Chronos

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Chronos
Information
Developer Gunfire Games
Publisher Gunfire Games
Platform Oculus Rift (Platform)
Device Oculus Rift CV1
Operating System Windows
Type Full Game
Genre Action/Adventure, RPG
Input Device Gamepad
Game Mode Single Player
Comfort Level Very Comfortable
Release Date 3/28/2016
Price  ???
Website http://gunfiregames.com/chronos/
Infobox Updated 5/8/2016
Chronos is an action-adventure RPG game developed and published by Gunfire Games for the Oculus Rift CV1. The gameplay focuses on 3rd person hack’n’slash combat as the player traverses the many realms of a virtual labyrinth.

Features

  • 3rd person perspective - each scene has a camera at that exists in a fixed location but is panned and tilted by the player’s head movement
  • Primarily melee combat - melee combat with a sword or axe and a shield, mix light and heavy attacks, as well as dodge, block or parry their way to victory. Throughout the journey, the character will also learn to use magic to aid them in combat.
  • Unique progressive system with again upon death - In addition to spending experience from slaying monsters, players acquire new abilities from dying. Every time the player is defeated, they are returned to their home, where they recover for one year. As your hero ages, what they lose in youthful vigor and strength, they gain in arcane intellect and guile.
  • Post apocalyptic fantasy world - story focuses on traveling into a mysterious labyrinth to unravel its mysteries and defeat the evil dragon within. There are many worlds contained within the labyrinth, ranging from temples deep within the jungle to huge keeps inhabited by living stone constructs.

System Requirements

Minimum

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 / AND FX 8350 equivalent or greater
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Harddrive: 700 MB
  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit (Service Pack 1) or newer

Recommended

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590, equivalent or greater
  • RAM: 8GB+
  • Harddrive: 700 MB
  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit (Service Pack 1) or newer

Review

Chronos is quite an interesting Action RPG – but will the Oculus Rift exclusivity be a selling point or a hindrance?

Chronos is one of Gunfire Games' first releases. They are certainly not, however, new to the industry itself though. Many of you might be familiar with Vigil Games, the ones behind the Darksiders series. Some of the folks at Vigil went on to form Gunfire Games after THQ’s unfortunate demise, and the legacy of their previous work is certainly visible here. Chronos is one of the Oculus Rift's 30 launch titles. These 30 games will be the first to represent the VR market to a more mainstream audience, making their success paramount to VR’s future. Many of these launch titles are, however, limited experiences. Developers are still working out just what works and what doesn’t in this new medium. Chronos is one of the few titles with some more depth to it. While I feel that it stumbles in a few places, it is certainly one of the stand-out titles from Oculus’s first batch, with as many as 15 hours of play time, certainly more than most other launch titles will keep you busy for. We will be exploring why this is below.

Chronos is a 3rd person Action RPG. This is an odd choice, given the platform that it tied itself to. Rather than see the world through your character's eyes, the camera is locked at specific points in every given room and can not be altered, the closest comparison to this system would be the Resident Evil series.

While there are certain perks – such as framing some rather lovely vistas and a few clever puzzles – you do lose some of that feeling of immersion that VR sells itself on, it takes away some of that sense of presence, that one thing that everyone who ever strapped one of these goofy contraptions onto their heads always raved about. You are also far more likely to walk off ledges, miss clues and simply get lost due to the constantly shifting perspective.

That is not to say that VR adds nothing to the experience. Even in 3rd person, the scale of the environments becomes apparent and the lack of a HUD does give you a distinct feeling of 'being there'. When the camera behaves, you will be witness to some rather gorgeous art direction. As you adventure through the dungeon you've been tasked with clearing out, you will find a wide variety of enemies in your way.

The enemies, sometimes small and deceptive, other times huge and imposing, remind me of Dark Souls more than anything else. Ever looked upon a boss monster in Dark Souls and thought “How am I ever going to kill THAT?” – Chronos evokes a similar feeling, which is high praise, given the legacy of the Souls series.

The combat is reminiscent of From Software's releases as well, equipped with a sword and shield, you will be blocking, parrying, riposting and rolling away from all manner of beasties. It feels weighty and has a strong sense of rhythm – as we would expect from developers that previously worked on Darksiders.

The camera works better than you might expect, while it might occasionally hinder you, it is usually smartly positioned. Reading the attack patterns of your enemies is an important skill to prevent your untimely death.

Speaking of dying – and you will die a lot – this brings us to perhaps the most unique feature Chronos has to offer. Your character starts out as a strapping young lad or lass in their teenage years, rather than being kicked back to a save point upon death, your character becomes one year older each time they meet their end.

The changes are not only cosmetic, other than the wrinkles and greying hair, you will be gaining a new perk every decade, to signify your character’s growth, both in skill and wisdom. This does, however, affect your leveling as well. While early on you will find it easy to buff up your strength and agility with each level, as you grow older, these skills become more expensive. Old age does have its perks though, as magic related abilities become cheaper.

Chronos does not do quite as much as it could with this system, but it remains an interesting twist to an otherwise typical Action RPG formula.

Where Chronos perhaps stumbles the most is the lack of character customization. You may pick your gender, as well as a starting weapon, but you will not be changing your appearance or finding the kind of loot people might expect in an Action RPG. Weapons are few and far between, and your garments will remain the same. While some might appreciate this simplicity, some loot could have gone a long way towards increasing replay value.

Overall, Chronos proves that VR does have something to offer to a hardcore audience. It shows us that full length, mainstream experiences can be done in VR, in any genre. It lets us know that, while new, exciting genres might be on the way, the old ones can be enhanced by VR as well.

While it might, in some places, feel like it was designed without VR in mind and it does not truly redefine how 3rd person action RPGs are played, Gunfire Games' release is certainly one of the Oculus launch titles you should keep an eye on.

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