Crimson Dragon preview: barrel rolling with Kinect

By Andrew Yoon, Oct 14, 2013 10:30am PDT

Crimson Dragon is seen by many as a spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon. With series creator Yukio Futatsugi serving as director on this new on-rails dragon-based shooting game, it's easy to see why.

The game has been under-the-radar for quite some time. While originally designed as a Kinect-exclusive game for Xbox 360, the project has since moved to Xbox One. Switching platforms opened up a new possibility for developer Grounding: not only does their shooter use Kinect, it uses a controller as well.

Xbox One can support both controller and Kinect simultaneously, something Grounding wanted to take advantage of when switching platforms. Futatsugi explained to us that the game takes advantages of the strengths of each control input. "It's better to use the controller for dragon control," Futatsugi explained. "But rolling motions, your body normally moves, so Kinect is better."

So, you'll be able to aim with the controller and dodge by moving your body to the side--even while sitting down. Kinect is also used for voice commands on partner dragons. You'll be able to say "Advance Forward, Fall Back, Assault" for the AI.

With the addition of controller support, Crimson Dragon is no longer a rails-only game. There's also free-flight sections, where you can control the full flight path of the dragon. As expected, you'll be flying around larger-than-life bosses that take up the more-than-the-entire-screen. In combat, you'll be able to switch between multiple reticules. There's the default Rez-style, which has you holding a button and moving a cursor over multiple enemies to lock on. There's also "rectangle-style," which is weaker, but bombards a larger area of the screen with automatic fire. Each firing mode performs better in specific situations.

It may seem odd that such a long-awaited game would launch for $20, but there could be a number of reasons for it. Visually, Crimson Dragon is far from impressive. Powered by Unreal Engine 3, the game wouldn't be particularly noteworthy on Xbox 360, let alone Xbox One. In addition, it doesn't appear there will be too much content either, with the game shipping with five missions and six dragons.

Of course, there are plans for post-release updates. "We have additional map downloads planned," Futatsugi said. However, whether or not it will be paid DLC or a free title update hasn't been decided. Crimson Dragon will be available at Xbox One's launch.

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