Gunfire games contacted me not too long ago and said they noticed that I hadn’t reviewed Chronos yet and would I like a key to be able to do so? I told them that I would love a key, but my system isn’t up to spec so I’m not sure it would run. I’m rocking a GTX 770 and a DK2 on this bad boy (I’m referring to my computer.) He said he was going to check with the team to see what they said about it. After a few days I became impatient and asked if he had learned anything and he said they weren’t sure but I was welcome to try it. And try it I did.
I’m happy to report that, even though I have put everything to the lowest settings, the game runs perfectly. I just finished playing for an hour and the air blowing out the back of my PC is barely even warm. I may test my luck on the next play and raise things up a little bit to see how that goes, but to be perfectly honest, if I had to play on the lowest settings the whole time, I wouldn’t mind at all. It still looks amazing! Because my machine isn’t up to snuff and I’m not actually using a real Rift I will be trying to focus on gameplay over everything else. However, just to get it out of the way now, if it looks this good now, it must look eye bleedingly gorgeous on the proper equipment.
This is the biggest game I’ve reviewed, being primarily a Gear VR website, so I’m going to approach it a little bit differently. I will be writing my thoughts after each play session and may break the article up into a couple of posts if I find that it’s taking me too long to get through the game.
Prior to playing the little bit that I did, I knew something about the game but not a lot. I basically thought of it as a more mature version of Herobound. While it does share some aspects of Herobound, it has a completely different feel. I suspect that puzzles will become more prominent as the game goes on but up to the point I’ve made it to it has been more of a action game than a puzzler. That’s not a bad thing though as the combat is very fluid and satisfying.
Chronos takes place in the future. There has been some sort of apocalyptic event that has returned humans to tribal days. The game opens with an old lady telling a story of the old world, using fire and stones to cast shadows on large rocks as pictures. She is telling of how the world fell after some creatures showed up and how every year a magical stone opens a portal to the world of these creatures and we are going to have to go to their world and kill the dragon who controls them all. We are the youngest member of the tribe and apparently the most able so we are the ones who get to handle the task.
It’s a pretty standard adventure story, but the twist is that every time you die you are booted from the other world and you have to wait until the next year to get back in. There is no gameplay indicating the passing year, you simply respawn at the entry point a year older. The first time this happens a text box appears and informs you what is going on, and that when you are young your strength is your best attribute, but as you age your arcane skills will become more important and at a certain point you can no longer spend experience points on strength related skills. I knew about this before playing the game, but it’s still one of the coolest and most original takes on player death I’ve ever seen.
After the old lady finishes telling her story you have to run around an old abandoned factory. This part of the game gave me a sort of Resident Evil feel. You go around reading computers that speak of shady experiments being conducted that you just know led to the mess the world finds itself in. That combined with the camera that doesn’t move about the room with the character but is set in predermined places in each room definitely give it that survival horror feeling from back in the early days of RE.
I remember seeing pictures of the factory before playing the game and thinking that it seemed out of place in what I thought was a fantasy adventure game. Honestly it turned me off a little but, but it makes total sense in the game. This factory holds the magical stone that transports you to the fantasy world. I only saw one monster in the whole place and it was in a room I couldn’t get to. I suppose I will get there later but at the start, you just run around opening doors and using computers. Thankfully the game is constantly gorgeous so you don’t mind a bit of leisure time to take it all in.
Eventually you get the stone to appear and you teleport into the world where the dragon is. There doesn’t seem to be a map and at first I thought I was definitely going to get lost, but I always seemed to go the right way. I hope that a map appears later in the game, but it’s laid out in such a way that it looks confusing without actually being confusing. I’m not really sure how else to describe it, but I would simply chalk it up to masterful level design. Not surprising given Gunfire’s previous titles, including the Herobound games on the Gear VR and Darkstalkers 2.
I stopped playing after my first death. And that is where my first concern appeared. And at the moment that’s all it is, a concern. When you die and you respawn it is at the point where you entered the world the first time. I’m concerned that I will have to redo the entire game every time I die. It would make sense that later in the game the stone drops you into different areas, but right now I don’t know that it does.
Anyway, that’s it for my first play. Just wanted to get my thoughts down while they were fresh.
(More To Come!)