Good news my ageing pc gaming compadres, Old-School Isometric RPG’s are in back in season! Over the past couple of years we’ve been treated to great examples of why the subgenre was so popular back in the days of Baldurs Gate, Wasteland and Shadowrun. Games like Divinity and Pillars of Eternity packed a punch of all those nostalgic goodies of the retro days of having to implement notebooks and reading strategy guides on the toilet.
Bad news though brothers and sisters, still no real Fallout clone seems to be on the horizon to fill that post-apocalyptic hole that was left with Fallout 2. I had high hopes going in to Krai Mira, but left unsatisfied, wanting and dumbfounded with the lack of effort at play here. I might be being a bit harsh but after twenty hours of gameplay I am yet to find a single thing I enjoy about the game.
Developed by the indie studio TallTech, Krai Mira sports a post-apocalyptic setting that exudes lifelessness and a distinct lack of imagination. A radical case of the Mr No-Name story and an absolutely unenjoyable dialogue throughout, even further annihilated by dull environments and bland mechanics. The game is slated to have over 40+ hours content, but god bless the man who decides to stick all that through.
Unfortunately the game fails on almost all fronts, I do have to start from somewhere though I guess: obviously being inspired by the earlier Fallout titles before they turned in to first-person shooters, Krai Mira’s combat is dealt with in a similar manner but instead of innovation and satisfying tactical depth, it only provides a virtual equivalent of hitting your head against something soft for 20 hours that it becomes so boring that you wish it actually hurt a little. The combat basically hits the sweet spot in all the negatives between Runescape and Planetscape Torment. Combining unsatisfying whacks with a wet noodle with an automatic “how good are your stats” approach rather than any tactical to speak of. The role playing system is down right atrocious, the levelling makes little sense and the attributes are wildly rhetoric.
The sound effects are pretty pitiful with most of your attacks sounding like you’re holding something that’s made out of rubber rather than metal and boasts music that could only have been ripped from an old paperboy abandonware file. There was almost no variation or originality at hand here and even though the world and level designs looked like they could have been okay, They are actually just small maps that take around 10 seconds (if that) to travel the entire breadth of divided by a 2-4 second loading screen. This provides very little incentive to continue playing past the first few hours.
I understand that a post apocalyptic world is not meant to be pretty but visually Krai Mira is an ugly game. And that can be completely fine if that’s what you’re going for, but it has to be done right like in Silent Hill or Fallout 3. The texture resolutions are extremely random, vastly contrasting to each other causing towns to seem jumbled graphically like a badly designed Doom WAD and it would seem like the developer couldn’t decide on the happy middle ground so just decided, “Eh Screw It, no one will notice.” Wrong Mr. Dev man, we notice this kind of stuff. The character models are appalling and models from Runescape genuinely have more detail (save for the armour sets and equipment). Even more unsettling is the UI in which feels mismatched and tacked on with questionable fonts and Windows Paint level editing.
I recognise the developers genuine effort here and making games is difficult, but they’ve not only missed the point completely, they never had it to begin with and regardless of the budget this game had, it feels inefficient. A game that boasts hours upon hours on content with none of it being interesting. I would of settled for a 4-5 hour game with good gameplay over what Krai Mira is selling.