Author Topic: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud  (Read 3248 times)

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Offline Crimm

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RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« on: August 04, 2019, 04:17:25 PM »
It's that time again! We're doing a RetroActive in Crimson Shroud for Nintendo 3DS. You can play along with us, and post your thoughts here. It's a short game, so we hope you can join us.

Comments posted here may find their way into the episode. Given the brevity of the game, we're doing this one on a tight turnaround. Recording will happen on August 22.
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Offline Shaymin

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Re: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2019, 05:32:16 PM »
I look forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Obsidian Daphne (aka the item required to proceed the plot that's a rare drop).
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 04:57:20 PM »
I feel weird saying this because I normally don't care either way but this game could really benefit from voice acting. There's just something about walls of text over the camera moving around still 3D models that just isn't doing it for me. I feel like some kind of voice dub would have fixed that.
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Offline TOPHATANT123

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Re: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 05:25:26 PM »
I like this game's D&D theme, and despite not breaking any new ground, the game's world feels sufficiently fleshed out and doesn't fall too far into Tolkien tropes.

The game has the feel of a choose your own adventure book but without any of the branching narrative. The text of the game even tries to emulate the style of a novel, complementing the low budget as it allows your imagination to fill in the gaps. A small visual feature I did appreciate was that the different weapons showed up on the character models, even though this would be easy to miss.

The battle system has enough quirks for it to differentiate itself from other RPGs. Instead of choosing between attacking and using skills, in Crimson Shrowd you can do both in a single turn, encouraging you to constantly use buffs and debuffs rather than just relentlessly attacking.

Instead of travelling from town to town refreshing your HP and MP, in this game your HP is refilled after every encounter and your can raise MP by using standard attacks, which makes sense for a short adventure through a single dungeon.

The elemental combo system is interesting although I'm unsure about maths behind the reward dice. With accuracy dice rolls the UI appears to be trying to tell you that the chances of a hit will increase from 50% to 54%, but then the game makes you roll a D4 to try to get a 2 or higher, this has a chance of 75%. The higher the number of faces the lower the chance, with a D6 it told me to get a 3 or higher, which is 66%, less than the D4, even though the combo system makes D6's more rare. Conversely if you use the higher dice on attack rolls you face the chance of a meager attack boost that will likely be inconsequential to the outcome of the battle.

As for the randomly dropped main quest item, even if we look past the, on the face of it misconceived design, the game doesn't even do it well. The game isn't explicitly clear what you have to do and because it's random there's no feedback to the player, that what they're doing is correct, they just need to do it 6 more times. After my fifth wave of skeletons I had to Google it to check I was even on the right path.

The game says there aren't any levels but you still seem to gain skills as you battle. The UI of the game in general is a bit messy, I still don't really understand the stat changes on the equipment screen. Descriptions are inside an annoying scrolling banner and it's easy to forget which debuffs you've applied to enemies, so you just apply them again for good measure.

The way the game ends resolves nothing and comes out of nowhere, so I presume I got the bad ending, and unfortunately the combat isn't appealing enough for me to want to play through the whole game again.

Final impressions are a little sour. Sure it's got a nice soundtrack and a unique aesthetic, but the battle system is unbalanced, unrefined, and the story is well written but ultimately paper thin. There is a good foundation to build upon but it's unlikely at this point Level 5 will ever return to it.

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Offline ejamer

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Re: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 08:00:18 PM »
I played through this game a long time ago, but remember it being an absolute breath of fresh air - the visual style was distinct and interesting, and I liked the emphasis it put on actual storytelling over trying to be flashy. Substance over style is a rare thing in video games these days.

Outside of one infamously bad design choice, I have fond memories of the game - even recalling that I had hoped for a more substantial adventure in the same style. I missed joining the retroactive, only seeing this post a couple of days before the show records, but look forward to listening to the thoughts of others and am keen to play through the game again myself later this week...
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Offline ejamer

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Re: RetroActive 45: Crimson Shroud
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2019, 10:10:53 AM »
So I started playing through this again, and have mostly enjoyed it... but that random drop requirement is a horrible, horrible design choice.

There should have been some limit on how many times you needed to do that battle. Even knowing that I was supposed to go back and keep fighting, it took 2 hours of grinding to get the Obsidian Daphne so that I could progress. That's ridiculous.
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