I alluded to trying out Kritika Online in my last post, so I thought I would write a bit about it. For one thing, I want to have a post to link to later in the year for my “Game/MMORPG of the Year” post, and for another thing, Friday is looming, and I don’t have anything to post yet.
I downloaded and played Kritika on November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving. I uninstalled it the same day.
Nevertheless, I will try to think of some positive things to say about this game.
- It was free.
- It successfully installed on my PC.
- It did not crash.
I’m aware that just completing those three things is a major accomplishment for any game developer these days. It is not lost on me that real human beings put in a lot of time and energy to make this game, and I’m sure they are very proud of their accomplishment, and they should be proud of it.
But I’m not the right target audience for it.
According to Syp’s MMO Timeline (an invaluable resource), Kritika Online launched in September. I was reminded about the game on a recent MassivelyOP podcast because The Psion class had just been released. I had heard about this game once or twice before, but it did not even make my Games On My Radar 2017 post. So it was largely unknown to me.
That might be because this is not an MMORPG at all. At least not what I would call an MMORPG. In terms of player interaction, it is more like Guild Wars 1, which I also would not call an MMORPG (now) either. Other connected players can only be seen in very small “hub” areas before you go off into instances by yourself, or presumably in coop groups. The instances are known as “danger zones” in Kritika Online. They are a bit like dungeons, except about 1/10th the size: You follow along a path, kill trash mobs, and then confront a boss at the end.
To be fair, the “About” page for Kritika Online does not make any claim that it’s an MMORPG or even an MMO for that matter. It describes itself as a “3D RPG.”
Personally, I struggle to even call it an “RPG” because I feel like character customization should be a large component of an RPG, and there is very little to be found in Kritika Online. You pick from one of five gender-locked classes, each of which has a very distinct anime look that you can adjust only a tiny bit. Even more disappointing, equipping new gear in the game does not change your appearance.
Visually, the game looks like a Saturday morning anime cartoon. It sounds like one, too. That design aesthetic unfortunately does not resonate with me.
The game describes itself as a “brawler.” I have no idea what a brawler is, but if this is an example of what brawler combat is like, I find it somewhat lacking in complexity. I played a Gunmage, and I didn’t have to do anything to kill mobs except point in the general direction of the bad guys and click my left mouse button repeatedly. There was no discernible targeting system or crosshair. Just click your left button and things died. For variety, you can also press some number keys and watch things die with different visual effects. There was no gameplay challenge at all in the first half hour.
It seemed so easy that I experimented with pointing 90 degrees away from the enemy, to see if it mattered at all where I was looking when I pressed the left button. It turns out that yes, you do have to point toward the enemy. But there is a good 5-10 degrees of leeway in where you point. You can point far enough to the side that if there was a crosshair, it would clearly miss the target, and still hit the target.
The soundtrack consists of high-energy music with metal-sounding guitar solos. It’s very, very loud, as in highly compressed. It pegged all my meters and I had to turn the “master volume” down for, I think, the first time ever. Certainly the first time on this PC.
In fact, when I first started this game, it launched into a high-energy, super-loud advertisement for the Psion class. This was literally the very first thing I saw when I launched the game, and it looked something like this, but actually went on much longer:
On the character selection screen, each class has its own vignette like the one above that plays in the background while you peruse the class’s capabilities.
This game seems like it would be much more at home running on a cabinet in an early-90s arcade than on my PC.
Did I mention this game is not for me?
I don’t really know who this game is for. Except maybe kids. That’s probably it. This is a kid’s game. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that I don’t get it. I have little or no frame of reference for how to evaluate a kid’s game. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t challenging. It wasn’t interesting. It wasn’t engaging in any way. Such things didn’t exist when I was a kid so I can’t even say if I would have liked it back then.
In the end, I played for about 30 minutes–about the length of a Saturday morning cartoon–logged out, and uninstalled it.