Developed by Kraken Empire, Kromaia Ω for the PS4 Is a free roaming space shooter that boasts an adaptive AI and huge free roaming environments full of all kinds of space oddities using procedural generation. The premise is simple, you must summon machinations that bare the names of ancient gods and defeat them. It’s even implied they are the ancient gods of Earth and where the myths came from. Collecting nodes scattered throughout the four realms they inhabit seems to grab their attention. You are immediately made aware that you are the ‘Son’ of your omnipresent AI guide. Taking the form of a starship with heavy artillery and multi-directional movement, your mission to save your ‘Mother’ commences.
The gameplay is solid and responsive and has a certain essence of Zone of the Enders about it. You have a choice of four colour coded weapon type vehicles. You start with the Yellow: Artillery type then Green: Homing missiles, followed by Red: Precision laser beam and finally Blue: Close range melee type. Each has a primary and a more powerful secondary function. I found the melee type to be a nice addition, a risk reward weapon that’s easily the most powerful. There are intricate structures floating through space that have secret entrances that open with either a key or shooting specialized blocks in the right order. As well designed as they are, there are some really jarring moments when inside a structure enemy craft break the illusion and ghost right through the walls at you. There are many collectables, though; they have no real influence on the game outside of giving you 1000 points. Power ups are dropped from defeated large enemies and for getting kill-streaks. There are only two, advanced boost and the Omega cannon. The Omega cannon as you probably guessed it a laser beam of pure death. One hit from an enemy and you lose it and revert back to your default weapon. I’m not entirely sure why you level up in this game, as you never once upgrade your ship or weaponry. There are no level requirements for levels so it’s a bit superfluous.
Kromaia Ω allows you maybe a bit too much freedom at the start. You’ve pretty much seen everything on your first run through of a zone. When making the levels they should have held some of it back. If they’d locked it off until you played through it again with a different weapon there would be something new to discover. Especially since you will be doing multiple runs over the same four levels. Although it’s never once explained in the handy tips that appear on loading screens, you have to kill each Boss four times with each different weapon type. Just confuse you more the masks that you pickup to choose your craft type are the reverse of those over the portals. I can’t help but think this is an attempt to give the game longevity. Though, it’s poorly implemented for the reason I’ve already stated. As such on your fourth run you will be just rushing through as fast as you can simply going through the motions.
Procedural generation is an untamed beast that does crazy and unfair things if allowed to run amok. The Adaptive AI and procedural generation is actually what breaks the game for the most part. Each AI bot is generated with information about your playing style. The idea is that this then creates a challenge that forces you to adapt your playing style to. Sadly, what seems like pure genius lacks strict rules to keep it in line. The adaptive AI soon figures out your weak point and exploits it ruthlessly by repeatedly attacking you from the rear with little to no warning. The other tactic is to simply block your path so nothing revolutionary there. It also attempts to preemptive and attack ahead of you but I’ve seen regular AI do that too. You have a halo compass that guides you to the next node on the level. This has an enemy detection that’s inadequate and easily missed due to it being an obscure pointer that gets lost and fails to give you enough time to react anyway. For the most part I didn’t even notice if the AI was adapting, as I was too busy trying to get to the next save point before I was bush wacked again. I would have liked to see the Bosses and realms evolve with each encounter.
Unfortunately the Bosses didn’t seem to adapt at all, killing them became way too easy. Even the final boss battle took me literally seconds to beat using the melee type.
Overall, Kromaia Ω procedural generation needs to be put on a leash as it goes a bit crazy to a point of being game breaking. There are so many times you have no idea what is going on. As things explode and dozens of enemies flood your screen the frame rate drops to a point of freezing up entirely. Often followed taking a hit from nowhere, leading to needless annoyance. Add to that your compass, the only guiding light you have, actually misleads you towards the end. It constantly directs you to the blue portal even after you’ve thoroughly beaten it. Though it follows in the footsteps of Zone of the Enders it never quite lives up to the variety of its predecessor. You can’t permanently improve your ship at all, which makes leveling up redundant. There are a couple of modes for extended play. However, they’re just more of the same with an added challenge. After a really strong start of fantastic gameplay and impressive environments the game falls into a pit of frustration and monotony that it never quite returns from.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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