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Preview: Chronos

Gunfire Games has positioned itself as a virtual reality (VR) centric developer since its inception, delivering the follow-up to Oculus Studios’ Herobound: First Steps, Herobound: Spirit Champions, first for Gear VR and soon to the Oculus Rift. Here in Chronos however, the studio is ready to unleash their first original IP n the world.

Chronos screenshot

VRFocus has had the pleasure of getting hands-on with Chronos on a number of occasions, however this time Gunfire Games offered the final build of the videogame opposed to a simple vertical slice. This preview build allowed players to experience both genders for the first time, as well as choose their preferred weapon. The sword is an agility-based weapon, allowing for quick strikes and dodges, while the axe can dish out heavier blows but requires much more precise timing for blocks.

Starting at the very beginning of the videogame the player is introduced to the storyline before being thrown into the action without so much of a blink. As an adventure videogame the tutorial is embedded within the exploration, with hint prompts appearing when new mechanics are presented and a steadily increasing difficulty curve guiding the player’s hand.

The dull yet peaceful beach the player begins upon soon gives way to a decaying industrial complex as the search for the first Dragon Stone begins. These illuminated stones are key too Chronos, as they not only act as gates to new areas but also the respawn points upon death. A player will return to the last Dragon Stone accessed, having aged one year.

This aging of the player’s character is explained away by the story, but has a far greater impact on the gameplay. Aging directly affects the way in which a player can level-up their character: young characters can purchase physical attributes for melee combat relatively cheaply, while older characters will find it more cost-effective to invest in magical abilities. The system is certainly very interesting, though it’s not yet known what affect the progression will have on difficulty and whether or not Gunfire Games have invested enough time in playtesting to ensure that it’s not possible to nerf your own character through bad choices.

Exploration is key to Chronos and VRFocus was able to journey through two very distinct areas in this latest playtest: the aforementioned beach/industrial complex and a village not too dissimilar to that constructed by Ewoks. Ensuring that there’s enough variety to keep the player interested throughout the adventure will have been a difficult task, especially as Gunfire Games have insisted that the videogame will last in excess of 14 hours for even an experienced videogame player.

Throughout each of VRFocus‘ numerous hands-on sessions the videogame has most definitely shown signs of progress, but until some hours have been invested in exploring the level system and just how the exploration aspect of Chronos is pieced together it’s hard to tell whether or not Gunfire Games can deliver on the promise seen in the early builds. Of course, with Chronos due to launch alongside the Oculus Rift next week, it won’t be long until a final verdict can be delivered.