Sometimes, there is nothing better than grabbing a sword and going on a good old rampage slaughtering everyone in your path, but what’s better than that? Doing it with a friend! The Cursed Crusade allows you to do just this, as you find yourself in the on a mission to venture through the crusades and battle not only your enemies in the real world, but the demons of your nightmares.
Set during the crusade to take the holy city of Jerusalem, you take control of the young knight Denz. On a journey to search for his father, he meets up with a Spaniard Esteban and soon finds out that they share one vital thing in common; they both receive visits from Death in their dreams. Denz promises to find out the reason they are both being hounded by Death providing Esteban helps him reach his father and so begins their epic adventure. You have a choice at the start of the game to either play it solo and have an AI controlled Esteban, or hook up with a friend and work together to accomplish your goals.
The first thing you will notice about The Cursed Crusade is the insane amount of cut scenes you will have to endure before getting to play each mission. You will find yourself playing a mission for around ten to fifteen minutes and then having to sit through a cut scene of around the same length. This could be forgiven if the actual game was fun but sadly it suffers from a lot of problems and although the combat can be interesting at times, it is mostly mind numbingly boring and very repetitive. The first time you pull off a perfect combo on an enemy and finish him off by chopping off his head, you will be amazed, but ten enemies later where the exact same finisher has been executed every single time you will just want them to die rather than having to sit the through the finishing sequence.
With such a variety of weapons, such as two handed swords, dual wielding swords, sword and shield and spear, it will first appear that there are tons of different combos to try out and plenty of finishers, but sadly each weapon set is almost the same as the last. Also, you will probably find yourself using the same weapon throughout the entire game and thus making the choice a little redundant. Every time you kill an enemy they will drop their weapon and this is needed throughout missions as your weapons degrade over time, eventually breaking and becoming useless. Even though you won’t have any problems finding new weapons, finding new enemies to kill is a constant issue and something that seriously hinders the game’s flow. You will find yourself dealing with a group of enemies and then running through a large portion of the mission not finding anyone to kill or anything to interact with, simply making the game boring and uneventful.
Aside from fighting in the real world, you also have the ability to go to the nightmare world, which is basically the real world covered in flames, to complete some optional tasks. In this world you must use your powers to purify the damned and also find other routes through the missions as well as other similar tasks that earn you victory points to spend on improving weapon combos and your character’s stats. These stats range from improvements to your characters attack power, defence, combo efficiency and how long you can spend time in the nightmare world. By completing each mission perfectly and finding all the collectables and finishing all the minor tasks you can eventually max out all of your stats and gain all the combos for your weapons but as previously stated, this isn’t necessary to complete the hardest difficulty.
If the game didn’t already suffer enough from problems during the missions, it also has poor loading times which make the wait between fights even worse and in the nightmare world has some awkward frame rate issues. This is a shame since fighting in the nightmare world was one of the more entertaining things in the game and to have that spoilt by frame rate issues is a real shame. Another strange problem that came up was every time the game was booted up, all the game’s sound levels were set to zero and required you to go to the options menu and set them back to their defaults. Not a game breaking problem but a little frustrating to have to do this every time you start the game.
The Cursed Crusade has the founding for a really fun game but falls short in almost every aspect. Even playing co-op mode, the game doesn’t really change much from the solo experience and with so many problems outside the gameplay, it’s not very enjoyable. Sadly, I say this is one to miss especially as there are plenty of titles out there to keep you busy until the end of the year.