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The Cursed Crusade Review

Developed by Kt, The Cursed Crusade is an action adventure game following a Templar called Denz D'Bayle and his companion Esteban Noviembre on his quest to rid himself of a curse that has haunted his family for generations. Will his quest prevail or is this game doomed to fail?

Players of Assassin's Creed will feel slightly awkward when they find that they will be playing as a Templar. Denz is on a personal quest in order to save his families land and castle but in order to achieve his objective he must find his father so that together they can reclaim what was once theirs from an evil uncle.

Usually a character discovers the turning points in a plot as they plays through the story however this time around, Denz is already aware of the curse as you start but seems to think little of it. As the narrative continues the player finds that the curse plays a greater role in the story. Denz and Esteban also exposed to a conspiracy relating to both the curse and the templar’s, they also find themselves being sought after by death who claims that hell bound souls are tasty.
My curse gives me horns... yeah!
Although the story follows Denz crusade, what would a great hero be without a witty sidekick? Denz is accompanied throughout his crusade by Esteban, a Spaniard, as we are constantly reminded. Esteban has no real motive aside from repaying Denz for saving his life, both Denz and Esteban are cursed which also makes them stronger than a small army and rest assured there will be many of them.

The story can confuse at times albeit the linear nature it follows, it does however do its job and by the end a player has a vague understanding of what is going on but it would have been a smart choice if the developers had managed to integrate some background detail about the characters including what they had done to get their bloodlines cursed.

The third person genre usually is fairly linear in gameplay. Characters follow the breadcrumbs whilst ripping everything in between cutscenes apart. The third crusade however aims for a separate direction with a slower pace. A great amount of detail is put into the weapon system that allows the player to choose from a variety of different weapon setups. There’s the standard sword and shield then there are combinations which allow single handed weapons to be individually equipped on each hand and each combination of weapons allows for a different finishing move adding variety to the same button combinations.

Combos can be unlocked through the use of victory points that the character gains at the end of each level. As standard the player receives mandatory points for completing each objective and bonus points for doing extra-curricular tasks. A separate point is allocated to the vital mechanics like health bar increases and curse bar increases.
Combos make the world go round!
The swordplay itself is similar to the recent batman games where buttons are dedicated to block, stun, attack and counter, a combo counter tells you how many attacks you link. Also included is a damage monitor on the weapons that measures the condition of said weapon, unfortunately this is only successful in aggravating the player as weapons degrade quickly and arms must be constantly renewed to ensure victory in battle. It also becomes boring after a while as even on the hardest difficulty the mechanics are relatively simple and a rinse & repeat pattern will usually work in most places aside from the occasional boss battle.

The meat of the gameplay and certainly a vital part of the game is found in the co-op modes. Essentially the game is designed to be used with co-op play from its very foundations as there are two protagonists on-screen at all times. Needless to say it is rather disappointing then to find that unless a friend also has the game, or if you have a buddy nearby, chances of finding an online game are slim to none.

As fun as it is to take on the role of a templar during the crusaders it is even cooler to be able to become a demon at anytime you wish and change the world you traverse to a fiery landscape resembling hell on the fly. That’s right, similar to the devil trigger of Devil May Cry, Denz and Esteban can jump into a cursed state at any time which not only changes their appearance but quite literally changes their perspective of the world as well as those you are fighting. Entering the cursed state provides Denz with the ability of faster combos and prolonged endurance however, much like a drug the curse has its side effects. When the meter runs out, Denz has his life slowly drain and this can lead to an untimely death if the player is not careful managing their meter to ensure that it does not deplete.
Is it me or is the room spinning?
Judging from that the game certainly seems alright, with a unique weapon system, two environments that overlap at all times and of course the seemingly endless combos what can possibly go wrong?

Well for this particular title, a lot can. The story seems to lack any consistency and events are told in a timeline view where years are often skipped, it seems to have the rather tedious structure of a history lesson rather than a videogame which unfortunately does not bode well. This is most certainly not helped by the fact that the game is as riddled with bugs as a hobo's mattress. Characters appear in and out of cutscenes at will, which often instantaneously breaks the immersion and honestly makes the game laughable. Of course cutscenes are forgivable, sort of, but the bugs also occur during gameplay on more than one occasion.

The concept of having a world-within-a-world is certainly one that has not been used on many occasions. As you traverse through the world from a normal person’s point of view, a hellish world is also simultaneously running in the background and with can be accessed via the use of cursed mode. This transforms everything in sight including the character models and is well implemented. The normal environments are gritty and dusty as expected from them and detail is not lacking in the textures or the environment itself. Funnily enough the frame rate suffers when the curse is inactive and a lot of activity is on-screen. Somehow though, it seems as if the frame rate increases when cursed mode is active making the player want to remain in the cursed state, if not for the power ups, then certainly for the playability of the game.
Very well detailed!
Character models are well detailed overall but lack emotion and enthusiasm in their actions which is not helped by the dreary voice overs.

The Cursed Crusade is a well thought out concept but its implementation is rather poor. The narrative is linear with no great variety, you will certainly not find any wow moments here, aside from the occasional sarcastic rants from Esteban, the characters are dreary and lack any incentive for the player to relate. And to finalize the game is riddled with bugs so even if you were to find a reason to play it chances are the game will ward you off itself almost as if it doesn’t want to be played.

Story = 6/10
Graphics = 7/10
Gameplay = 4/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 5.6/10

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