Death of the Critic

The Backlog - Crimson Dragon

Written by: Tom Blaich


I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my
backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

The launch of the Xbox One was a rather forgettable one. Really the only title that has managed to stand the test of time was
Dead Rising 3, and everything else was left by the wayside. But that doesn’t mean that the other titles released then ceased to exist. Crimson Dragon is a simple game, and in that simplicity, there is some fun to be found. However, unlike more memorable downloadable titles, it fails to grab that crucial X factor that keeps you coming back for more.

I’ve been playing a lot of games like this lately. Bite-sized score fests that try to keep you coming back for more.
Peggle and Geometry Wars made an everlasting mark in the games industry with their takes on the style, and in comparison, Crimson Dragon just feels stale. It is a rails shooter. A pretty rails shooter, but a rails shooter none-the-less. One with way too many “replayability” strings tied into it to try and get people to spend real money on buying and upgrading their dragons to finish each mission properly.

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Instead of me wanting to push myself to replay each level to beat my own high score or earn an achievement, I felt like I was being forced to grind my way up a very steep, rather boring hill. And it always seemed like it took too long to earn anything, as the annoying little voice in the back of my head told me it would be easier to just pay the real money so I could stop replaying the same few levels over and over again.

They tried to do something here by incorporating a story, but the whole experience is dragged down by the incorporation of micro transactions, much like with it’s launch companion,
Forza 5. Levels feel repetitive instead of fun or interesting, which is a death sentence for downloadable titles like this. The Kinect functionality is an intriguing gimmick, but it serves more as a reminder of days when I had hope for what devs could do with the device instead of any substantial source of enjoyment.

I wanted this game to be so much more than it is. It holds up surprisingly well graphically, but the limited amount of interactivity just doesn’t grab me. Replaying levels with different dragons and traits was cool the first few times around, but the grind was quickly laid bare, and it didn’t go away for the rest of the time that I spent with the game, leaving me questioning what I was even doing anymore.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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