Today, I got the chance to sit down with Atlus’ newest game The Cursed Crusade. As I fired up the game, I noticed that there were three options to play, solo, copoperative, or Xbox LIVE. As my time was limited, we will only be discussing the game as as it took place in the Solo mode.
After choosing Solo mode you get the option to choose what Chapter and Stage you wish to begin, granted that you have already unlocked said stages. You are also able to choose from one of three difficulty settings, Crusader (easy), Knight (medium), and Templar (Hard); the Nightmare setting is locked until, I assume, after you beat the game.
The game begins by treating you to a cinematic scene narrated by Jean de Bayle, the father of Denz de Bayle our protaginist. Once I was able to control Denz, I quickly learned that the combat system feels a bit like Dark Souls only not as punishing. You can play this game mashing buttons but you won’t make it very far. The Cursed Crusade has a built in combo system in which you can string together stuns, shield breaks, light attacks, and strong attacks.
Although you can play this game alone, it is by no means a lone soldier game. Early on you meet Esteban de Noviembre, who sounds like your own personal Antonio Banderes. Ok so maybe not Antonio Banderes, he’s more like Rico “Scorpio” Rodriguez from Just Cause 2. During the first boss battle, something happens that causes Esteban to panic and you end up saving his life, causing Esteban to become you companion because he owes you that debt.
Throughout each level, there are different items you can collect such as coffers, crucifixes, even sending souls to heaven (I’ll get to this later in the preview). By performing these tasks throughout each stage you earn what are called Victory Points that can be spent to level up your hero’s stats, or unlock different attack combinations for your many different weapons.
Also, this game has almost an absurd amount of weapons. So far, I’ve come across six different weapon types, maces, spears, swords, axes, shields, and crossbows. Each of these (aside from the shields and crossbows) come in a two handed version as well, all of which can be equipped in either hand in any combination. So you have a sword and shield combo, sword and sword, sword and mace, sword and axe, sword and spear, and sword alone. Now for each different combination of weapons, there is another set of attacks to unlock.
Remember when I mentioned sending souls to Heaven? Well, The Cursed Crusade contains a very unique feature called the Templar’s Curse. It seems that in this world, if you or your bloodline has committed sins so atrocious that Death himself comes to collect your soul, you are marked with a curse. With each kill, your curse meter slowly fills and you have the choice of using said meter whenever you feel, but if you don’t use it, it activates automatically when it is full.
While the curse is active, Denz and Esteban look like demons but their strength and speed are increased. Throughout the game you will unlock more powers and abilities that can be utilized while the curse is active. Thus far, I have unlocked the ability to see weakened walls that can be knocked down and the purifying fire, which can be used to harm foes or to “purify” souls and send them to heaven.
Another interesting feature that comes with the curse is that when you are knocked down and have no more health, you enter the cursed world and can look around to see and push back Death himself until your partner can come to your aid. You see, whatever this curse is, it seems that a knightly version of Death is after you throughout the game. In order to unlock one of the curse powers that I mentioned earlier, we had to defeat Death in an attack launched on us in our dreams.
The time I had with The Cursed Crusade was brief but I look forward to playing through the entire game to see where this story goes, just how many weapons are actually in this game, and to find out how powerful you can get using this curse. Check back with us on October 24th, 2011 when the review goes live for our break down of what’s HOT and what’s NOT, in The Cursed Crusade.The Cursed Crusade Hands-On Impression,