When it comes to the widespread landscape that is the videogame industry, there are numerous genres/titles to choose from. Yes, from rhythm games to brawlers, there’s pretty much something out there for everyone to enjoy. One particular selection for a lot of gamers is the action RPG, for which the amount of titles tied to such a genre is staggering, to say the least. Crimson Keep, a game developed by Ian Atherton and Ben Rog-Wilhelm, is a title that neatly falls into the realm of fantasy-action RPG, as well as falling into the realm of “meh” when all is said and done.
A first-person title based around progressing from area to area and defeating enemy after enemy, Crimson Keep has some neat design choices and flows really well, but doesn’t do enough to keep itself from becoming real dull real fast. To sum up, Crimson Keep seems to have a hard time “keep”-ing its audience awake (comedy, ladies and gentleman) with regards to gameplay and narrative. Honestly, there shouldn’t be a point during the game where I’m going: “Hmmm, well maybe if I defeat more enemies than something interesting will happen.”
To better explain, the plot of Crimson Keep is fairly standard as RPG’s go, evil takes over the land and you are the only one who can stop it. Done. Print. At the same time however, it lacks that all-important, critical aspect of videogame narrative, drive. Not to sound too direct, but there is nothing that keeps me going on a storytelling level in this title. Crimson Keep, more or less, just throws you into a room and says: “Go stop the evil”, to which I reply: “Why?”, to which it answers: “Because it’s evil”. To be fair, it is a bit more complex than that, but the lore that the game presents is so minimal that there’s no real context to why the evil is evil or if the land will be doomed if I fail. All in all, it feels as though the developers were more focused on the gameplay aspect of Crimson Keep, rather than the storytelling aspect. Which, unfortunately, ends up showing in a negative way.
That being said, despite the assumption that focus was placed on the gameplay, this was also something that suffered in Crimson Keep. Not that it’s bad, it’s just repetitive, and the only thing that breaks up the repetition is harder bosses and enemies, which eventually become more repetitive as you keep progressing… it’s a vicious cycle. You do get three different classes and various items/abilities throughout though, so despite the basic combat being as bland as it is, there’s at least enough variety to spice things up a bit if nothing else.
Moving away from the negatives, the all-around positives of Crimson Keep comes in the form of its visual design and character design. Now, some might make the comparison that the look of the game is a little too Minecraft-y. However, I feel instead there’s a nice, simplistic fantasy RPG look to everything, which at the very least helps with getting more immersed into the game’s world as a whole. The same goes for the characters designs which, again, bring the fantasy RPG vibe to reality.
So, with everything said, is Crimson Keep worth picking up? Ehhhhh. It’s a decent enough title that you’ll get some entertainment out of it, however, the story is barebones, the gameplay at its core is bland and basic, and progressing throughout feels like it’s done at a crawl. On the positive side though, the design and overall look of the game are definitely noteworthy, being two aspects that help make this title more appealing from a visual perspective. Long story short, it’s up to you in this case, I personally would save my money for something else.
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Crimson Keep is a decent enough title that you’ll get some entertainment out of it, however, the story is barebones, the gameplay at its core is bland and basic, and progressing throughout feels like it’s done at a crawl. On the positive side though, the design and overall look of the game are definitely noteworthy, being two aspects that help make this title more appealing from a visual perspective. Long story short, it’s up to you in this case, I personally would save my money for something else.