Review by EmptyTome
"I have a PS3, a 360, a WiiU, a Vita and a 3DS, and this is the best game I have played this 2012"
Old-school gamers, and fans of AD&D, rejoice! Do you like dices? Do you like dungeons, orcs, minotaurs, mages, sages, and all that stuff? Then this game is right for you. Other players that prefer lighter adventures, or those who need to be told what to play, stay away; this masterpiece is not for everyone!
This is an RPG game made by the same mastermind behind games like Ogre Battle, Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics. The difference this time around, is that everything is made like those old table top games, ala Advance Dungeons and Dragons. Being that this game is an e-shop one (just 8 dollars), you might think that it's just a short, light game that will not last you long. Well, let me tell you that it's not the case; this game has high production values, a GOOD challenge and many surprises later on that will ensure you that this adventure will last you way longer than what you might think.
And it's only 8 dollars. That's what a hamburger costs in most places. And this game is healthier, better and smarter than any meal! ;)
The game takes place in a typical medieval setting. You control a party of 3 characters, a warrior, an archer and a mage/healer. You move your party like "toy" pieces over a map, which are the stages of the game. Each "floor" consists of many different stages, where you can find equipment, items, and obviously...enemies.
When a battle begins, you will notice that it's like in most RPG games; you choose your attack/magic/skill, then you watch it , and then it's your enemy turn. But in this game, there's a HUGE, HUGE difference in comparison to most RPG games; dices.
Dices, as any AD&D nerd would tell you, determine if some actions happen or not. You don't need to use dices every turn, but you obtain some through battles. Once you get some, you can use them to obtain higher changes to hit your enemy, or to increase damage.
Let's say it's my turn. Lippi, the archer, has a 67% of probability to hit an orc. Before my attack, I can use one (or all!) of my dices to increase both Lippi's accuracy and/or damage. You throw dices with your stylus or with the circle pad, and according to the outcome of said dices, it will be determined how much of a bonus you will get.
At the start of the game, you are attacked by a goblin's arrow; you have the opportunity to dodge the arrow, or to parry it. You throw your dices to see if you managed to do one of the two; if you succeed, you don't get damage. If you fail...well, you get the idea.
And...as in the real life AD&D games, you can throw your dices OUT OF THE TABLE if you throw them strong enough. This can lead to two outcomes; one, you get the dice added to your inventory to use it in battle, or two, the dice can go flying and hit one of the characters in battle. Really, the first time I saw that happen, I was surprised as how good this game was programmed; they definitively made this game with love, and it shows.
Unlike most RPG, characters do not level up. This is not a bad thing at all; equipment are what you need to take care of. You obtain equipment after battles and chests scattered all over the big map. Each equipment grants you a skill or magic, and once you progress, you will encounter better equipment with better skills.
Wait, does it mean that once I get a better one, the last one is just obsolete; fortunately, not; you can FUSE pieces of equipment, so all your old skills are now in the new equipment you get. This is what makes this game fun; you are always looking for the best combination of equipment/skills, and BTW, this is the only way to make progress since characters do not level up.
Well, it starts weird, and it gets weirder. You listen to the story of a wounded girl, who belongs to a kind of race that have some special abilities. She is rescued by the enemy, and then they recall what happened. I can't tell you much, since it's a really good reading given the way the text is written.
Graphics are good; the 3D effect is well done, and it helps to see the distance between enemy lines. They are not stunning, but the characters design are so amazing, that you will love the way the game runs. There are no movements through dialogues, and some new-gamers might find this odd (or unforgivable), but you have to remember that this game is supposed to be like those old AD&D game, where everything was told by the dungeon master, and the rest was just your imagination.
There are no voices either. Remember, this is supposed to be like those table top games; even though having listened to the dungeon master would have been nice. The music is simply amazing; each track is very different to each other, and fits with every moment of the game.
Well, this is not an easy game. You can play this your first time like in 8/9 hours, but most dedicated gamers might finish it quicker. Anyway, for 8 dollars, this is definitively a reasonable amount of time for an RPG (some rpgs nowadays are really short, BTW)
There's a new game plus mode as far as I know. I haven't tried that yet, but I bet the difficulty gets higher once you start again. Besides, the story is amazing (and has a lot of dialogues and recalls) so you might want to play it again so you get the full story.
Definitively, definitively, get this game. As I said before, old school gamers (and old gamers too) will love this underrated gem. I have never had so much fun with a game as I did with this one; it's clever, it's beautiful, it's fun, and it's challenging. I wish this developers team had the opportunity to make a game like this, but for home systems. But maybe that's precisely the magic behind Crimson Shroud; it's a little gem, a masterpiece, that relies not on stunning graphics or shinny effects to be amazing; it only relies on simplicity, just like table top games from decades ago. Old school gamers, try this game, and have lots of fun.
FInal Score 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/07/13
Game Release: Crimson Shroud (US, 12/13/12)
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