Crimson Alliance Review

Doing Torchlight better than Torchlight did.

The newest game from Certain Affinity, Crimson Alliance, burst onto the scene today. This new game was originally displayed as being a bonus for purchasing all of the Summer of Arcade. While the fact that the game was included as a bonus may make some gamers think that the game is bad, that could not be farther from the truth.

In Crimson Alliance, you have the choice to play as either a Wizard, an Assassin or a Mercenary on their quest to regain the fallen city of Byzan. When making a character you can also view more into the story, specifically why that character is there. When you create your character you are able to choose what color their clothes are and their name, both of which can be changed at anytime by returning to the main menu and looking through your created characters. Regardless of which hero you choose you will see the same cutscenes that include all of them. The aforementioned cutscenes are all made up of very beautifully painted art but with the characters having a voiceover during the scenes.

The combat itself is very interesting. Depending on which character you choose, your attacks are completely different. The Assassin attacks with quick movements that allow you to run in, slash and get out of there quickly. The Mercenary is much like a tank. His attacks range from sword swings to shield bashing. The Wizard attacks, of course, with magic and is meant to take up the rear with his devastating fireballs.

Along with the different attacks styles, weapons and armor vary as well. The Assassin uses a combo of blade and dagger to tear up her opponents and uses very loose, rouge like clothing. The Mercenary uses a giant sword to decimate his enemies and a huge shield to bash the monsters to the ground. He also wears giant, knight like armor but not a helmet.The Wizard uses a staff, like most wizards do, to boost his magic. Along with the staff, the Wizard also uses orbs to aid him, including a hilarious orb that turns enemies into boxes that is shaped, naturally, like a flying crate. The Wizard uses a robe to boost his overall stats.

Crimson Alliance is playable both offline and online in up to 4 player co-op. The online is flawless with virtually no lag at all. The only real problem in the online is that there will be at least 2 players using the same character. On a positive note, however, gold that is collected is collected by everyone so that no one can steal all of the loot but is not spent collectively. To prevent hoarding of equipment even more, every character gets specific chests for them that only they can open. There are also puzzles scattered across the game, some of which require at least 2 people to complete.

Every map, other than boss and challenge maps, contain secret areas with loot and gold. Along with secret areas, spread throughout the levels are hidden rooms that can only be opened by certain classes that contain pretty good equipment. Along with those perks to the design of the levels is how the game handles your character being behind walls. When your character is not directly visible the game will show a shadow of your character where they are in the main color that you chose. Also, if you are playing in multiplayer and someone tries to run off, the game will teleport them back to the group instead of letting them hit an invisible wall or run offscreen.

The challenge maps mentioned above are extremely fun. They are not only, as the name suggests, challenging but they also give really good loot after you beat them. Along with items, they are also fantastic for gold. If you are too lazy to grind out the gold though, you can also purchase 40,000 gold at any shop for just 80 MSP ($1). While this is very helpful, it is easy to get addicted to buying gold for new weapons and armor. Also, a lot of the armor and weapons in the game will cosmetically change what your weapons/armor look like which is always a plus. Even with the weapons and armor changing the aesthetics of you character, the customization isn’t deep enough for a good handful of players and there is no leveling system.

Crimson Alliance stays fresh because of the 5 different difficulties that are available to play. The difficulties are Easy, Normal, Hard, Impossible and RIDONKULOUS! Normal is easy enough to play through the game without much trouble and Hard puts it up just enough. Impossible is almost like it sounds but is able to be beaten and RIDONKULOUS! is just suicide unless you have amazing equipment and a team of at least 3 players.

The visuals in the game are absolutely beautiful with no real flaws to be mentioned. The framerate is perfect with no issues and different items on the field, like barrels and jars, explode or release chemicals to poison the enemy when attacked. This game is done very masterfully and will keep you captivated the entire time. The audio is also just breathtaking when it can be heard. During cutscenes it is great but during gameplay itself it is very subtle unless manually made to be louder than the sound effects.

Crimson Alliance is available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace (800 MSP for 1 character or 1200 MSP for all 3) and is well worth the full purchase. Future DLC is hoped for because the game, while it doesn’t get old very fast, could be even better with some add-ons. The game itself took me around 9 hours to complete on Normal but I plan on logging in many more hours into this instant classic. The game is recommend to pretty much anyone and is easily one of the best digital games this year.


  • Very high replayability that is always fun
  • Up to 4 player online co-op
  • Next to no glitches in the title, at least none that are noticeable.


  • Only 3 character but up to 4 player co-op
  • Some puzzles are not able to be completed unless there are 2 people or more
  • Customization is there but is not as in depth as some would like

Score: 4/5

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About Nick Gearhart

Nick is the Co-Owner of Empty Life Bar and a former writer for Game Play Today. Nick can never say no to the challenge of a newly released JRPG. No matter the quality he'll trudge through it. Twitter: