A look back at the 2006 release, Sonic Riders. A very polarizing things, we look at what the game excelled at, while noting how some of the flaws may have led the game to be overlooked.
Krater: A Sweden Without Ikea
Krater is a squad-based RPG game that takes place in post-apocalyptic Sweden. Gone are Ikea, Vikings and Swedish meatballs. In their place is the Krater, a big hole where Sweden’s population now lives and works and fights to survive.
Your squad consists of three characters who come from four classes: the Bruiser; the Medikus; the Regulator; and the Slasher. But don’t think you have to attempt to control all three squad members from three different interfaces. One of the great things about Krater is that all the characters abilities appear in the middle of the interface bar at the bottom of the screen. Squad control does mean that the individual abilities of each member are limited, but there are plenty of modifications available in other areas to offset this and that a player can use to customize their character the way they want. Each squad member can use different weapons and they all have unique looks, which is good because the game’s camera is fixed, and you can’t get too close to the characters. This is kind of a shame, as the designs are very interesting.
Krater uses the World of Warcraft MMO style questing, where an exclamation point represents a quest waiting to be embarked upon, and a question mark means an NPC waiting to reward the PC’s for a job well done. Krater even has a Heroe’s board of sorts where other quests await your squad, though it’s a big computer display instead of an actual board. The biggest draw for Krater is its unique style. It looks like nothing else out there, and that’s a great asset in a market flooded with cookie-cutter post apocalyptic games. You feel immersed in a different and unusual society, and Krater expects you to roll along with the mentions of odd creatures and unexplained concepts, as a good Science Fiction world should. This is good, because most of the quests at the beginning are standard ‘go and kill this,’ ‘talk to this person,’ stuff. That the quests are so familiar actually becomes an asset though, because then you can revel in the weirdness of the environments and the characters.
Your squad is a fun bunch, each with their own personality. The Bruiser will say things like ‘If it bleeds we can kill it’ and other utterances you’d expect from someone who just likes to hurt things. Combat can be a little simplistic, and it takes a while before your squad faces any enemies that are actually a danger to them, which can give players a false sense of security in the invincibility of their squad, but can also lead to having to learn strategies for dealing with tough fights a lot later in the game, which can lead to frustration. Having three squad member doesn’t prevent players from having a favorite class, though it would be nice to be able to concentrate on one character at a time. But there are tons of MMO’s and RPG’s out there doing that, so this one doesn’t really have to. Another unique aspect of Krater is the Hole, a massive dungeon complex underneath the city, filled with monsters and who knows what great treasures, all waiting for a brave squad to go and dig them up. Or take them away from their current owners . . .
Krater has two DLC packs planner after release. Co-op should’ve been released with the game, but was delayed by issues. This isn’t really a bad thing, as it gives players a chance to learn the world of Krater on their own and then apply that knowledge in a group.
Krater is available on Steam and you can learn all about the game and what’s coming up for it at http://www.kratergame.com/