granderojo's Krater (PC) review

Roguelikeish RTS/RPG that may challenge your preconceived notions

Adam Smith once said, "Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience." Krater, the top down RPG/RTS put out by the Swedish developer Fatshark AB, has a video game conscience. It's vice it employs is repetition, and it regulates this vice so well that I only acknowledged it as a vice upon reflection. The game sets you in a charming post apocalyptic Sweden with a similar art style to Fallout and Borderlands where your party of mercenaries must take jobs to obtain loot and level up. Krater is also as I said in the title, Swedish as fuck leaving in many of the Swedish nouns in the game giving the game a lot of charm. Top down RPG much in the vain of Diablo but split between three characters making it much more like Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II. Krater seems to alleviate a lot of the problems I had with Dawn of War II simply by being less of an RTS. Due to the fact that your mercenaries can be injured and even worse permanently injured staying alive is at utmost importance. The RTS elements included seem to be enabled for survivability and ways to enter different combat scenarios something missing from games such as Diablo's hardcore mode.

The repetition of Krater is important, because it has Rogue like elements due to the fragility of your characters it rewards cautious play and it heavily incentivizes you to learn how to engineer your own success. Playing this like an RTS is important, especially setting your formation pre-enemy encounter. Something from reading critical reviews I heard no mention of. Let's say you have a loadout of two slayers and a Medikus(medic), you want the two DPS dealers to be up front and the medic in the back to protect him. The game defaults your running animation to have the three mercenaries run in an V formation. This formation in most instances is not good for any loadout but it's the default formation the mercenaries form when running forward. Having to change this formation before every encounter is by it's very definition a repetitious routine, and you only learn to do so after the fear the game strikes in you of a possible permanent injury. At least this is the routine I taught myself, the game doesn't hold your hand in this regard. On paper Krater should not be a good game, it's unfinished(multiplayer co-op hasn't been released for it yet), it lacks polish of the games it's trying to emulate due to it being made by a small team but it feels like a game made by gamers.

This game has not reviewed well critically and from the looks of things may not have been selling all that well either. I could go on a tirade for the rest of this review berating critics as simpletons who "just don't get it" and implore more of my fellow gamers to play this game but I won't. Whether it's the charm that Krater employs or the right formula of RTS/RPG hybrid, I thoroughly enjoyed what I've played of Krater so far. Krater is worth the 15$ alone for the content it already has released and I look forward to future content. Encore!

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