Despite the fact that I’m not too keen on games getting the Kinect exclusive treatment (because let’s face it, what games besides Dance Central have benefited from it?), I was still excited for Crimson Dragon when it was announced for the Xbox Live Arcade. I’m a big fan of the Panzer Dragoon series, so I was interested to see what kinds of things they were going to pull off when implementing Kinect functionality to a game that is basically its spiritual successor. Unfortunate then, that the title has now been moved to the Xbox One, so 360 owners will either have to upgrade or sit this entry out.
The most obvious change that was made from its initial announcement until now is that Crimson Dragon can be played with a controller. While Kinect functionality will still be present in the final game, it will no longer will be a requirement and wasn’t even being showcased in the version that I played. I was quite thrilled at this news.
When you pick up the Xbox One controller and start playing, it becomes apparent that yes, this definitely feels like a Panzer Dragoon game. The stage I played in the demo had my character riding atop a large red dragon through an underground cavern laden with molten lava. The left analog stick controls your movement while the right stick moves the cursor around the screen. Passing the cursor over an enemy will allow you to lock onto them and fire homing shots at them. You are also given a breath attack that was a bit less powerful, though it could be utilized spur of the moment without taking the time to get a lock in place first.
After awhile of traveling along some invisible rails, a gigantic worm bursts from the lava below initiating a boss battle of sorts and requiring me to lock on and destroy parts of its body. There was a time limit to this fight and although I didn’t finish within the limit, the stage continued regardless (my guess is this plays into a score awarded at the end?) Then, a dragon much like the one I was controlling emerged and a pursuit begin. The goal was to dodge any projectiles and falling debris while simultaneously trying to shoot down this dragon. Success nets you a cutscene of the dragon falling and getting subsequently engulfed by a creature waiting down below before the demo ends.
The game looks great so far and the news that there would be co-op functionality in the final version is just a bonus at this point. I don’t think being on more powerful hardware really did anything for the experience, as it still appears as a game that looks like it would fit right at home on an Xbox 360. Still, if I ever did get an Xbox One someday, I would definitely seek this game out. Crimson Dragon releases on the Xbox One, though it does not have a concrete release date at this time.