Crimson Dragon review roundup – Not so red hot

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Crimson dragon

Crimson Dragon, the rail shooting spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon, has made its debut on Xbox One. Does it fill the shoes of Panzer, or is this downloadable exclusive one to skip? We can’t tell you as we don’t have Xbox Ones, but here’s what other people are saying.

  • Destructoid: 8/10 – Although it may not be quite up to par with some of the masterful games it takes inspiration from, it’s a fine successor all the same for old and new fans alike. Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won’t astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
  • Edge: 5/10 – Crimson Dragon is at its most absorbing when it’s not hard. There’s a sense of satisfying caretaking to easier levels, and the constant stream of instant rewards for playing well is more gratifying than it should be. It’s during its harder moments that Crimson Dragon pushes you away. A combination of heavy handling and poor communication make you feel hoodwinked rather than outmatched, and the ability to buy continues with Gems you’ve purchased with real money sullies the challenge.
  • The Escapist: 3.5/5 – Crimson Dragon is a worthy homage to an older genre, and if the game appeals to you as a $20 downloadable, then you won’t lack for gameplay at that price. Just don’t expect anything particularly “next-gen” about the game. The visuals are reminiscent of any given game from the end of the X360 or PS3’s life cycle. This is an update to an old style of gameplay, but there’s not a lot new here. There’s a lot of old to love, though.
  • Game Informer: 6/10 – I had more fun playing the first levels of Sega’s old shooters than I did with my entire time with Crimson Dragon. Hardcore fans of classic on-rails shooters like Star Fox or Space Harrier might be able to play through this while wearing rose-tinted glasses, but it doesn’t hold a candle to its precursors that came out decades ago.
  • Gamespot: 5/10 – Crimson Dragon frustrates more than it entertains. Flying your dragon can feel good, but it’s only when the game takes a rare breath and slows down that it feels right. The ability to raise dragons is mildly intriguing, but they take forever to evolve into slightly more effective warriors, making the process more of a distraction than a rewarding challenge. It doesn’t take long to realize that for all its efforts to be something more, Crimson Dragon misses the mark. It’s occasionally sloppy, usually frustrating, and ultimately disappointing.
  • Games Radar: 3.5/5 – The spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon offers a compelling on-rails experience, even if it feels a bit lacking in some areas. With multiple dragons to own and level up, as well as and addictive scoring system complete with leaderboards, there are a few good reasons to plop down $20.
  • IGN: 5.9/10 – Crimson Dragon works well enough as a straight arcade shooter, and there’s plenty of challenge in it. There’s some nostalgic value, too, but it’s weak graphics and frustrating free-flight boss fights make it tough to enjoy the stroll down memory lane.
  • Kotaku: No – While the prmise of riding, growing, bonding and battling with a dragon is a cool concept, it’s not fleshed out here. The game also recycles levels too much.
  • OXM UK: 6/10 – With heavy controls and a tainted economy, Crimson Dragon is rewarding when you’re returning to a level you’ve mastered.
  • Polygon: 4 – Crimson Dragon is a total misfire. But I could forgive all of these missteps, the weird microtransactions, the underwhelming graphics, the off-kilter systems, if, on a very basic level, it was fun. It’s not. Crimson Dragon manages to take riding on a sweet flying dragon and make it a bland, frustrating slog. In my book, that’s about as unforgivable as sins come.
  • Venture Beat: 35/100 – If Crimson Dragon had been released for iOS or Android devices at a cheaper price, it would be one of the year’s more interesting releases. Instead, the final product is a rushed, homogenized mess of a game that fails to live up to its loosely associated pedigree. There’s a couple good ideas in here, but they’ve been haphazardly thrown into an unimpressive package that does nothing to stand out against far better Xbox One launch titles. As it stands, the Panzer Dragoon series is still as dead as ever.

Shame, seems as though Crimson Dragon doesn’t live up to expectations. Clunky controls, micro transactions and general boredom despite dragons – I hope this wasn’t the launch title you were looking forward to!

Last Updated: November 19, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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