Kritika Online First Impressions: Critical Disappointment
Kritika Online by En Masse Entertainment is the latest game to come out from a factory of flashy action free to play MMORPGs. Made by the same folks who gave you TERA, Kritika Online looks and feels vastly different for starters. It’s heavy influenced by Asian Manga, it’s highly stylized and really easy on the eye. It’s also incredibly flashy – wait, I think I’ve mentioned that already, but that’s the point – the game really wants you to know that aesthetically, it’s over the top.
To drive home that fact, the flashiness is accentuated in Kritika Online’s combat system. After creating an account, you’re thrown into the character creator and can pick between a few classes. There’s the male warrior for melee hack and slashing among others, and I went with that because that’s the epitome of flashy. What could be more extravagant that a melee class slicing and dicing mobs with all the panache of an over the top Asian Anime?
Yes Sir, Combat’s Fun
After the character creator, the game throws you into a tutorial without any explanation whatsoever. There’s a brief cinematic cut-scene to tell you who the main baddie is, but that’s about it. You’re then thrust into the heat of combat, which is where things got really interesting. So there’s two types of controls – an FPS style and a more traditional style. The FPS style was what made it real fun for me. Instead of having a reticule mode Ala TERA, or tab target combat like 99% of MMOs out there, the FPS mode relies on which direction your camera faces, and not where your character faces. For example, my character could be facing me, but my camera is looking at the mob behind me – hitting the left mouse click for a basic attack will make him turn and start the attack.
I have to say it’s pretty refreshing, and it works. It allows me to survey the landscape and pick out the next target of clustered mobs to go whack. In addition, throw in the combat bar skills with your mouse attacks, and you’ll be reeling in tons of combos in no time. The linearity of the maps ensures that you’ll get to your next target and the next at blinding speeds, increasing your blood lust. You gotta give it to En Masse Entertainment. They know what makes action combat fun (and flashy!).
Why Am I Here?
Unfortunately, that’s where you’ll find most of the fun, in the combat alone. Because the rest of the game, especially the story and narrative, is lackluster. It’s almost a common theme with these games. Let’s go make an action combat MMO that will be known for that and only that! I can’t fathom that. A good story as most of you will probably attest to, is a great way to get players invested in a new MMORPG world, characters and setting. You won’t find that here.
So the story here seems to be about this one Tyrant who got too much power, and now he’s taken over the this fictional setting and its military. The people are revolting and are fighting back, which explains your character’s involvement in the game. And beyond that, the quests on the landscape and even the main narrative does little to give you anything to care about. Speaking of quests, it’s so obvious that the translation job was botched or rushed. Grammatical errors pop up every few quests, and the writing reminds me of my teenage angst love novel I penned back in high school. One hour in, and my drive to continue questing beyond level 10 just faded. There’s just no fun in doing anything questing related, because I don’t care enough about what I’m doing, who I’m doing it for or even why I’m doing it. The fun combat alone isn’t justifying any more time wasted here.
But If You Like Grinds And Free MMOs..
Then this game is obviously for you. There’s a decent amount of progression to work toward if you ignore the quest texts and don’t care about story. You’ll have the usual gear treadmill grinds, gear slot upgrades and more. There appears to be group content too, but I hardly see players running around in groups in the early levels. But again, I come back to the main attraction and what it ultimately boils down to: combat. There are way better games (even F2P ones) that will offer you a more cohesive story and better questing design. But not many out there can boast fun combat systems, which is what Kritika Online is all about.