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Chill Out and Beat Stuff Up - Hands-On with the Closed Beta

Josh Hay Posted:
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Kritika Online is an Action MMOG published by En Masse and developed by Alm. It’s been out for a while in its native country and is now just hitting the States. You may know En Masse because they are the publishers of TERA and A.V.A. I have played TERA a lot and I think En Masse has done a better job than most at being a publisher of Eastern-born MMOs. Kritika Online is in Closed Beta as of this week (May 24th), and you can either get on their wait list or buy your way in with a founder’s pack.

A lot of companies are doing this, so this should be no surprise. The packs range from 15-100$. There are currently four classes in the closed beta. The Reaper, Warrior, Gunmage and Rogue. For these closed beta impressions, I have been playing the Gunmage, because guns and magic, what else could you possibly want, right? I would not say Kritika is a full-blown MMORPG though. It’s an action combat MMOG in the vein of Vindictus, a 3D Dungeon Fighting Online if you will.

There are cities and towns but when you go on quests, you teleport to your own zone solo or with your party and do the quests that need to be done. These zones are called “Stages” and after you complete them, you get a rating from S-F.  The stages have multiple difficulties that can you choose from, ranging from Easy to Hard. The questing is very linear, talk to this person, kill X or find Y things, complete and turn in. You will find very little voice overs during questing and a lot of boobs. A LOT of boobs. Yeah, the voice overs aren’t that great and they are sort of cheesy, but I get a laugh or two from them – like any number of anime brought west. It’s not terrible though, you might find it annoying after hearing it over and over but I can guarantee you will laugh at them once or twice.

You might be thinking to yourself, well what’s go good about the game then, why do you continue to play? That’s a pretty good question. There are a couple of things that made me really enjoy this game. First of all, I came into this thinking this wasn’t going to be an in-depth MMORPG. Since this game was out for a while before hitting North America you can do your research on Youtube and other reviews from other versions. I wanted to play this game for the combat and how fast paced it was. Yes, it is a button masher but my God I have a ton of fun bashing all my skills and watching the AoE numbers explode and pain fly. Granted Kritika doesn’t have the most impressive graphics, this doesn’t mean it’s an eyesore.

I didn’t think I would like the cell shaded graphics at first, but as I played the game more and more it won me over. Seeing all my skills go off, learning to tie them together, my combos flying and seeing the multi-kill score go up gets me hyped to continue playing.I would say that this game is best enjoyed in short bursts and not for hours at a time.  This isn’t a deep, “live in a fantasy world” MMO. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy this game for extended periods of time, but I think I have enjoyed it more in shorter bursts. You can only grind so much before you get the “meh” feeling.

Along with the enjoyability of combat, Kritika is a straightforward experience. It’s very cut and dry to me and I think that this type of game it works well for the goals it has. Crafting isn’t as in-depth as other games, nor is the questing. You login, kill, quest, repeat. Simple, right? I have been reading some of the quests, and after a while I sort of just skipped the dialogue and told the game “Let me kill something already”. You have an awesome power metal/rock soundtrack to go along with the stages which makes the fighting much more enjoyable as well.

Despite the awesome combat and soundtrack this game does have flaws that are glaring. Being Closed Beta I can see a lot of these issues being fixed or worked on before Open Beta. There are some localization issues, desync issues and some graphical issues that I have come across so far. The biggest problem I have come across so far is desync. A lot of my skills are not going off when I activate them and sometimes it will take 2-3 seconds before they go on cooldown.

It’s fun to see “Internet Cafe” select-a-card reward for completing a stage, but I don’t think that needs to be there for our version. I know it’s silly to mention that but it’s just one example I thought I thought of – it seems out of step with western gamers. I think there needs to be a lot of work done before Kritika goes into Open Beta. En Masse has done an excellent job on Tera, which is their “Flagship” MMORPG, I just hope they give this game the same treatment and if they do, I believe this game could thrive in the NA market’s F2P scene. It won’t attract the masses of MMORPG faithful looking for a new big world to explore, but for the casual beat-em-up fan, it’s an enjoyable time.

Even with all the kinks, localization issues, and other small issues, Kritika does the action genre justice with sweet moves, awesome combos and when you rack up that hit counter you feel like a boss. When I kill a whole bunch of mobs at once with three moves, yeah I kind of feel awesome. This may not be your main MMO, but I'm certain you will have a blast with the combat, especially at higher difficulties. It's definitely one to take a look at.

If you have the extra money, I would recommend buying entry into Closed Beta. It's well worth the money, especially if you play other En Masse games as you get EMP to use across all their products, and I'm hoping En Masse can eliminate a lot of the issues and bugs before going into Open Beta. There is already a lot of content inside the game and I hope we can catch up to other versions rather quickly so the game doesn't get stale - I hear some of the newer classes are a lot of fun.

Again, this may not be my main MMO but I will still find myself logging in a couple times a day for an hour or two at a time. Do some quests here and there relax with the awesome combat, log out and repeat. Be sure to check Kritika out, and keep your eyes peeled for giveaways here on MMORPG.com


Josh Hay