Title: Crimson Shroud
Format: Nintendo eShop
The best thing I ever read in middle school
Positives: The writing. Which means: the story, the characters, and the scope. It creates an entire world, but never has the need to leave the one area you explore in. It doesn’t try to do too much, but as a result everything it does, it does well. The battle and upgrade systems are simple but lend themselves well to tinkering. The character art design is solid, if not as strong as other Yasumi Matsuno games. And as a personal plus, the main character eschews the normal jrpg bullshit of being a whiny teenager, and is instead set in his late 20s.
Negatives: I rarely say this for the time sink-hole that is the rpg genre, but Crimson Shroud could be longer. The table-top piece setup doesn’t harm the game at all, but it only gets away with the complete lack of animation because the writing is so strong. In the end, you just want it to have a bit more of everything.
Verdict: There’s beauty in the simplicity, and it allowed Nexus and Level-5 to make a very good game. But it’s probably unrealistic to think it could be stretched into anything with enough substance to be great. Still, it’s so easy to like while it lasts.
Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Memory: The use of the word “slurry”. It’s poured down someone’s throat at the beginning.
Crimson Shroud is such a simple game that it makes you want to make a game. There is no animation (besides your table-top like pieces falling over), but the story/dialogue adds more life to the characters than other games with an abundance of animation (even a solid game like Fire Emblem Awakening leaves you feeling cold in comparison). This is also the reason why it’s deceiving, even if you were to emulate the mechanics exactly, you would be no closer to making a good game.
It’s no surprise; Yasumi Matsuno has created perhaps some of the best written games ever. Tactics Ogre has a darkness and intensity that buries it in a depth few other games I’ve ever played can begin to compete with (Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne perhaps). While Vagrant Story is an aesthetic marvel on all levels. Crimson Shroud isn’t as stellar in any of these ways, but it’s staying with me in the best kind of way.