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First Crimson Dragon Reviews


Published by Draikin in News

With the Xbox One release only a few days away, the first reviews of the launch games are being released. Among those are of course reviews for Crimson Dragon, and so far they’ve been… mixed.

Polygon gave the game a 4/10, and while they applauded the great soundtrack, they weren’t so positive about the rest of the game:

Crimson Dragon is a misguided, frustrating, confused game that I didn’t enjoy whatsoever and would recommend to only the hardest of die-hard Panzer Dragoon fans.

I actually was able to complete the next-to-last level without firing a single shot by expending a couple of gems. Crimson Dragon is a paid game with a lot of free-to-play sensibilities and it does not straddle the line gracefully.

IGN gave the game a 5.9 (on a side note, do they really need those decimals?)

I like the challenge of a difficult fight, but when it’s a clock that beats me instead of the enemy, it takes some of the fun out of battle.

Crimson Dragon works well enough as a straight arcade shooter, and there’s plenty of challenge in it. There’s some nostalgic value, too, but it’s weak graphics and frustrating free-flight boss fights make it tough to enjoy the stroll down memory lane.

Gamesbeat’s review is perhaps the most damning in a way, as it expresses the disappointment from someone familiar with the Panzer Dragoon games:

Instead of resembling Orta or the original 1990s Panzer Dragoon titles, Crimson Dragon is a neutered, rushed shell of a game devoid of any character, identity, or personality.

Most of the plot is only moved forward through still frames and disembodied voices barking orders at you, with most characters firing off tired one-liners about you being a rookie and the world’s only hope. It’s almost offensive how impersonal the game gets, offhandedly shipping you out on missions to grind resources for your next combat upgrade, but giving you no motivation or reason to even care.

Fortunately, other reviews have more positive things to say. GamesRader gave the game a 3.5/5:

The spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon offers a compelling on-rails experience, even if it feels a bit lacking in some areas. With multiple dragons to own and level up, as well as and addictive scoring system complete with leaderboards, there are a few good reasons to plop down $20.

Finally, the most positive review so far is the one from Destructoid, who gave the game an 8/10:

Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that this wouldn’t quite honor it, but there’s plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003’s Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old-school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them.

Hopefully this won’t mean bad news for the future of the franchise. Let’s not forget that the game only costs $20, which is something that most reviews don’t quite take into account.

Seventh Twitch.tv Crimson Dragon Live Stream Recording


Published by Solo Wing in News

The latest Crimson Dragon Twitch.tv stream is available for download.

The video starts with Coral Lake at dusk, the water glowing blood red in the evening sky. After the mission is complete we see the evolution of a Silvertail dragon in action, changing from a Silvertail Spark to a Silvertail Proton. With regard to how different each player’s dragon will look, you cannot customise exactly how your dragon will look, however you will be able to change the dragon’s colour which corresponds to the weapons it uses (fire, light, wind, etc).

We also see the underground cavern level, and then back to Coral Lake for another mission with a partner dragon. You can strategically command your partner dragon to fly to different positions around your dragon. For example, if your partner is positioned to your rear, it will watch and defend you from behind.

We’re also introduced to a new dragon, the Darkshoulder Breeze. It’s a huge, bulky dragon that moves slowly, but presumably takes less damage. We see this dragon fly through Crimson Dragon’s forest area briefly before the video ends.

The Silvertail – Crimson Dragon’s Shimmering Beast


Published by Solo Wing in News

As Crimson Dragon’s release draws near, PlayXBLA continues to post updates about the game’s world. Here’s the latest info on the Silvertail dragon:

Just one look at the Silvertail’s glittering hide reveals the origins of this dragon’s name. While naturally at home in the briny coral lakes that dot Draco’s landscape, the Silvertail’s agility makes it more than capable of handling whatever the native creatures of Draco can throw at it.

Horned protrusions in mature Silvertail dragons are normally used to drill deep into the coral hives of Draco’s lakes in search of prey, but serve just as well as weaponry in battle.

The article also contains three screenshots:

Silvertail 01 Silvertail 02 Silvertail 03

Exploring the Depths of Draco - Coral Lakes


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PlayXBLA has posted some new information and screenshots about the Coral Lake region of Planet Draco. Here’s a section from the article:

The alkaline waters of Draco’s Coral Lake region are home to a variety of species. Most commonly found among the brittle coral structures jutting from the water are the Vespin, a pest which normally presents very little danger to the colonists … except when they swarm. Lately, however, the Vespin have undergone a change, transforming into enraged creatures which attack at the slightest provocation.

And here are the screenshots:

Coral Lake East 01 Coral Lake East 02 Coral Lake East 03 Coral Lake East 04

Coral Lake is certainly a stunning area. No doubt it will be remembered as one of the definitive pieces of scenery representing the Crimson Dragon world.

Sixth Twitch.tv Crimson Dragon Live Stream Recording


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The latest stream of Crimson Dragon is available for viewing on Twitch.tv. We’re shown more of the lake area, as well as some missions that take place in the forest. Towards the end we witness the two Seeker dragons taking on a whole group of Orkinuss creatures which viewers may recognise as the third boss from Crimson Dragon: Side Story.

What’s interesting about Crimson Dragon is how story telling takes place within the individual missions. Since Crimson Dragon features multiple missions per game area, this potentially adds up to quite a lengthy story for a rail shooter; I just hope that it doesn’t cause the story telling to drag. We shall see later this month when the final game arrives.

The Bloodskin, Versatility For New Recruits


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PlayXBLA has posted three new screenshots about the Bloodskin dragon type from Crimson Dragon, along with some information. Here’s a section from the article:

The ultimate generalist, Bloodskin dragons can be found throughout the wilds of Draco. No other variety of dragon is spread so widely across the unforgiving regions of the planet. Their adaptability has allowed the Bloodskins to thrive in even the most inhospitable environments found on Draco, from the magma lakes near the planet’s core, to the snowy heights of Draco’s tallest mountain peaks.

I’ve uploaded the screenshots to our archive:

Seekers United Seeker Lieutenant Slayer on the Lake

Fifth Twitch.tv Crimson Dragon Live Stream Recording


Published by Draikin in News

Another recording of the Crimson Dragon live stream is available on Twitch.tv. This time they featured a new build of the game, and graphically there seems to be a few improvements (the lighting in particular) to give the game a softer look.

I’ve managed to get a few questions answered this time around, although the recording doesn’t include the first five minutes of the demo. I first asked whether or not Crimson Dragon: Side Story was a prequel to Crimson Dragon. Chris’s answer didn’t quite answer when Side Story actually happened chronologically compared to the Xbox One game, and only mentioned that Side Story complemented the console version.

My second question (the first one in the recording on Twitch TV) was about the appearance of a White Reaver in what is apparently the very first boss fight of the game. The White Reaver was seemingly eaten by the White Phantom, although the dialogue with Sana afterwards seems to suggest the White Reaver might actually still be alive and the White Phantom actually protected the Reaver. In any case, I asked whether or not this was “the” White Reaver from Side Story. Chris confirmed that it was, although I’m not entirely clear if he understood that I was asking if it was Sana’s White Reaver. It might very well be “a” White Reaver.

I also asked if people that can only get the Xbox One in 2014 (due to the launch delay in several countries) can still get the bonus dragon (which you get when you buy the game before Dec. 31st 2013), which they couldn’t answer, but they thought it was a good question and mentioned that they’ll look into it. Surprisingly, when I asked if the bonus dragon was “a certain blue armored dragon”, Chris replied that it wasn’t. This leaves me wondering just what the bonus dragon will be, as it’s hinted to be from the Panzer Dragoon games.

Fourth Twitch.tv Crimson Dragon Live Stream Recording


Published by Solo Wing in News

A recording of the latest Crimson Dragon live stream is now available on Twitch.tv. This time we’re shown an underground subterranean level along with the Darkshoulder dragon type. There’s some good discussion of the game and lots of comparisons to the Panzer Dragoon series.

Chris Rubyor discusses how Crimson Dragon links in with Crimson Dragon: Side Story:

The side story was complementary to the overall game. Great little app, great little game, but you’re going to learn more about Draco, you’re going to learn more about the dragons, you’re going to see the dragons in full detail. This game basically tells the players what’s really going on in this world. So again, Side Story was complementary to this experience.

At 22:16 minutes into the video there is a question about the game’s storyline. Rubyor gives a brief summary of the game’s back story. He also teases about a plot twist featured near the end of Crimson Dragon:

There’s a whole bigger story to it. Earth is involved still even though technically we’ve broken contact with Earth. There’s also some ancient ruins. At the end of it there’s this cool twist. I don’t want to give it away. When you beat the game you’ll literally go “wow!” … So we have a really deep story that Futatsugi-san and the rest of the team as well as writers here at Microsoft have put together for everyone that purchases the game.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story certainly had a surprising ending; I expect we won’t see Crimson Dragon’s twist coming either.

Crimson Dragon to Feature Panzer-Inspired Bonus Dragon?


Published by Solo Wing in News

The PlayXBLA live stream linked to in the previous update confirms that there will be six different species of dragons in the game, from different parts of Planet Draco (each which can be evolved multiple times). A seventh bonus dragon will be available to players who purchase the game before December 31st. Chris Rubyor hints at what this bonus dragon may be:

I don’t want to give away the surprise, but it was inspired by other games that Futatsugi-san or Yukio Futatsugi has worked on in the past. So I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

What “other games” could Rubyor be talking about besides Futatsugi’s Panzer Dragoon franchise? I would love to play as a long horned dragon inspired by Panzer Dragoon in Crimson Dragon or even the Blue Dragon himself if Microsoft has worked out a deal with Sega.

Whatever this bonus dragon turns out to be, obtaining it could be impossible for players who cannot purchase the Xbox One this year. Unfortunately in response to Draikin’s question on Twitter, PlayXBLA responded that the exclusive dragon will only be available until December 31st, 2013. I certainly hope that Microsoft will change their minds about this.

Third Crimson Dragon Live Stream Recording on Twitch.tv


Published by Solo Wing in News

A recording of the third Crimson Dragon live stream is available. You can view it on Twitch.tv. The playthrough includes the Coral Lake area in the day time, along with the Coral Lake level again set in the evening. It reminds me of Uru in Panzer Dragoon Saga which could be experienced in both the day and the evening. Pretty.

The scoring system was explained, along with rewards system. It looks like there will be lots of items that can be collected and customisation that be done to the dragons; there will be something for RPG fans as well as shooter fans in Crimson Dragon.

The revival gem system was also shown, which involves in-game microtransactions. It appears that the revival gem system will work similar to Crimson Dragon: Side Story’s jewel system; you’ll be able to purchase gems with real money and use these as “continues” if you die during a mission. Crimson Dragon: Side Story also allowed you to level up, making the missions easier on subsequent playthroughs, so buying these jewels will likely be unnecessary so long as you’re prepared to put time into the game. My personal view is that it’s unfortunate that Crimson Dragon will break the immersion by containing microtransactions. Doing well in the Panzer Dragoon shooters was due to skill rather than than based on time or money (even if it takes time to get good at the game). Microtransactions, especially at a time when the player is vulnerable, are exploitive.

On a more positive note, the partner dragon system sounds like it will increase the game’s replay value. You’ll be able to share your customised dragons with your Xbox Live friends. Dragons that your friends (or other members of the community) have customised can be used in missions as “wingman” dragons. To obtain an S rank, it will be useful to download dragons from the community and use their skills to assist you in your mission.

Second Crimson Dragon Demo Playthrough on Twitch.tv


Published by Draikin in News

A few days ago, PlayXBLA had a second livestream of the Crimson Dragon demo on Twitch.tv. This time around they showed an exclusive mission that was only shown behind closed doors at Tokyo Game Show. They also mentioned they will be playing Crimson Dragon next Wednesday as well. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits Chris Rubyor mentions in the video:

  • Panzer Dragoon is one of Chris Rubyor’s favorite game franchises.
  • The dragon being used in the demo is the Blood Skin Magma, a higher tier evolution of the regular Blood Skin.
  • Dragon evolution is an important aspect on the game, and there are over 90 unlockable skills.
  • There are six different dragon species, each with their own tier of evolution. A seventh dragon is exclusive to those that buy the game before December 31st. Chris mentioned the exclusive dragon is being stylized in a way that fans will really appreciate. Was he talking about Panzer Dragoon fans?
  • When targeting enemies, creatures will be highlighted in green, white or red. Green means your current weapon is effective versus the creature. White is neutral, and red means your current weapon will do below average damage. Equipping the best skills is crucial to getting high scores.
  • There’s online coop up to 3 players, both in normal bosses and battles. Their goal is to have all levels playable in coop.
  • There’s no PvP in the game.
  • The levels have destructible environments, but there are no branching paths.
  • Jewels you get after completing a stage can be used to buy treasure packs (including things like revival gems).
  • There’s a classic and casual mode. Classic mode gives gamers the challenge you’d expect from a rail shooter like this, while casual mode provides an easier challenge. Classic mode gives you extra experience points.
  • Chris mentioned there isn’t any actual free flight outside of the boss fights, but also said “who knows what the future holds…” Most likely, he was referring to Yukio Futatsugi’s wish to create a Crimson Dragon RPG. Hopefully, Crimson Dragon will be successful enough for that to happen!

Crimson Dragon Demo Playthrough on Twitch.tv


Published by Draikin in News

Microsoft had a livestream of the Crimson Dragon TGS 2013 demo on Twitch.tv, where Rukari Austin (XBLA Community Coordinator) and Christopher Rubyor (lead game designer of Crimson Dragon at the Microsoft side) each play through the two playable levels of the demo. The audio and video quality isn’t the best, but it still gives us the best look at the game we’ve seen so far.

The first level is situated towards the end of the game, but there seems to be little to no actual spoilers. The second level is a boss fight where we get to see the game’s free flight mode in action, apparently giving the player full control over the dragon instead of being on-rails. This was made possible by the use of the traditional controller instead of just Kinect. Additionally, Kotaku reports that the game is no longer fully playable with Kinect. A move which I doubt anyone will regret.

Crimson Dragon Was Moved to Xbox One at E3 2012


Published by Solo Wing in News

Speaking with Eurogamer, Yukio Futatsugi explained when the decision to move Crimson Dragon from Xbox 360 to Xbox One was made:

Microsoft made the decision to make the switch at E3 last year, where it notified Futatsugi. “We were talking about these things in a hotel room and was told this news. I was shocked, but you know ultimately I think it’s worked out well - though I won’t forget that episode.”

Despite the initial shock, Futatsugi’s happy for the new higher-profile opportunity. “When we’re creating a launch title, that’s a great challenge and is worthwhile to work on,” he said. “To be able to create a launch title with Crimson Dragon, well I was initially surprised but at the same time I thought that this is some really worthwhile work to do - so that’s how I felt.”

This isn’t the first time that Futatsugi has developed a launch title. Panzer Dragoon was also a launch title for the Sega Saturn back in 1995.

New information has also been revealed about the game’s Kinect controls:

In the Xbox One’s Crimson Dragon, players can guide a partner dragon by leaning their body, while elsewhere free roaming sections have been introduced for boss battles. With gamepad controls reinstated, the link between Crimson Dragon and Futatsugi’s past Panzer Dragoon games is stronger than ever.

I’m curious how these free roaming sections will play out. No doubt new information will be revealed before or when the game is released.

150 Minute Wait to Play Crimson Dragon


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Futatsugi posted this photo on Twitter of people waiting in line to play Crimson Dragon at Tokyo Game Show.

Crimson Dragon Tokyo Game Show 2013 02

Grounding "Interested in RPGs For Crimson Dragon"


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Speaking with Siliconera at Tokyo Game Show, Yukio Futatsugi told them that Grounding is interested in developing Crimson Dragon RPGs (note the plural) if Crimson Dragon sells well:

When we asked Futatsugi what sort of games he would like Grounding to work on as the company matures, he replied, “If it sells well, we’d be interested in RPGs for Crimson Dragon, or even outside of the franchise. My personal interest is in smartphones. They’re gradually becoming capable of having visuals like this.”

Of course Crimson Dragon will need to sell well for one or more RPGs in the series to be developed, either on console or mobile, but it is nice to know that Grounding are thinking ahead. Panzer Dragoon Zwei complemented Panzer Dragoon Saga nicely because it was written with the expectation that Saga would follow; I imagine Crimson Dragon would complement a Crimson Dragon RPG in a similar way.

Crimson Dragon US$19.99, Xbox One Exclusive, and More


Published by Solo Wing in News

News has been posted to Xbox Wire detailing Crimson Dragon’s release. As previously confirmed, the game will be available on November 22, but unfortunately for those who want to play the game on Xbox 360, the game has been confirmed as an Xbox One exclusive.

Launching exclusively for Xbox One for $19.99 (USD) on Nov. 22, “Crimson Dragon” enables you to harness a powerful dragon and take to the skies in this thrilling shooter where humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction on a planet ruled by dragons. It’s up to you and your friends to control the winged beasts as you battle for supremacy. Purchase and play “Crimson Dragon” before Dec. 31 and receive an exclusive dragon to help you rule the skies.

Hopefully the exclusive dragon will still be made available to players who cannot purchase an Xbox One in 2013, including Japan where Crimson Dragon is being developed.

Crimson Dragon Tokyo Game Show 2013 Trailer


Published by Solo Wing in News

“When we came here, it was to start again…”

Video Details for "Crimson Dragon Tokyo Game Show 2013 Trailer"

Also available on GAME Watch and on our YouTube channel.

There’s also some new info in a GAME Watch article which we’ll attempt to translate later (read: Google Translate) to see if it contains anything of importance. At a quick glance, the main new piece of information appears to be that the game will sell for $19.99.

A Photo of Crimson Dragon at Tokyo Game Show?


Published by Solo Wing in News

Yukio Futatsugi has posted a photo on Twitter along with the word ‘‘準備できた!” which in English means “Be ready!”. It is very likely that this photo is of Crimson Dragon at Tokyo Game Show.

Crimson Dragon Tokyo Game Show 2013 01

Crimson Dragon Will Be Playable at Tokyo Game Show


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Microsoft has announced its lineup for Tokyo Game Show, revealing that there will be eight playable Xbox One titles, Crimson Dragon among them. Tokyo Game Show 2013 takes place on September the 19th until the 22nd. That’s next Thursday until next Sunday.

At E3, Yukio Futatsugi told Polygon that his team were still working on balancing the game to work well with both the gamepad and Kinect. It will be interesting to see if the Tokyo Game Show demo includes many improvements, especially as the release date is not far away at all.

Crimson Dragon to Be Released on November 22


Published by Solo Wing in News

Microsoft has revealed that the Xbox One will be released on November 22. Previously Microsoft announced that the system would launch in November with Crimson Dragon as one of its 23 launch titles; now we have a specific date for when the Xbox One and Crimson Dragon will arrive.

Bring on November the 22nd and let’s hope that Crimson Dragon isn’t delayed again.

Crimson Dragon Xbox Platform Exclusive or First on Xbox


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Microsoft has posted Xbox One’s lineup on games on Xbox.com. Among the list is Crimson Dragon. Interestingly, Crimson Dragon isn’t listed as an Xbox One exclusive, but as game which will either be exclusive to the Xbox platform or will be released exclusively first on Xbox. Specifically, the words used are:

Titles in bold are Xbox platform exclusives or exclusively first on Xbox

What this means for Crimson Dragon remains to be seen. It at least doesn’t rule out an Xbox 360 or PC version of the game. The Xbox 360 can certainly be considered a part of the Xbox platform, so perhaps Crimson Dragon will still make it to the 360 after an initial Xbox One launch (the 360 version has not been officially cancelled). Perhaps we will see a version of the game on other Microsoft platforms at a later date, similar to the PC releases of Microsoft published Xbox games such as Halo, Gears of War, and Alan Wake.

November Xbox One Launch Lineup Includes Crimson Dragon


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Gamespot has posted a list of the Xbox One’s launch titles, a list which includes the long-awaited Panzer Dragoon spiritual successor, Crimson Dragon. Crimson Dragon will be released along with 22 other titles on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox One console when in launches this November. The exact day of the month when the Xbox One and Crimson Dragon will be released has yet to be revealed.

Unfortunately the Xbox One will only launch in some regions this November. These regions include Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, and New Zealand. For Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland, the console (and consequentially Crimson Dragon) has been pushed into 2014. My thanks go to Ars Technica for this information.

My Life With Sega Reviews Panzer Dragoon Saga


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The ‘My Life With Sega’ video review of Panzer Dragoon Saga is now online. It’s a great review which is suitable for new players as it’s spoiler free, while still showing off a decent amount footage from the game. Hopefully we’ll see a Panzer Dragoon Orta review in the future when A.J. gets a chance to play it.

Edit: A news story about the video has also been posted on Segabits.

My Life With Sega Reviews Panzer Dragoon


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Segabits has released a video review of the first two Panzer Dragoon games, as part of their ‘My Life With Sega’ series. It discusses how Panzer Dragoon was the best Saturn launch title and why these games stood out from other rail shooters. It’s a nice retrospective look at Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei.

A Panzer Dragoon Saga video review is planned for July the 17th.

Futatsugi Still Hopes to Make a Crimson Dragon RPG


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Speaking with Joystiq at E3, Yukio Futatsugi confirmed that he still hopes to make an RPG sequel to Crimson Dragon. Futatsugi stated earlier that the possibility of an RPG follow up would depend upon the sales of the first game. Richard Mitchell from Joystiq writes:

Right now the team is focused solely on finishing the current game, he said, but the story and atmosphere of Crimson Dragon have been crafted in such a way that it could easily be turned into an RPG. Grounding already has many team members who worked on the likes of Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta, including Crimson Dragon’s programming lead, design lead, art lead and sound team. When the decision was made to bring Crimson Dragon to Xbox One, the team also acquired the art designer from Futatsugi’s original Xbox cult classic, Phantom Dust.

Joystiq also asked Yukio Futatsugi if he would like to see a high definition version of Panzer Dragoon Saga, similar to the recent re-releases of NiGHTS into Dreams and Jet Set Radio:

He would like to see Saga re-released, he said, and the subject comes up from time to time at the Grounding offices. Usually, these discussions end with the team realizing that the game would be very difficult to remake. Still, Futatsugi said he would love to play it again.

We plan to send our petition for a re-release of Panzer Dragoon Saga to Sega when it reaches 1000 signatures, so if you haven’t done so already, please sign it.