Review by horror_spooky
Let's all go to Dragon Land!
Crimson Dragon was one of the launch titles for Xbox One. One of the developers for the game is known for crafting the Panzer Dragoon games, which have become cult classics. Because of this, I think a lot of people went into Crimson Dragon expecting a little too much. The game is not good, not great, but it's a hell of a lot better than I expected it to be. I went in expecting a bomb, but what I got was just a mediocre game that is perhaps a little underrated in some regards.
The game is mostly an on-rails shooter where players control dragons. The dragons each have two different types of attacks, and there are various special objectives thrown into the levels. The performance of players in completing these objectives is scored and they are rewarded for performing well. Scores are immediately compared to people on your friends list that have also played the game, which adds a nice competitive touch to the game.
The game breaks away from the on-rails mechanics a few times for boss fights, but this is extremely ill-advised. When it stays on-rails, the game is actually fun to play. It's nothing spectacular or innovative, but I'll be damned if blasting away little alien creatures with dragons isn't just inherently a fun thing to do. Unfortunately, giving players the ability to control the dragons directly was a very bad idea, as the camera doesn't know what the hell to do and the controls off-rails are absolutely atrocious.
Kinect voice commands are optional and thrown in the mix as well, except it is virtually impossible to get them to work properly. It makes you hold your hand above your head, at a specific screen, in a specific fashion, and you are given no real indication of whether or not you actually managed to activate the voice commands properly. I guess they figured finding the right position to sit exactly would be an issue because you can actually bring up a little box that shows a stick figure of yourself and the way you are positioned, but this thing is useless. As it stands, I was completely unable to ever get the voice controls to function in Crimson Dragon after spending many hours at it.
So yes, control issues are the biggest problems with the game. Otherwise, the rest of the game is fairly well-built, excluding the horrendous way they handled co-op. It is addicting collecting new dragons as they are all very different from one another in terms of functionality. Players are able to evolve their dragons and level them up kind of like Pokemon. I wish the dragons changed more drastically in appearance when they evolved, but it's still a cool feature that makes the game difficult to put down.
The story is just stupid and throwaway. Humanity now leaves on this planet full of dragons, but there's a virus going around. That's really all there is to it. The plot is told through long, boring dialogue sections that are best skipped. Trust me. Sitting through the "cut-scenes" makes this a miserable experience, but if you skip through them to get right to the action of battling monsters and leveling up your dragons, then it is a much more entertaining experience, if still not the greatest game in the world.
Xbox One is capable of graphics so much better than what is delivered in Crimson Dragon. The game was originally supposed to be a Kinect-exclusive Xbox 360 game, so it doesn't surprise me that the visuals aren't exactly up to par with other Xbox One titles. That being said, the graphics are not bad. Kind of like the rest of the game, the visuals are not really bad and aren't really good either. They're just sort of in-between.
The game is packed with a ton of achievements and there's even DLC now. I don't recommend purchasing the DLC, but if for some reason you absolutely fall in love with the game, at least the option is there so you can dive into some more content. As it stands, the base game features plenty of content as it is, and as of the time of this writing, Crimson Dragon is one of the free games for Xbox One for those that have Xbox Live Gold, so it doesn't hurt to try it out at least.
Crimson Dragon is a game that has decent gameplay, save for a couple of instances where the controls are just horrendously put together. It fails to live up to the expectations of the console visually, and the story might as well not exist. However, there are a few elements to it that make the game very hard to put down, despite its many flaws. Crimson Dragon may not live up to the legacy of the games it is emulating, but diehard fans of games like this may want to give it a look anyway.
Product Release: Crimson Dragon (US, 11/22/13)
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