Chronos Review – Prepare To Age Oculus CV1
Best Part:Beautiful World, Aging Mechanic
Worst Part:Camera Angles
Chronos is a 3rd Person light RPG mixed up with a bit of Dark Souls. It offers a challenge, but nothing a bit of time and some hard grafting can’t over come. You won’t be blown away but the use of VR but the game does look very beautiful inside your headset. With 10-15 hours of gameplay, you will walk away after beating Chronos feeling you have earned this one.
Chronos is a Third-Person RPG for the Oculus Rift available from the Oculus Store which was developed by Gunfire Games and is an exclusive title for VR and Oculus.
At the start of Chronos you are given the option to choose whether you wish to be a male or female protagonist. Then you have the decision to make: to carry an axe or a trusty sword from the start. Whatever your decision is it won’t have much impact on your playthrough. After this you are then taken to the village elder. Here, through shadow theatre you are told the story of the game and of how you have been chosen to take on this great evil and save your homeworld from the Dragon.
Chronos is like the younger brother of a Dark Soul’s game. It’s not as big or as hard as its older brother but it still packs a punch and won’t go down without a fight. And fight you will. The combat in the game is not anything new or exciting. You attack, block, parry or dodge and that’s pretty much it. But as simple as the controls are there is much more to it than that. Every enemy is a threat to you and if you don’t take them seriously they will punish you even if you have beaten them 5-10-20 times before. There is an art to each character type, a certain pattern that you will have to find to dispatch them. Of course this will depend on your style of play and the weapon you use.
The world in which the game starts is a post-apocalyptic one, although you don’t spend a lot of time. here, because to kill the dragon you must enter the labyrinth. This is set in a high fantasy world and not just full of monsters but also puzzles to slow your progress through the labyrinth. The puzzles are generally light and don’t take lots of time to figure out but trekking back and forth to find a missing piece is the real challenge. There is no hand holding with Chronos so when you do move around you don’t have a map so you can sometimes get lost or take a wrong turn. However, as you’re in a labyrinth you really shouldn’t find it a doddle to get around anyway. The further you get through the labyrinth the more doors you can open that connect back to previous parts of the chapter. This will allow you to skip parts of the labyrinth that you have previously explored and avoid the enemies that occupy the halls if you die. Save Points are giant gemstones that you use to teleport from the outside world into the labyrinth and also to move throughout it. Unfortunately, they are sparsely scattered around the maze and you will have to battle hard from one gemstone to the next.
Chronos is an RPG but for anyone looking for the level of character detail and tuning that you would get from RPG’s like Skyrim will not find it here. You have four attributes to work with; Strength, Arcane, Agility and Vitality, and you earn points to upgrade these through combat experience only. Your character will always be of warrior class so even if you focus more on the Arcane you will still be a warrior. Your weapons come from exploring as there are no shops or mysterious strangers that will sell you a new axe for gold coins. All weapons can have their damage power upgraded by collecting dragon shards. There is a nice variety in the weapons you come across- Sword, Axes, Maces and my particular weapon of choice, a Spear, – although it is possible to keep the first weapon you choose and complete the game with it. There aren’t any side missions either that you can spend time doing to build up your character’s experience.
What Chronos does offer in an RPG way that I have never experienced before is that your character ages. When you die you get thrown out of the labyrinth back to your home world and as the labyrinth only opens once a year you must wait till then, licking your wounds and getting older before you can return. Obviously, this doesn’t happen in real time, in the game and you are just transported back to the nearest save stone that you last encountered. When you first enter the labyrinth you are a sprightly 18-year-old, nimble and quick. As you grow older though your strength will start to wane however you become wiser and more in tune to the arcane arts. This unique approach adds more to Chronos then you’d expect. You will die a lot in Dark Souls or Bloodborne and it’s frustrating, but with Chronos there seems to be a real price for being defeated over and over. This added a sense of dread that hung over me throughout my playthrough as if death itself was standing over me watching and waiting for me. The character appearance changes as the years pass and I felt it with the Hero as if the burden of their many years weighed also on my shoulders. Then as every decade of your life passes you get the option to choose a new perk out of three available. Some consideration is needed with each one of these options as what might work for you now might not be the best option later in life.
As for VR, Gunfire has built an exceptionally beautiful world within Chronos and with the detail you feel as if they had crafted every stone from hand. I can see why a developer would perhaps prefer a game this beautifully made in VR as the player can appreciate the design and detail up close compared to a more traditional screen. Aside from enjoying the view, there isn’t a lot VR offers here. Your POV is at a fixed position in every area you walk into as if you were a CCTV camera watching your Hero throughout their journey. For a game that relies on being able to dodge and parry a lot, I found a few times that I would end up getting stuck behind an enemy as they blocked the camera, which was especially frustrating when you died because of it. I was constantly either luring an enemy to an area where I had a better view or moving around the camera POV to take a better position to attack.
Chronos has a perfect mix of frustration and enjoyment built into the game. You will work hard to beat it but never spend too long repeating the same area over and over. It’s a great warmup for other harder games of this type. I would have enjoyed Chronos as much playing it on TV as in VR but for the platform it’s great to see a well-designed, polished game available. GunFire are definitely a developer to watch from here on in. Chronos is shallow on the RPG elements but will find its fans that don’t want the depth of character development and hours of side quests that other games in the genre have to offer. Its aging mechanic I hope becomes something other studios will make use of in games to come as every death matters more in this game than any other I have played. There is a bite to Chronos but I enjoyed sinking my teeth into it as much as it sunk them into me.