– Scott Ellison
5 / 5 – Incredible
Vengeance is a dish best served cold, or was that revenge? We only reviewed Crimson Alliance a month ago. And now the DLC Pack is coming out on Wednesday and it provides a short, but challenging extension to an already great co-op and singleplayer experience.
There’s no strong exposition to be had with Vengeance, but you are provided with three “maps”. First off, as story elements go – there are two singleplayer maps included. Both of which are stark contrasts of one another providing an amazing thunderstorm and gorgeous lighting effects and then on the flip-side seeing fiery dungeons and caverns. Each level is designed differently from the main campaign, they are lengthy and have less checkpoints. It doesn’t make things frustrating, just requires more skill and tactics when playing.
As they exist in the main campaign, there is a whole new challenge level with a unique twist, aptly titled “Fistful of Coins”. It’s a wave-based risk/reward level. It’s quite simple, start the Wave, once completed you get a set amount of coins. If your health and confidence is high enough, you can then move on to the next wave and so on. Now, if you’ve chosen to move on and die, then you lose ALL coins you’ve accrued. You can back out after each successful wave. This way of playing can be helpful in earning the coins for that special piece of armor or weapon you’ve been eyeing since the main campaign.
The game also features new achievements to the standard 12 and are on-par with the rest of the game. It’s a small piece of content that does extend the game, with gorgeous vistas and a great way to earn more money in less time. New weapons are strewn around these new SP maps in secret areas for you to find. Ice is a newer element of focus this time, with new clay jars to break that will freeze your enemies in their place allowing you to inflict massive amounts of damage. Lastly, there are new enemies to be encountered and defeated such as a huge fire golem that looks impressive and can qualify as a mini-boss.
If you enjoy Crimson Alliance and have either solo’d or co-op’d the main levels too much, then these new areas will be provide tons of replay and challenge.
A XBLA code for the DLC was provided by Certain Affinity for Review purposes
Certain Affinity has announced the upcoming DLC for Crimson Alliance is called “Vengeance”. It’ll hit Xbox LIVE Arcade on October 12, 2011. Following up on the intense combat action of Crimson Alliance, the Vengeance Map Pack allows up to four players to continue cooperatively hacking and slashing their way through the perilous lands of Byzan.
We recently reviewed this game and many good things to say despite some shortcomings and it’s multiplayer focus, but it was enjoyed overall.
“From the start we wanted to keep the adventure going by giving players new places to explore with their friends. When we finished the game back in May we had a few months to wait before the Summer of Arcade was over. So we devoted ourselves to building the kind of maps that we wanted to play: fiendishly difficult ones that are perfect for co-op,” said Max Hoberman, President of Certain Affinity.
The Expansion pack contains new campaign levels pitting players in a race against time to hunt down and destroy two dangerous new threats. Also included is a new Challenge Map called “Fistful of Coins,” which allows users to test their skill against an increasingly deadly onslaught of enemies, with mountains of gold at stake. New loot, new enemies, and new challenges await in the first downloadable content expansion pack for Crimson Alliance!
Prepare to take Vengeance on October 12, 2011 for 240 Microsoft Points. The pack will be available from the main game menu, and will require a 40MB download.
– Scott Ellison
Our Score: 4 / 5 – Awesome
A mercenary, a wizard, and an assassin walk into a bar…well, they don’t actually. But these three unsavory characters are thrown in a quest to stop the evil that’s been destroying and cursing the lands. Regardless of which characater you play as, this is very much the Wizard’s tale. As a Mercenary or Assassin, you still play to the tune of the Wizard and have no story of your own to tell.
Now from a glance you’d see this as a Torchlight or Diablo-like game. While you’re close, you’re at the same time far off. This game resembles more Gauntlet Legends than anything. There is continuity when going place to place, or a cutscene will serve as a time advance for getting to a new locale. There is a score system in place once you reach the end of the level (marked by a red triangle), for: Combat, Finding Secret Areas, and for completing the level in the least amount of Time. All of which add up to a bonus that will give you a Bronze, Silver, or Gold rating. You can, at any time change the difficulty or replay a level for a higher score.
About that difficulty, it’s actually pretty even throughout. The game progressively swarms you with more and more enemies. Any deaths incurred set you back to the latest checkpoint. There are no saves here, at least ones that you can create. One unique feature, is that all characters share the same level progression. Meaning, if you create an Assassin’ after you beat the game, the “Level 0” Assassin will have access to all levels from the get-go – which is a nice feature.
In-between levels, you’ll unlock Challenge levels which is a specialized campaign level for high scores and at a higher difficulty of enemies that come in waves. Also on your path to the next level is Merchant levels. It’s here where you can spend your hard-earned gold on Weapons, Armor, Shields, and Deployables. The deployables are in each level that you can pick-up: Health Totem (which is a circle of healing if you can’t find a health jar), Mechanical Turret (a steampunk turret to fight enemies), Throwing Axe (a fiery axe that explodes on contact doing splash damage), and Monster Bait (to distract and huddle enemies together).
Combat is very simple; X is your light attack, Y is heavy attack, B is stun, and A is dash. The dash is going to be your primary mode of transportation as it gets you places just a bit quicker (to aide in the faster level times). Unfortunately this is shared with all 3 character classes as there aren’t really any varying differences except maybe the Wizard who uses fire, lightning, ice, and wind spells. Over time you’ll unlock the ability for an Ultimate Attack, which becomes available by killing dudes. You pick-up items through your playthrough (and if you explore enough) to increase the amount of time your ultimate lasts.
There really isn’t any “loot” to be had in the game, most of the weapon/shield/armor drops are static. There isn’t a randomized system in place, but the stuff you get is almost always the next thing you’ll want to equip. Rarely did I get an item that was worse than what I had. Going back to the Merchant Outposts, you’ll find very expensive – yet powerful items for purchase here that won’t be available on the battlefield.
The game looks great, loads fast and rarely chunks up in the thick of combat. In fact, the only time I had the game slow down on me was during a part in the level where I was not in combat.
Almost to it’s detriment, the game is heavily focused in multiplayer – often showing a screen in which another player can help you in combat. You can join others or have others join you in local or online co-op. The local players can join you in going online for a total of 4 co-op buddies. It’s good it’s set at four players, but with only three character classes becomes silly seeing duplicate characters in the level despite the minor clothing and armor customizations. Additionally, a lot of the secret areas demand 2 more people to complete, so then you realize a solo run of the game is not what the developers intended on.
I played some online co-op and it was smooth, but all too easy to lose yourself in the mix of the chaos, but if you just keep swinging, you’ll come out ahead.
Now let’s talk Pricing Structure and DLC:
Pricing Structure – The game is $15 for the full experience with all three classes. You can purchase one class for $10 and get the full game experience. Subsequent classes are still $10 each. You could at that point buy the All Class Pack for $15 and save yourself $5 overall. With that said, if this review sways you and/or the trial game does it for you – go for the $15 game.
DLC – There is one thing in the Trading Outposts where you can purchase 40,000 in-game coins for a one real-life dollar. It’s not terrible, but can fast-track your way to success in the game.
I’ve gone back and forth here. While the game is fun, accessible, and easy to play with friends and/or strangers – the story isn’t that interesting and only focuses on one the characters you can play as, so playing either of the other classes seems meaningless. The game has a lot going on for it, despite the confusing pricing system. So I say give it a shot.
An XBLA code for the game was provided by Certain Affinity for Review purposes
Crimson Alliance is fast approaching (releasing on September 7th), and we now have the last character reveal trailer: Moonshade the Assassin
Coming out on September 7th is Crimson Alliance, an Action RPG from Certain Affinity. It will be available for purchase for 1200 Microsoft Points or for FREE*
(IF you purchased all 5 Summer of Arcade titles. Then the code may not be received until a few weeks after the game’s release.)
Here we see a character trailer of Direwolf, a Wizard who is MAD AS HELL…
Microsoft has released the details to this year’s Summer of Arcade, and it looks to be a scorcher with some amazing games. Focusing on some of the smaller, indie developers out there.
Bastion (July 20 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
Take control of a character known as The Kid, who is thrust into a world that has literally collapsed around him. He must now construct a safe haven and build a new world from the remnants of the past. The game features lush and imaginative artwork as well as an innovative reaction system that responds to your actions in real time throughout the adventure.
From Dust (July 27 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
Immerse yourself in a world as exotically beautiful as it is dangerous! Control the destiny of a primitive tribe against the backdrop of a world in constant evolution—a universe where mighty Nature reclaims what is hers, and your mastery of the elements is your people’s only hope of survival …
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (August 3 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
Experience a captivating adventure set in a unique, rich and insanely twisted world, blending exploration, intense shooter action, and puzzle-solving with gorgeous visuals and rich story telling in a Hollywood-quality presentation. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet draws you into an epic journey full of surprises, danger and wonder.
Fruit Ninja Kinect (August 10 – 800 Microsoft Points)
The worldwide gaming phenomenon Fruit Ninja has now arrived for Kinect! Your arms are now blades, and the epic battle against the world’s most delicious produce is just beginning. Fruit Ninja Kinect is an amazing evolution of the slice-em-up genre created by Halfbrick, using next-gen power for the juiciest combat ever. Fruit Ninja Kinect includes all the action you know and love with precision control — along with special features exclusive to Kinect.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War (August 17 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
The Cold War is decided when eighties-era action toys come alive and wage war! Toy Soldiers: Cold War blends intense first person combat with addictive action strategy, whether you’re scrapping solo or jumping into the fray with friends.