Preview: We have a certain affinity for Crimson Alliance

June 25, 2011

Okay, okay, we have a thing for the groan-worthy headline. But when we got our hands on dungeon-crawling game Crimson Alliance, created by map-pack devs Certain Affinity, we couldn’t help but develop a particular fondness for its style and gameplay.

It feels like just a few months ago we were bemoaning the loss of the co-op action-RPG, but those times are gone. Crimson Alliance is riding a wave of new hack-and-slashers looking to bring back the formula executed so well in the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games last console generation. Luckily, it’s not a carbon-copy, and it’s not overlapping efforts like Dungeon Siege III. How? Crimson takes a much more arcade-like approach, with a few more nods to the action-y Gauntlet formula. There are lots of exploding barrels, creepy-looking goblins and an exaggerated visual style that make you just want to kill and loot things and care less about wanting moral dilemmas and character development.

There are three classes available: Mercenary, Assassin and Wizard. As we tend to do, we picked a wizard for the demo, but we got a decent look at where each class is stronger. In a four-player game, it’s disappointing to see only three classes, as that overlap doesn’t make for as fun an experience. There are times when each class shines; having three classes makes half the players split their time in the limelight. Certain Affinity is doing what it can, though, to make each class distinct and molded in a careful way. (There are also secret areas accessible by only one class, so this encourages a diverse team.)

Crimson Alliance should be out any day now, really, on Xbox Live Arcade. We’ll let you know how the full version fares.