Cursed Crusade is a sleeper action game that was shown at E3. Published and shown off by Atlus USA, the demo started off showing a darker setting than some of the other games I’ve played at E3. Right away I was thrown into combat with an AI partner battling sword to sword. The action was quick and brutal, and with a few button presses I had cut down everyone around me. There is no doubt at all that this will be an M rated game, in the very first battle I decapitated one foe and hacked the leg off of another. As I walked around the fresh corpses, the game prompted me to pick up the weapons of the people I had just slain. The PR rep explained to me that I could pick up these weapons, and in fact the game encouraged such things by making it so that weapons degraded and would break over time.
Because of this, I picked up a sword thinking it would replace the one I was carrying. Nope, Instead I now held two swords. As I encountered another group of enemies while dual wielding these swords, I stared hacking off limbs like there was a, “Buy One Limb, Get One Free” sale. I switched the off hand weapon to a mace and some of the animations for that weapon are even more brutal due to the bludgeoning aspect. The combat started to get harder with shield wielding enemies, so I was given instructions on how to knock aside the shield with one button, and how to parry an attack with another. Then things heated up more with enemies countering along with others using ranged weapons. The character had a crossbow equipped which was easy to switch to, but juggling all these enemies at once started getting hectic.
I was told that I could activate the “curse” which made the world look like it was full of brimstone. During that time you are stronger, but I was informed to watch a meter, because if I didn’t turn the curse off soon enough, I’d die. There were also some contextual situations which required quick timed button presses that threw me off the first couple of times. This is something that seems to occur sometimes when crossing blades and not something like God of War where you see a QTE every other minute.
I then walked into an ambush where I got mobbed by five enemies and died. In an interesting mechanic, Death actually comes walking towards your character. If the AI doesn’t come and revive you soon enough, as it was in my case, Death takes you. In the final game I was told that the AI partner would also be able to be controlled by a co-op partner.
Cursed Crusade really impressed me with its fighting mechanics and with how savage some of the animations were. I haven’t flinched when playing a game often, but when I stuck a guy in the gut with my sword, then pounded it downward out of him with my mace…I winced. Cursed Crusade releases later this year and it felt like a finished title already. The end of this year is going to get crowded, yet if chopping off body parts appeals to you, then watch out for this one.