Kritika (Episode 101)
A HUGE Thanks to Michelle Moffat for supporting at the Guild Leader level for this month’s episode. Please check out her book “Innocent Parasites” here which I will place behind a bit.ly link because good god Amazon needs a better direct linking system:
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Weebtacular games tend to be polarizing among Grindstone, but this one didn’t have the turnout from all too many, but those that did I highly appreciate their input and support. Dreskar, DragonsDusk and I offer up our extra ribs to bring you our thoughts.
There isn’t much to be said about Kritika in my mind. It is an utterly forgettable title, barely fit to qualify as a time waster and thus you can already see where I am going with this. The art style isn’t charming, the combat isn’t fun, the voice work is annoying at best, and the constant repetition in everything you do is just maddening. A clear case of all flash with no substance or depth to it, in a genre that is in desperate need of some actual innovation. Kritika is certainly not that, and we will likely see this on the cutting room floor very soon.
I’m not going to lie, there’s nothing about this game that is going to scream ‘new’ or ‘innovative’. The graphics look dated, the loads between areas is confusing, some of the bosses and mechanics seem poorly balanced and you’re kind of limited with look for your character as class is locked to a specific person.
However, I have so much fun with this game. It reminds me of the first MMO I ever played, Rusty Hearts. The big reason for that is I can jump in, play for an hour or two, and jump out. It’s a game that’s relatively easy to solo and the music is pretty cool. I also found that, once my level increases slowed that enhancing my equipment through in-game means actually made a big difference. And I didn’t find the process overly complicated, even if there are some upgrades you might not be fully sure how to get/use right away.
I’m a huge fan of the anime style and while it can get a bit repetitive, that adds to the feel of RH, where doing the same dungeon several times for different quests was common.
I think that’s where the music really helps. It makes the combat feel a lot more engaging, even if some of the flashy visuals cover up what you’re attempting to attack. There are odd times where the music will cut out for no perceived reason and it rapidly gets less interesting.
Again, the game is not perfect and the developers are afraid of cheaters to the point several things have been reset and auction house prices are locked at what their min/max can be. But I find for just something to have a neat looking character with some catchy music and want to beat up some bad guys for an hour or two it can be pretty entertaining.
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure where I sit with this title anymore. Do I want to keep playing it? Not really. Do I want to quit playing altogether? Not really. Do I regret the time I spent playing this game? No.
If there is anything I do regret it’s the amount of time I spent trying to get this title out there. I really didn’t need to spend this amount of time on a dungeon-running beat-em-up, but life circumstances have been absolutely insane this summer and likely won’t stop until my least favorite time of the year. Let’s say I have a lot of choices to make, as all the best games are out of my genre… and I’m really getting annoyed with this genre. Even with as much branching out as I do.
Enough about me, I’m talking about this game. I really do enjoy the combat, but as Dreskar made repeated note of, it’s very easy to fall into a rhythm and pattern while playing. What I found most refreshing about it was that you could fall into a rhythm, but might easily be knocked off your feet. The Shift-Dodging in this game is some of the tightest I felt in a while, even if netcoding felt a little off at times, and again, you needed some time-warp vision to avoid a bit of the telegraphing skills used in this game. Early bosses were pushovers, middle bosses feel just about right, showing off some cool animations and mechanics to avoid, but later on, they seemed to abandon bosses you could just beatdown with the right combo in favor of uncontrollable things that would attack with no restriction, and almost instantly. Playing on Insane mode seemed both the only way to play with any sense of danger, but rendered the game it’s most frustrating and tiresome as well, as bosses and Elites could OHKO you with little to no warning, and inflating enemy health pools to such an insane degree that you spend minutes just shaving off HP from something that far overstays its welcome. Go any lower though, and it really feels like there’s no challenge whatsoever.
Classes can also make or break the experience and I really don’t like how you’re forced to choose a subclass without really being able to choose one. I seriously chose Valkyrie initially because of that “scythe held by cleavage” title card for the class, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes to play in any beat-em-up, allowing me to button mash with effectiveness, but I could still put actual thought into my skill combos, changing things together smoothly and offering me an unparalleled amount of movement and range options I’d yet to see in any of these games. Too bad it falls into every other Beat-Em-Up MMO trope. They really need to sit down and purposefully avoid some of these trappings (like repeating dungeons in a row, the stamina XP system, and over-inflated damage numbers). They don’t have to Guild Wars 2 it, but it would at least be refreshing to fix ideas that actually were stale.
Characters can be charming for all the wrong reasons. I have an ironic and unironic adoration for “Torso Girl” Alandra, as the design is cute, and like I’m going to complain about a curvy redhead…. yet the overly chipper voice and happy face that seems a bit TOO happy, along with the elephantine ribcage in the room, makes the character very easy to mock. She’s one of those generic anime girls that doesn’t look all that bad until you REALLY think about it, and that’s part of the charm. That fact she’s nothing more than an NPC mascot to the game more or less, carrying an info sign and being your go-to for event turn-ins just helps in co-opting her as my stream mascot as of late. If only I could think of a few more stream pop-up phrases to go with her bat-shit insane voice lines…
Recommended?: YES, but make sure you find the right class first.