Starfield | Securing The Scientist
Chronicon is a 2D ARPG indie game that is in early access. With that being said it’s quite playable and feels far along in its development. I’ve enjoyed over 50 hours so far myself and I could see a whole lot more time spent in this game.
The game feels like it took a real honest look at the ARPG genre and removed out stuff players just don’t enjoy so much. Leveling was quick and rather painless as you went through the different acts into running anomalies. The item system while it's quite deep and there is a whole lot to it. You could also get going with a decent gear base rather quickly. You also have a couple of classes to pick from and enough freedom in skill choice to make a class fit your playstyle. Overall this game has quite a lot going for it and these were the parts I enjoyed the most.
Acts And Leveling
The game itself has five acts of which four of them are currently available in the game at the time of writing this. Along with a max level of one hundred before you only gain experience for mastery points.
For each act, you followed the main story arc that directed you along and gave the player a purpose. Each one was different enough with some of them really being different from the rest. I won’t spoil any here since some really enjoy that part of a game.
Each of the different acts had their own end boss and several mini-bosses to fight along the way. The fights themselves only lasted a couple of minutes at best with each one having their own set of skills they would use to attack you with. They were not deep to that point you would not understand what to do after the first attempt or two. You also could not stand there either unless you had the gear to tank the different types of damage to the face.
You also had a bunch of side quests and areas to explore if you felt so included. I did not and mostly skip all the side areas that were so kindly marked with a different color. The side quests give you crystals, experience, and special items that can help you progress faster.
If you ever played a game like Path of Exile getting to level one hundred most players would say no thanks to. In fact, I’ve never had and I doubt I ever will get to one hundred in Path of Exile it's just way too time-consuming. In Chronicon, it only took me a couple of days for my first level one hundred characters and I think I could improve on that rate quite a lot.
The great thing about gaining experience in Chronicon is it’s more based on difficulty and your own characters level. It’s not like other ARPG where you are worried about trying to stay ahead of a zone level for the max experience or trailing behind to reduce the risk of death and make it easier. If you wanted to just farm and reset the first zone in the game over and over to level one hundred you could. I would not advise it since you would not have completed all the acts but there is always that choice.
If things get to easy or hard you just simply change the difficulty settings. There is also no repeating of acts to unlock higher difficulty or any of that nonsense. If you think you can do a harder difficulty you can just go for it.
I did find myself finishing the fourth act way before I hit level one hundred. From there I had the choice of just running any zone I really loved or what I went with heading off to a new zone that unlocked that contained an anomaly to run. This takes the player into the mid game and beyond.
I really enjoyed the leveling process and it did not have all that extra nonsense going on for the player to deal with. You simply leveled where you wanted once you had it unlocked. I’m willing to admit it took me a little while of breaking my old habit of only killing a monster in the way to progress further. There was no need for skipping unless you hit a harder pack and you did not want to spend the time to clear it.
Once you have the current acts that are out completed you unlock a new zone where you can run anomalies from. There are a couple of different types from random anomaly to a dungeon. Unlike other ARPGs there is no need to farm keys, maps, moonstones or whatever you can just run what you want as many times as you want. You can also run them on much harder difficulty going all the way up to Mythic XV beyond what you normal acts can
The first type is a random anomaly. The really cool thing about these is once you have cleared enough of the zone a new portal opens and you can just jump right into the next one. Some of the random zones you get will have easy open farming areas and a ton of monsters to make it quick. While others might have waterways and more spread out monsters affecting your clear speed. You can also portal out of these to sell items and upgrade gear while you are at it before jumping right back in.
Beyond that, you have two different types of Dungeons. They have three zones you need to clear with an end boss to take out. Unlike the random ones they don’t just spawn a portal to the next one, you need to find and unlock it by killing enough monsters. The second type is an elite where you can’t leave until you have finished. So no porting out to sell off stuff or do other things. It does, however, provide more end game crafting supplies and blank runes that you can empower to put on the gear.
I loved the fact you don’t need to collect anything to run these. The only thing you have to do is unlock all the acts on one character to unlock it. After that, if you just want run alts thought anomalies only you can. This is great when you get tired of running the acts all over again on a different character as you need to do in other games for a game mechanic like this.
This is one of the places I feel this game really shines at. Think Diablo III but much more depth and you don’t have to spend a week trying to get that one clinch item just to play that build you always wanted. The game gives the player quite a wide range of ways to try and farm gear. It took me less than two days to get all the items I wanted for my Warlock with lots still to do to make that gear really amazing.
There are a lot of legendary item sets and just items in general. I did not keep track my myself how many I discovered for just my Warlock. If that is something you love in a game this developer sure has you set on that. While you would think it be a pain in the butt to try and get what you wanted thankfully you had some very quick turnarounds for ways to farm.
You have your basics like running the different acts in the game as long as it’s on Heroic or higher you will at least get chance of legendary to drop. This can be further increased to Legendary hardness where True Legendary can drop and a higher rate of the normal once. I myself am currently just using regular Legendary with a 4-piece set for its bonuses.
You could even go boss farming. I myself ran the first boss in Act 1 easily a hundred times and while he did not always drop a legendary for the difficulty I was on they were quick fights. The game gives you waypoints you can teleport to right into the bosses room and then I would portal out and reset to make another run.
You also have a gambling NPC which costs crystals to buy items from. Crystals themselves are the base games currency and drops from just about everything and you can even sell gear for it. Even while leveling up I was getting millions of crystal an hour. With each gamble only costing 25k crystals you can see I had a lot of chances to only try and get legendary but the ones I wanted.
If you end up getting legendary that you are not interested in you can always trade at the transmutation NPC for every 3 you get one back and if they are the same base you get that type back. Which just further help from all the legendary drops I was getting to ones from gambling to get what I wanted quicker.
Once you have those base items you want that is just the start. You can apply one rune to a couple of them max by extracting powers out of one item and applying it to yours. You could add sockets for gems. You could also enchant and changeup or reroll some of the stats on the items themselves. While these more advice things do cost other crafting materials than just crystals. I really loved just how much customization you could do to a single piece of equipment.
The game is also kind enough to have an in-game loot filter. While it is very basic it more than gets the job done. I feel this is more than a necessity these days in ARPG and I’m not quite sure why more don’t provide the player with some kind of option. I was really pleased to see it here even for it being an indie game.
It feels like a lot of love and care went into this element of the game. I’m super excited to see where it evolves from here. Ones this game picks up some traction there are going be so many people making and sharing their own custom builds. It will leave a game like Diablo III in the dust for how wide and varying players can choose to play a single class.
Skills And Classes
There are four classes in total in the game Templar, Berserker, Warden, Warlock and you have a crazy amount of different skills to pick from. At first, I tried out Berserker but quickly switch over to Warlock.
Each class itself depending on which one gets four elements that make up that class. Everything from physical, fire, holy, lightning, frost, poison and shadow. Each class then gets its own four different skill trees each one corresponding to a different element. Along with mastery tree that has its own separate leveling systems that focus on empowering those elements and gives you places to build out stats like health, attack speed, damage and so on.
For my Warlock, for instance, this is his Demonologist skill tree that focuses on the fire element. It has three different types: passive, active ability and active while in the slot. All the skills that are round are passives. All the squares are active skills you can use. The Octagon is active when placed in one of your slots providing further benefits if you use it.
You can have up to 6 active skills at a time. You might notice I only have 4 of my 6 total actives in this skill tree. The rest is out of his other skill trees. The 6 slots for active skills in this tree further branch out to you picking from two or three options per one. What one you pick that changes any passives that are attached by the blue line if needed to make it even more powerful if you choose to focus on that skill in particular and go further down the line.
I’m not sure if it’s just because the game is in early access or if they plan to keep it this way but resetting your skill points and mastery is very cheap to do. For just 144 crystals you can buy a potion from the NPC to do so. That crazy cheap. Some games out there make it a costly pain if you mess up and want to change something. This game the way it currently makes you want to try different skills and just have fun with it. There is no need to invest the time into creating another of the same class unless you switch up skills enough to the point you are trying cut down on time spent reapplying skills. This makes it really easy for the player to make changes when needed.
Once you start looking into just how many skill you can choose from and what possible gear combination you might choose. You really start to see there is a lot of player choice and depth to individual gameplay. Which makes me very excited as a player to see.
While this game did not necessarily try and reinvent the wheel at every turn. I think they took an amazing genre like ARPG. Removed a lot of the things players hated about it and out came Chronicon. They also added their own uniqueness and flare to make it their own. If I had the time I could see myself playing it for over a hundred hours or longer. My Warlock is nowhere near maxed out and he’s also not running the hardest anomaly either. With other classes, I’ve not put much time into either.
While you do need to keep in mind this game is still in early access. Despite that and it only being $10 as the current base price I found it amazing good deal. I would not blame the developer if in the future they raise the price once it was done as I feel it warrants it. I think it would also remain quite competitive even at a higher price.
I may consider making further content around this game in the future. While it’s not as deep as Path of Exile I’m rather burnt out on that game itself. It also did not take an insane amount of time to gear up or be able to enjoy what the higher end game content had to offer in Chronicon. This will only get easier after getting my first character up to par.
At the time of writing this Chronicon is in early access and that is what this review is based off.