When I heard that they were making a spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon series for the Xbox One, I was ecstatic. While those games were on rails, the sense of exploration and discovery combined with great controls and cool enemies was brilliant. Sadly, Crimson Dragon by Grounding Inc. is not near as good as its predecessors.
The story is about a planet that has dragons on it, and you can ride them. Score! Things are great, but then this disease/invasion called Crimsonscale shows up, and it makes all the local wildlife hate you, so you have to kill it using your awesome dragon riding skills.
There is probably more to it than that, but it is displayed so awfully that I really didn’t care to sit through it all. They must know that because they will have a “cutscene” (some pictures with some text and an annoying guy talking), and then they will have another character tell you the exact same things over again. It is some pretty poor story telling, but I could forgive all that if the gameplay was good, but sadly that falls a little short too.
To control your dragon you use both sticks. The left stick controls slight left and right movements and the right stick controls the camera and the aiming of the dragon’s weapons. The bumpers allow you to do barrel rolls, and the left trigger selects the weapon you want to use and the right trigger fires it. This control scheme should work fine, but everything just feels a little loose, and not quite responsive enough.
Part of this was my problem, because when I first started playing it I tried to play it on “classic mode”, but I got my butt handed to me over and over, so I just gave up and started playing Peggle 2 (which I do not regret). Luckily my little brother came over and showed me the error of my ways and started to play it on “casual mode”. The difficulty dropped to something much more playable.
Once Cameron figured out what mode to play it on, things got much more fun, but the game still had problems. It forces you replay the same areas over and over, and even if it is easier, the poor camera still got in the way of the game being totally fun.
This is not the Panzer Dragoon game that we were waiting for, but there is some fun to be had once you get your dragon in the air. Not enough that I can recommend buying this game, but enough that you will not feel totally ripped off once your Panzer Dragoon dreams have been dashed.