Review: Karnage Chronicles (VR)

Karnage Chronicles is a beautiful looking adventure game set in a cool Trine-esque fantasy universe.
At the moment, you have 2 classes to choose from:
The first is the warrior. You are given a shield, longsword and crossbow.
As the archer, you have a longbow, and dual daggers.
Both differ enough to make them feel unique in their own rights. Although with both you have close and long range weaponry, they both specialize in different categories.

At the moment, combat feels a little bit janky and difficult. I’m all for difficulty, but it feels too frustrating after a certain point. The devs have said that the speed at which you slash/stab an enemy reflects the amount of damage you inflict, which is definitely a neat feature. It stops you from wiggling your sword in an enemy like you do in other VR games. However, it isn’t as clear as it could be, when I can or am blocking attacks from opponents when I’m in a melee fight. The sound and visual cues aren’t obvious enough in my opinion, and the game doesn’t seem to have any sort of countering mechanism. It would be cool to see some sort of staggering when you block an enemy’s attack.

Long-range combat needs a slight buff I think. Both bows feel like they shoot too low. So you need to aim much higher than you would expect. When I got to the first boss, bows also felt a bit powerless.
Although, there are some nice details about the combat, like how arrows can stick into you shield or body. You then have the option to cut them off using your sword, or pull them out with your bare hands. I don’t believe the arrows pose any further threat once they’re inside you, other than maybe blocking your vision, but it feels very cool and immersive to pull them out after a hard battle.

That’s the main negative with the game. The combat just needs some more work. And that’s what it’s in Early Access for.
At the moment I can’t see a strong reason to go exploring other than finding some scrolls that play an audio-reading of lore. It’s cool that it’s there for people who are into story, but if you are looking for loot, upgrades or health potions, you won’t find any of it. The devs have said they plan to add more RPG elements like that though, which is something I’m looking forward to very much. I think it will add a lot to the game and keep the pacing from getting stale as it does here. Since there’s no loot to grab, you’re just going from enemy to enemy and fighting. And since the combat isn’t amazing, it can get old.

I should also mention there’s no indicator for your health. And you don’t seem to heal over time or through the use of any items. So after 1 minute of no combat, you might walk into a room, get shot by one arrow and die.

The game looks absolutely beautiful though. There is so much attention to detail in the environment and models. The enemies look so cool, and your weapons and outfits look great.
One other neat detail is the ability to get rid of arrows. If an arrow impales your body or shield, you can cut them in half with you sword or pull them out with your hands. It’s a really nice detail that helps immerse you in the world.

Although the ability for free locomotion movement exists, I think it’s not very natural feeling. You need to hold the grip button while then choosing the direction on the trackpad. It puts your hand in an awkward position, and also moves too fast for comfort for me. I’m sure some VR veterans won’t get motion sick from it, but I prefer to stick to the teleport method.

Overall, even though the game has a lot of flaws, it’s quite a nice experience. Looking at the world is great, and you really do feel immersed. Once the devs start ironing out some of these combat problems, maybe lowering the difficulty and giving you a feeling of progression through loot or XP, I think the game will really shape up to be something special.

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