This is not the beta this is the alpha. Alpha is the stuff that is so broken that releasing it as a beta would release a torrent of hate and rage-quits. I say this so you understand that there is only a little bit that I have played and so this is more a taste for those who are interested.
The first impression I get from the first NPC that talks to be is this game is a lot like Borderlands. The way the NPC talk, the random vocalisations as well as well as the NPC dialogue and manner of quest procurement. The online system is also a leaf straight out of Borderlands as you have an offline mode and an online mode where you play the campaign but with other people controlling one of your people in your party. At the moment Online mode is in shambles with no level advancement as they get it all ready.
Camera-wise, the angle of the camera is locked but can be moved by the mouse with middle click and zoom in with the scroll wheel, albeit by only a small amount. I find the angle chosen (it feels like 45º but the human eye is horrible at judging these things) to be a bit annoying but that might just be because I am not used to it.
Whilst the game is not open world you can 'freely' explore the world map, except you do so as a cursor over a zoomed out countryside (imagine you are looking over those highly detailed mid-life crises model railways) where you make your way to named zones that are initially unmarked. I suspect there may be day/night cycles as well, but I am unsure if they were simply scripted. On your way exploring you can experience Final Fantasy and Dragon Age: Origins inspired random encounters. The latter because they act just like the DA:O encounters in that you get a piece of forest or path or village, et cetera, that is populated with enemies, loot, and/or some other quest giving or related event.
Like DA and Snake Eater and many other games, there are persistent injuries as a penalty for letting one or more of your team fall in battle. These will slowly build up and end up killing you if you are foolish enough to ignore them (or are simply too inept at fighting).
While I am on the topic of DA, and other squad based games, Krater changes things up a bit by giving you complete control over three characters at the same time with NO tactical pause. I can only imagine that they are not the first to do this but boy does it make battles seem a great deal more intense than they really are. This simple change the popular formula turns 'tactical' into 'frantic action' and the RTS crowd will sure find some enjoyment out of the split-second micromanagement.
Each character has access to two skills which I can only assume that you can change over time – how I cannot tell you as of yet. Whilst individually this may seem a tad limiting it makes sense when you remember that you are controlling three people simultaneously with each skill's cooldown independent of the rest. You can also change out one or all of the people in your party later on in the game via some form of recruitment but I am not sure of how this will work (it is one of the features they are asking to be really tested in this build).
The claim by the devs is that everything can be crafted that you find in the world. I have not done a lot of crafting as of yet because I do not know what is necessarily of value to create so I will have have to get back to you kids on that one. From what I can see though, there is not any kind of crafting level system so it seems that if you have the blueprints and the cash and/or the loot than you can create it.
The quests that I have done so far are so boring I honestly cannot tell you what happen past “I killed a bunch of vermin in a basement.” I have not made deep into the main quest as the progress is reset every time there is a game update (understandably).
Those are my finding so far – I will be sure to keep you all updated…