Early Access All Star: Chronicon


AButtonGames Rating: 4/5

Release date: July 28, 2015

Developer/Publisher: Subworld


CHROnICON INTRO

A suprisily deep, refreashingly cheap but, not so complete dungeon crawler!

Chronicon: A suprisily deep, refreashingly cheap but, not so complete dungeon crawler! Chronicon is a dungeon crawler that features 4 very different classes, randomized dungeon layouts, tons of loot and hours of fun. This game was heavily inspired by the likes of Diablo as it features some very similar mechanics that were tweaked just enough to create a refreashingly unique experience all while remaining intuitive and familiar to vets of the genre. The game has 4 rather lengthy acts, an endless endgame dungeon (similar to rifts in Diablo) and lots of optional content throughout. Each class features a different set of four skill trees, class specific equipment, sets, and playstyles all add to the games re-playability.

However, the game is not without its need to improve in a few key areas. The graphics are very simple, which is ok but this is not helped by the fact that your characters appearence does not change at all in this game. It would not need item models for every piece of equipment but a few different appearence models for some of the end game sets and legendaries would be a huge addition. To that point, each of the classes skill trees have a powerful set that greatly enhances that trees effectivness. The problem here is that many of the games sets are identical in terms of impact just differ by the skill tree. One set might increase your fire damage by 400% while another will increase ice damage by 400%, this is ok but a bit too simple and removes the need to try out new sets as you already know the overall impacts of each set once you have just one. Lastly, the game is lacking online multiplayer. It does have local multiplayer which is SUPER fun and only leaves players wanting a full online experience.

This game still has a lot to offer, has been updated recently to address some of the balancing issues and is well worth your time!


Story

What happens in a world where the last evil lies dead, the last quest is completed, and the last chest has been opened?

In this world, the long-dead Heroes of Old are forever remembered and honored through a great magical device. This device, known only as the Chronicon, is capable of opening a portal into the memories – the very souls – of the Heroes of Old. Each year, a handful men and women are given the great honor to re-live the old tales.
And this year, you have been chosen…

Note:Trailer footage and screenshots are of high level characters with decent equipment. Expect a slower pace at first.

 – Steam


Game Features

The first 4 full acts to play through, with the final act in the works

4 unique classes: The Templar, Berserker, Warden, and Warlock

Procedurally generated dungeons and areas – each playthrough is different

Local co-op up to 4 players (same machine, requires 1 Xbox 360/one controller per additional player)

Over 600 items with randomized enchants & qualities, and powerful set items!

Over 900 skills and abilities to learn and improve

Infinite character progression

Hardcore mode

Basic crafting – Enchant and gem your equipment to its maximum potential!

Full Xbox 360/one controller support (optional)

S

Planned Features (in no particular order)

1 Additional act

More items, quests, areas, and general content

Much more endgame content and mechanics

More fleshed out progression systems

– Steam

Getting Started

Chronicon features 2 melee classes: Templar and Berserker; and 2 spell casting classes: Warden and Warlock. In the game’s current state, the melee classes seem a bit under-powered compared the spell casters. However, this will likely be fixed in future content updates.

Once you pick your class, you will enter the hubworld known as ‘The Chronicon’. This hubworld features the standard NPCs for most RPGs:

  • The Potion and Equipment vendor
  • The Gambler – This allows you to spend more money for a shot at some great loot.
  • The Enchantress – She can modify your weapons and armor and the various effects upon them.
  • Gems and socketing – This is for fortifying your equipment.
  • A Stash – To store both personal items as well as share items across other characters.

Let’s Get Crawling

Once you get your bearings then you are ready to adventure! Head to the teleporter to choose an act within the games main ‘story’. Within each act, you will encounter many NPCs that will offer main quests and side quests. The main quests are denoted in gold in the tracker, while side quests are denoted as blue. Completing side quests usually rewards a large chunk of experience and some powerful loot. Completing main quests will usually progress the story and unlock the next portion of the dungeons.

The dungeons and the content are procedurally generated each time you re-load the game. You will find random shrines that can offer buffs or summon powerful monsters. There are also many (rather clever) puzzles that often involve arranging a set of crystals in a certain order to unlock special chests for powerful loot. You will find special enemies roaming the halls of the dungeons with their strength denoted by the number of crowns above their head (more crowns mean more difficult). In addition, some of the enemies have really awesome skills and effects that can make them extra difficult. Similar to games like Diablo, special enemies will feature a set of buffs/de-buffs and random effects that will take place during battle. The stronger enemies will likely have more effects (and stronger ones to boot).

Overall story progression in this game is fairly straight forward. However, the character progression is where the game really starts to open up!


Skills, Skills and MORE Skills

Each of the game four characters feature 4 rather large skills trees to choose from and work through. You can choose to work up multiple trees at once to mix and match. One of the more unique things is the way the skill trees themselves are structured. First, each time you place a point in a given skill tree, you gain a small increase to a passive ability that relates to that tree. Furthermore, each skill tree has two types of skills: passive and active. The passive skills are already filled in, and the active skills are chose and inserted into the tree in the order that you choose. This might sound a bit strange but it works REALLY well. Certain passive skills will have effects like “Increase the range/damage of the previously selected skill by x%”, and the skill it is referring to is yours to choose and insert into the tree at that node. This offers MANY possible builds with all the skills to choose from.


In the End

Another welcomed feature is the ability to reset skill points using a purchasable item from the general shop. This item is a bit expensive at the start, but by the endgame it will be dirt cheap which allows a lot of flexibility for you to reset a characters build to try out abilities or set of items.

Aside from the base skills every character has a ‘Mastery’ tree. This functions quite similar to paragon levels in Diablo. If you are unfamiliar with this mechanic, mastery functions as a separate experience bar that you fill in parallel to the normal experience bar. Each time your mastery levels up you get one point to place in the tree wherever you like, starting on the left hand side and progressing to the right. Mastery skills are all passive and usually buff specific skills or base attributes (damage, crit, walk speed, attack speed etc..) and the mastery tree will provide skill points all the way to mastery level 425!

All of the skill trees follow a tier system and as you add more points into a tree you unlock the next set of skills to choose from. With the level cap of 100, you will be able to max out one tree entirely with some points left over to get a few of the useful passive abilities from another tree.

Once you have your skills selected you can map them to: right click, left click, and numerics 1-4. Additional hotkeys of: z,x,c,q, and e are reserved for health and mana potions as well as spell potions/scrolls that offer limited useage of very powerful spells. As you progress you will unlock more skills, filling our your hotkeys and will start to dish our serious pain. Unfortunatly, the pacing towards the beginning of the game can feel painfully slow, almost like a grind. Having access to only 1 maybe 2 skills to dispatch your foes feels a tad repetitive. However, once you have done this one character you will find subsequent characters MUCH faster as all characters have access to your money, resources and a shared stash. This means you can very easily use the gambler to deck out an early game character in all legendary gear, crank up the difficulty to the max, and fly through the earlier levels of the game!

The game really starts to open up once you have access to more skills, the map becomes much more open, enemies much more plentiful, and the combat is much faster. The combination of skills with no cooldowns and powerful screen filling skills with longer cooldowns leads to crazy explosions of AWESOME with screen clearning meyhem to follow. Running through hundreds of enemies very quickly with an array of flashy skills is very enjoyable and never seems to get stale. The ability to re-spec your characters quickly and easily means you can always switch things up if you are needing a gampeplay re-freash.


Additional Mechanics

As stated before, the main hub of the game also features some additional ways to improve your character.

There is a crafting system that uses very basic recipes resulting in a random yet predictable result. E.g. place in three legendary items to receive one random legendary of the same level.

There is an enchanting system that will allow you to re-roll certain traits on your equipment to better suit a particular build or play-style.

Lastly, certain equipment will have sockets, in these you can place any gem of the same shape. These gems usually offer additional passive bonuses like damage, crit , speed etc, but are a massive way to power up your character as the high level gems offer huge bonuses. The materials required to make the gems or use the enchanting services are dropped by most enemies and are auto picked up by simply walking close enough to them. This looting system eliminates grinding of materials as you will often find that you have an abundance of what you need.


Graphics

Inspired by older 16 and 32 bit style games with bright colors and blocky textures Chronicon is certainly not a graphical feat. However, the modernized interface, easy to read text and smooth textures are a welcome change to the formula. Many of the environments vary in terms of atmosphere and overall aesthetic without negatively impacting the overall vision of the game.

The spells/skills offer a wide variety of special effects that greatly enhance the overall experience. It is quite visually satisfying when a chain reaction of skills and effects fill the screen in an explosion of colors and sound.

However, it should be noted that while the game does not appear to be graphically intensive it does suffer from some unfortunate performance problems on lower end machines and laptops. I have been playing on an i7-7700K with a GTX1070 and 32GB of ram so I can not speak to the games overall performance, but some of the steam reviews seem to hint at this and a few of the more recent updates to the game have been targeting this issue. 

Overall, the games graphics are very well presented and lend quite nicely to the old school ARPG feel of the game.



Conclusion

Chronicon is a very simple yet fun game. Its clear inspirations from Diablo are not well hidden but are well executed and although it suffers from a pacing issue towards the beginning of the game pushing through that initial grind will unlock a game that is well worth you time and money. At $14.99 I consider this game an absolute steal. Highly Reccomended

Summary
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Chronicon
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