Official Xbox Magazine
Given its feel as a challenging, enjoyable homage to gaming's past, we relished Crimson Dragon for serving hard-earned silver linings to those wiling to stick with it.
Crimson Dragon is an impressive game that falls short of Panzer Dragoon‘s lofty heights.
Its pretty world and detailed monsters are slightly offset by a lack of variety, and its free flying segments feel kind of pointless when they don't let you do anything you otherwise couldn't on-rails. But its score-based, arcade core and digestible levels will keep you coming back for more until you're sittin' pretty on top of the leaderboards.
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.
It needs a long period of adaptation, since the complex controls match the complex gameplay we're facing. Crimson does have its audience, but maybe it's not wide enough for a launch title.
Leveling up dragons and replaying for ranks and leaderboard score might be enough to garner Crimson Dragon a cult following, but for most people the bungled core mechanic is a deal-breaker. This dragon might fly, but it never truly soars.
It's a thin and troubled tribute to the original Panzer Dragoons, slim on the ambition, vision and art that made its predecessors what they were - and some way short of the invention and execution in the games they inspired.
Though Crimson Dragon has a slight next gen aesthetic, the controls are unintuitive and sluggish – proving that you can’t change the recipe after you’ve started cooking.
Despite some quality visual design, Crimson Dragon is a rough-shod, clumsy experience that yields little gameplay depth or variety and frequently threatens to nickel-and-dime players.
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. It’s a good job that the Zen gardens of those easier levels are always there to return to.