Microsoft

Crimson Dragon isn’t just a terrible “free-to-pay” game, but also a criminal Panzer Dragoon game

Crimson Dragon isn’t just a terrible “free-to-pay” game, but also a criminal Panzer Dragoon game

Crimson Dragon is a boring, uninspired free-to-play title. That would be bad enough on iOS, but this is a game that’s sold for $20, and was sold as the spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon series. The result isn’t just bad, it’s downright heartbreaking if you’re a fan of the original games.

Gone is the fantasy language and otherworldly feel of the game’s world. Instead, you have talking heads barking English at you as you fight the game’s camera and on-rails nature against shots that often seem impossible to avoid. It’s okay to die in a mission, however, since you can just use a gem that brings you back to life. You can buy more gems at any time, and if you run out of in-game currency, it’s okay, just pay with real money!

Remember the cinematic, tightly-designed battles of the original Panzer Dragoon games, up to and including the beautiful Panzer Dragoon Orta on the original Xbox? That shit is gone, son! Instead you have generic levels with a few repeating goals. Shoot all those little enemies! Collect all those doodads! Fight that boss! Now do the same thing in the same environment, but in a different order! Be sure to grind that shit out a few more times, the one-time use items aren’t going to pay for themselves!

The repetition and grind would be slightly excusable if the game were fun, but it’s not. There are hints of the art design and sense of speed that made past games so enjoyable, but they’re lost in the game’s generic missions and awful voice acting.

The entire system seems designed to push you towards buying items, and there’s nothing to keep you from simply hoarding those crystals and bringing yourself back to life after each death. In fact, the game helpfully reminds you of all the items you lose if you decide to die instead of using those premium items.

The inconsistent and inelegant controls make collecting those beacons a chore. There is nothing done here graphically that seems to take advantage of the system, the Kinect features feel like gimmicks and none of the social aspects of the Xbox One are used in any meaningful way.

Crimson Dragon is a waste, and it's likely that poor sales could kill the idea of a real Panzer Dragoon revival. Fuck this game so hard.