Games with gold is a promotion for the Xbox 360 and X1 where you get 1-2 free games a month if you have a gold subscription to its Xbox live service.
Crimson Dragon is one of this months free game on the Xbox one, without the promotion I wouldn’t have even given the game a 2nd thought, and because its free there was no excuse not to give it a whirl.
So after loading it up you cant help but get a nostalgic feeling for the games of old because it feels very much like a game of yesteryear (which could be a compliment or insult depending on your outlook). Unfortunately that does apply to the visuals, it’s not a pretty game, for a next-gen platform like the Xbox One that is a definitive cross against its name… Or it would be if it wasn’t free. I will try to not keep going back to “its free” as the game should be judged on its merits rather than price tag.
Its nostalgic design is a plus for me as it took me back to a time of the Sega Saturn or the Dreamcast, bringing good memories to the fore. Terrible story, weird dialogue and limiting gameplay it’s all there, celebrating the awful in a so bad its good kind of way.
It’s an on rails shooter (you only concentrate on shooting bad guys while the game takes care of the majority of the movement) which you don’t see many of now-a-days. All you do is fly around on a pre-determined path shooting monsters with a loose “story” to tie things up, plus some bonus objectives for each mission that’ll require a million and one replays to make sure you haven’t missed anything (or only a few retries if you have the reflexes of a caffeine addled ninja).
There are some nice little touches where you can buy dragons and other stuff in-between missions at HQ which acts as a Hub. Yes it is kind of cool that you can buy dragons, train them up and then evolve them like a less fluffy version of Pokemon but as far as i can tell the selection of dragons is very limited and you can happily complete the game with the dragon you started with as there’s no incentive or reason to try the others, unless you count achievements.
However if you don’t count yourself as a part of the achievement whore brother/sisterhood then you’ll find precious little here to keep your attention. If you just count the laughable story then it’s roughly 2-3 hours long and then after that if you really want you can try the multiplayer which I haven’t tried and am in no rush to do so. One final thing I have to mention is the fairly prominent micro-transactions which come in the form of jewels which in turn you can use to buy item packs to boost your dragon and to give you extra items.
To be blunt if you need boosts to finish this game even on its most difficult setting then its safe to say you are blind and have lost the function of both your hands, avoid!
In closing, the fact that they charged £16 for this before games with gold is a rip off, this might be worth £6-8 at most, being free now though it is worth a look even if it’s just out of morbid curiosity, pay nothing for a few hours being lightly entertained?
You can’t complain about that
Thank you for reading