Rolled for success, got it.
As part of the Guild series, Crimson Shroud is a table-top RPG from Final Fantasy alum Yasumi Matsuno. It is not only an interesting gameplay experience, but also an interesting narrative experience. This is one of the finer experiences on the 3DS.
I never thought a table-top RPG adventure could be such fun, but oh it is. It is very simple, but addictive in its style. You choose where to go, you get some text, decide how to approach the given situation – and it usually ends in a battle. It is in the battles where the game really switches on; it has a battle system that works on character speed, filling a bar to take your turn (like a good old Chrono Trigger). What makes the game interesting however is how it utilises dice.
Dice rolls change the battle system enough to make things exciting for JRPG die-hards, one roll of the dice can completely change the emphasis in battle between you and your enemies. Some may not appreciate the slightly random nature of the battles, but I loved it. It’s great fun to see how the dynamic can shift, it helps the game’s difficulty balance – for me it is the perfect difficulty, slightly hard.
To keep you playing the game there is a really rather lovingly crafted story filled with intrigue and great character development. Even though you are given walls of text (which doesn’t win any awards for presentation), each paragraph is expertly crafted to fill the game with wonderful backstory and rich detail – especially impressive for a game just a few hours long.
Indeed, length is the game’s only real downside, as an eShop game length doesn’t really matter. You know a game is good when your only real complaint is that it is too short. Crimson Shroud works well as a short experience though; everything works so well and is so tightly crafted that it acts as something of a master class in game design.
Deep in the game’s underlying system lie the RPG elements. Gaining levels and improving skills feels intuitive and you actually feel the difference within your party, as strengths and weaknesses improve and diminish.
To top it all off is a fantastic soundtrack and visual design that really adds depth and class to proceedings. Crimson Shroud really comes across as effortless in its design. This is a class game.
Crimson Shroud is up there with the best on the 3DS; it looks nice, sounds great and really flows from start to finish. Sure, the game is short, but it is a download game, a download game that comes from a game compilation. This is class from start to finish.
Dice rolling has not been this fun since I first played Risk.