Earlier in the year, Level-5 released a curious Nintendo 3DS title in Japan titled “Guild 01”. Serving as a compilation of software from a number of prominent Japanese developers, many of the titles found in “Guild 01” seemed to be Japanese oriented and, as a result, would elude release in North America. With the Nintendo 3DS being region-locked, it appeared that North American gamers would never be able to experience the titles found in “Guild 01”.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case as Nintendo chose to distribute several titles found in “Guild 01” exclusively via the Nintendo 3DS eShop. “Crimson Shroud” is the third and last title of “Guild 01” to be released in North America and it would seem that Nintendo saved the best for last.
“Crimson Shroud” saw release on the Nintendo eShop on Thursday morning.
Designed by Yasumi Matsuno, famous for his work on “Final Fantasy Tactics”, “Crimson Shroud” is a traditional adventure RPG that marries elements of table-top games – an example being something similar to that of “Dungeons and Dragons”. The result is an addicting portable RPG that offers a captivating narrative accompanied by an excellent soundtrack.
Players take control of three key characters during “Crimson Shroud”. Labeled as Chasers, the story revolves around each character and is told through descriptive text comparable to that of a well-written book, but what makes “Crimson Shroud” distinctive is how it makes use of its table-top elements.
Dice rolls determine several aspects of battling as status effects, bonuses, attack boosts, and other rewards are based on the number in which you roll prior and during battle. The use of the dice is a nice addition as it adds some uncertainty to each battle and whether you’ll be rewarded handsomely upon conclusion.
Exploration is conducted through a dungeon as your party will make way through different levels and encounter more powerful opponents as you progress. Unlike most RPG, “Crimson Shroud” lacks a true level-up system and instead favors the idea of equipment to better the skills of each character.
Certain types of equipment may allow the character to learn a new magic spell, increase physical damage or other abilities thru augmentation of several items.
This setup can become addicting as you mix and match different equipment to find the best-rounded arrangement that proves effective in battle.
For anyone who has played an early “Final Fantasy” or RPG before, the combat found in “Crimson Shroud” will feel familiar. Making use of a turn-based combat system, you are normally given two moves per turn for each character, thus allowing you to give your character a temporary statistic boost and then follow-up with an attack.
Like most turn-based combat systems, strategy is required to some degree if you aim to win battles without fear. Dice rolls will decide how much of a boost a spell or attack receives as well as how much health will be cured when using a healing spell.
Visually, “Crimson Shroud” borrows the art style of previous Yasumi Matsuno title “Vagrant Story”. With each character presented as tiny figurines, the visual style works well for this type of game; however, the art is a little of rough and lacks detail in some areas.
Old-school RPG fans will find lots to love from “Crimson Shroud”. For those who aren’t hardcore RPG fanatics, but have an interest in “Crimson Shroud”, know that some quests are annoyingly challenging, battles can become longwinded affairs, and there is a fair amount of backtracking to conduct in order to find that one necessary item needed to complete a quest. “Crimson Shroud” caters to an acquired taste.
Given that the Nintendo 3DS library is light on RPGs, “Crimson Shroud” is a welcome treat well worth your time. It has an interesting story, superb writing, and wonderful musical score. Though battles can become tiresome and the game’s length is on the short side, there is an old-school appeal found in “Crimson Shroud” and that helps make it a splendid 3DS RPG.
(Editor’s Note: A game code was provided by Nintendo for review purposes. The game was completed for review. “Crimson Shroud” is now available on the Nintendo eShop for digital purchase for the asking price of $7.99.)