strong Warrior or a mix bag Rogue.  These are pretty standard fair for this type of game, though the classes seem a little more reliant on their specialty than usual.  The game is designed to be single player or co-op and I think it comes through in the character developments with the Rogue being the solo player’s class of choice and the other two being the co-op.  Each class is completely playable on it’s own but even the specialty of the Rogue to turn invisible to enemies to regenerate strikes me as something that would be more like done single player.  That said each class has a nice group of talents to choose from with plenty of choices available from the beginning and skill build up in each of the talents.  If you are worried about enemies getting too close as a wizard you can put points into a knock back maneuver and bind that to your mouse keys or number keys, which are completely assignable by the player.  As you get higher levels the differences talent and skill wise will diminish between characters of the same class but individual items which can be different colors will still make them standout.  The system has a built-in comparison system too, letting you know when stats are better or worse between what you are wearing and what is selected in your inventory.

The death system favors co-op as with soulstones being needed to resurrect at soulstone checkpoints for solo players and resurrection if your partner lasts a certain amount of time after your death in co-op only using a soulstone if you both die.  This keeps you cheering your buddy along after you fall and is encouragement for the “doesn’t play well with others” co-op players to watch their teammate’s back.  These games are traditionally designed to be played multiplayer anyways so it is nice to see incentive to do so.

One thing to kind of get used to with this game if you play dungeon crawlers regularly is line of sight does not mean line on target.  When fighting enemies running around a corner to clear line of sight and picking off enemies is still a very important aspect but some environments such as coffins block like buildings instead of being able to be shot over.  This actually can add quite a bit to strategy once you get used to it.  The other thing is weapon damage is limited to distance not room size so if you are using a range attack it could end short of an enemy in your line of sight if you are still too far away from it.  This also can play into some good strategy during battle if you think things through and figure out the enemy’s range of attack.

Last Call:

These games will always be compared to Diablo, they will never get out of it’s monolithic shadow, but that doesn’t mean a game that plays differently or the same as Diablo is a bad thing.  Realms Of Ancient War has developed it’s own style in a lot of key ways and is graphically beautiful to look at.  It plays a lot like a standard dungeon crawler which means it is easy for people who like them to jump into it but it has it’s own unique storyline to take players through a different tale.  I recommend it to other hack n’ slash, dungeon crawling, RPG action gamers like me. Time will fly as you’re killing evil.

Trailer:

Krater: Shadows Over Solside Review (PC/Steam)

Krater: Shadows Over Solside is a game I have sat down to review several times now – each time playing it some more, restarting it and taking a break and playing other games then coming back to repeat the cycle.  The temptation to describe the game in one simplified sentence is very high but, at the same time, doesn’t do the game near the justice it deserves.  So, I will begin with a very simplified statement and then explain why it isn’t so simple.

At its surface, it is a top down RTS RPG with almost identical controls to D3 that is themed in a post-apocalyptic Sweden where survivors scrape together what the can from the old world in eccentric designs presented in concept art design just like in Borderlands.  If you just watch the trailers or play a quick demo this may seem like that all there is to this game and, to be honest, I LOVE both of those games. I have spent immense numbers of hours in them and would welcome a game that combined the two.  This game does so much more than that though so I am going to break it down into features.

Building A Better World:

Crafting in this game includes not only weapons but implants to body parts that add not just to stats but also abilities.  You can craft just about everything you need for this game and the few things you can’t can be bought, such as new units for your group.  The result is an extremely customizable experience in the game nearly from the start so that your really feel like you are creating the game as you go.  In many ways you are – there are few restrictions put on movement and most quests don’t required a linear path.  A good example of this is when I left a town and went to a location following a certain path.  The path was set with random seeding just like Diablo 3 so that when I played it again later I had an entirely different experience and, by choosing this path, I completely missed an interaction which would have solved a quest for me and given me a new one.  I was also given an item intended to be passed on to another individual and didn’t do it.  The result was that I didn’t get the experience or reward for the quest’s completion instead I just had something sitting in my inventory I could sell if I want.  So, in some ways, it is a very open world and not set on quest-rails. Also, Fatshark has promised to have weekly updates, adding new elements long-after release and this is actually considered the first of a three part story that will be revealed to us over the next couple years.

World Of Colors:

The graphics look very much like Borderlands, which is a very distinct style, and looks in many respects identical to the concept artwork used in creating most games.  One of the few things I would say is different is that this game uses color and shadows everywhere, the same amount of detail given to a wall that is 6 inches on the screen in Borderlands is given to one that is only 1/2 that in Krater.  The result is amazing contrast and detail that unless you have a strong system and a good monitor might be lost on a player.  Cutscenes are much more like Borderlands since they are at ground level but gameplay is so detailed you need a strong system to due it justice and in some cases just to play it.  It does bring up the question of whether or not developers should have pushed the envelope of graphics so that not everyone can play it but it makes it so that those who have nicer systems definitely feel like they are getting their money’s worth out of their rig.

It’s My Party:

In most of these dungeon crawler games you control your lead character and your other party members do their thing at the same time such as mercenaries in Diablo 3.  In this game though you control a party of three consisting of four possible classes and all characters in your party are replaceable.  You basically have a tank, a healer, a ranged dps and a melee dps to choose from to create your parties but your control over the characters doesn’t end there, you also work the talents of each member of your party at the same time!  You have six buttons at the bottom of your screen for combat, two each for the classes you choose.  So for your tank to do taunt you have to select the skill that does that, then hit the healer’s buttons choosing the type of heal you want and hit your ranged dps or melee’s special attacks.  They are standard key-bound to 1-6 which means on my Razer Naga Expert MMO gaming mouse they are assigned to six thumb buttons so just like D3 can be played entirely with the mouse.  It takes a bit of getting used to doing the tank attacks, melee specials then healing your party so no one falls because falling is another unusual aspect of this game.

Drop Dead:

So one of your party gets his rear beat down, it definitely happens when you are getting used to the game.  If it happens too often in this game the character takes permanent damage.  After a few knockdowns one of the character’s arm might get crushed and it will have permanent 20% drop in strength.  If it gets knocked down a few more times it might get a leg permanently mutilated lowering the character’s stamina.  If the character takes too much permanent damage it simply drops dead and you have to get a new member for you team.  Depending on how bad the damage is you might be able to use weapons or implants to balance the character’s damage or you might just replace them.  Replacing them though brings a new member to the team and the more time a member experiences with a team the better they work as part of the team!  So experience and injury can be permanent on a character and effect the team as a whole.  Also just like weapons and implants their are varying colors of strength and rarity to the mercenaries so some might not be such an upgrade in the short run but after maturity will be far superior.

Game Over Man, Game Over?:

The game is designed to actually have no end, much like many other games it is designed with end game play that should provide countless hours of struggling deeper underground into the mineshaft.  Also this game is never the same twice due to seeding so if you get bored with end game you can restart it, build your team differently, take different paths and basically play a whole new game with whole new characters.

Multi-Pass… Err.. Multiplayer:

Another way the game keeps going is the planned implementation of multiplayer.  At release there is a button on the front page for multiplayer but for now it is only offline.  The nice thing is that when multiplayer starts up you can use your same characters online and any advancement of your characters online or offline accumulate together and count toward each other.

Last Call:

Krater is a game that plays a bit like Diablo 3 with theming just like Borderlands but has excellent depth that is all it’s own.  The game is constantly evolving now and the plans are for that to continue.  Playing it week by week and with different team setup and character builds should make it a different game every time.  Seeding makes it so that even if you take the same path each time it should always be different with different random rewards resulting in different builds.  All this on Steam so no server subscriptions and the price is an insanely affordable $14.99 for the core game or $19.99 for the game, soundtrack and Dr. Cerebro Pack (first DLC).  If you still aren’t convinced here is a gameplay video and a cutscene music video.

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Rusty Hearts to Make North American Debut at E3, New Screens

Perfect World Entertainment has announced that they have acquired the rights to host the online game Rusty Hearts in North America and they will be debuting the game at next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, CA. Rusty Hearts is an online, hack and slash dungeon crawler with cel-shaded animation and anime-inspired visuals. The game will allow players to fight through waves of evil vampires, monsters, and a lot more.

Here Are Some New Screenshots