The Cursed Crusade focuses a bit on story and the partnership between the two playable heroes, the Spaniard and the Crusader. Both of them start the game as mercenaries, about to mount an assault on a castle that's been under siege for thirty days. At the beginning the two heroes are stuck together on a pavise, a move-able archer shield. You basically follow a track while you move towards the gates, the only thing it requires you to do is press the cover button, R2, when you see an arrow volley approaching. It is simple, easy, but a decent way to present the siege in a confined area. The whole scene of the siege is fairly good looking graphically, perhaps a bit dated though. Soldiers at the start have an impressive level of detail, but once you get into the keep and starting fighting melee combat that changes. Enemies seem to recycle the same models as you fight "large" battles that are deceptively large. Instead of a ton of soldiers fighting in an area at once, they just have a bunch of waves of reinforcements flowing in to simulate a large battle. One of level of detail I liked was the amount of weapon combinations and how you can pick up most every weapon that drops. Once you pick up a weapon it seems to be permanently in your inventory and you can check out all of the combinations with the D-Pad. Some examples of weapon combinations are any one handed weapon with a shield, two one handed weapons at once, a long spear and a two handed sword. You also have a crossbow, but it the crossbow is pretty unsatisfying to use.
Gameplay in The Cursed Crusade is something I want to like, but it's very hard to. It controls itself a little bit like Assassins Creed when it comes to melee, kill blows and all, but nothing it does is of high quality. Kill blows, killing moves that are animated, are cool at first in this game, but not until you notice that there are very few variations. Not only are there few variations to the killing blows but the game also makes them feel unsatisfying by having poor animations, animations that look wrong, look misplaced and have comical looking blood. Combat is presented with some basic controls, square is a quick attack, triangle is a strong attack, circle is a block break and R2 let's you block. It is a fine and decent system, but the whole combat system feels repetitive and buggy, even with all of the weapon combinations. Each weapon does have a different kill blow and you can do some cool animations, like jamming an enemies face into a torch, but in the end it doesn't feel good.
The Cursed Crusade: Co-op Trailer
The story of The Cursed Crusade seems decent, but like everything else it feels lacking. Even the environment that seems impressively detailed at times, feels third rate at other times. I like what they tried to do with the medieval environment, by either the graphical artists are using shortcuts or the engine isn't too great. The Cursed Crusade does a lot of things in familiar ways, but it doesn't deliver on anything. It's a game I would like to enjoy, being a lover of medieval games, but if the entire game is anything like the demo then it will leave you neither happy or upset with the experience. Then again, if you payed for the game and you still felt that same nothingness then you may be a bit upset. The game does have coop, always a good thing, but that seems to be it's most redeeming feature. IGN already has a crushing review of the game which I will post below if you care to check it out. Feel free to check out the PS3 demo, but there are many other games, new and old, that are likely much better. If you are looking for a similar cooperative experience, wait to see how Lord of the Rings: War In the North turns out. Lord of the Rings also provides a cooperative experience with the same type of third person combat and the demo I played at E3 was a lot more enjoyable than The Cursed Crusade. Thanks for reading and be back with more news tomorrow.
IGN Review: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/119/1199793p1.html
Main Website: http://www.atlus.com/test6984cc/crusade/?p=1
-Written by Sean Cargle