E3 2013: Crimson Dragon preview

E3 2013: Crimson Dragon preview

Cast your mind back to TGS in 2011 and you may remember a slew of Kinect games being announced for Xbox 360, one of which was called Project Draco. Well two years have passed and after some mentions of XBLA releases the game has now officially resurfaced as Crimson Dragon on Xbox One.

For those unaware of what Project Draco/Crimson Dragon is, it is a bit of a spiritual successor to a series of games called Panzer Dragoon which were originally released on the Sega Saturn along with a spin-off on Game Gear and a much later release on Xbox. The original director of the three Saturn Panzer Dragoon's; Yukio Futatsugi and composer of Panzer Dragoon Saga and the Xbox game Panzer Dragoon Orta are both working on Crimson Dragon to help mould the game into a successor that fans can enjoy, while also making sure it stays faithful to the type of game they wish to create.

Originally a Kinect only title the developers have adapted it to instead be primarily controller based, and the game will just feature some Kinect commands using voice to aid you in the game but not be a requirement. As well as the changed Kinect support the game will also feature multiplayer which allows you to take part in battles with your friends, plus if you or your friends aren't online the game will take over their rider and play in your/their place so that the battles can continue. Or if you're unlucky enough to have no friends then the game can match you up with random people.

You may have played the recent release on Windows Phone; Crimson Dragon Side Story, a precursor to what we could expect from the Xbox title. Side Story works well as a little game to keep you busy and similarities can be seen with it and the upcoming Xbox One release. When queried to if there's any integration between the mobile game and console release no information could be given, but it would be nice if they've done something to link the two together. A way to link the skills and dragon level would be nice, but of course without breaking the difficulty of the Xbox One game in the process.

The demo for Crimson Dragon was fairly short but easily showed off what the game is all about, which is taking out oncoming threats by shooting them out of the sky with your dragon. The version on the show floor was an on-rails demo as you would expect if you were a fan of the series. However the full game will feature a free flight mode as well, giving you more control over your dragon, although I felt the range of movement given was adequate, allowing you to dodge enemy fire although you couldn't always collect all the items within the level.

You play the demo with two skills you may be familiar with from Side Story, the Plasma Ray and Vision, two very different skills each with their own way to control. The Plasma Ray is what you'd expect from a Panzer Dragoon game, or really any on-rails shooter. It's a shot that locks on to up to eight enemies or targets and you literally just have to hover your reticule over them, and once you're happy pull the trigger, it's a fairly powerful shot and can take down smaller enemies in one hit.

Then you've got Vision which can be best described as a single shot lightning bolt which will home in on any enemy within its large targeting range. I prefer the Plasma Ray the most as it feels most natural when lining up all your targets, however Vision can be quite useful when the odds are against you as the target for it is very large and you can keep tapping fire to make it a much faster shot. If similar to Side Story presumably there will be a large number of skills that you can unlock along with different level tiers for each one to make your dragon very powerful.

The enemies all seemed very similar to that of the ones found in Side Story including red floaty jellyfish within a similar colour environment, I would love to see another location within the game as the one in the demo itself was very lava focused meaning it had lots of red everywhere and wasn't as easily distinguishable as a forest level for example. With the beautiful environments from the previous games we would guess the art direction will be going for a similar yet slightly more modern look.

Crimson Dragon will be available to download off the Xbox One marketplace through digital format only and currently doesn't have a release date, however they have stated that there will be more information released over the upcoming months, so we imagine it must be fairly soon after the console's launch.