Friday, October 7, 2011

Crimson Alliance Vengeance Pack Review

The folks at Certain Affinity were nice enough to allow us to review the new DLC for Crimson Alliance before it was released to the public. The Vengeance Pack add's two new unique campaign maps, a new weapon for each class, two new achievements and one endless arena challenge map. All of this bundled into a paltry sum of 240 Microsoft Points. I've already played through each level cooperatively and alone, plus I've attempted the challenge map several times. If you have no idea what this game is or what I'm talking about, I refer you to my earlier review of this XBLA exclusive hack and slash role playing game. The Vengeance Pack will be coming out on October 12th, available for download from the marketplace or from the downloadable content option on the main menu .

If you are a fan of the map design and gameplay from the original levels, then prepared to be impressed by the new Vengeance Pack levels. There is only two, but they are both long levels and will last you a hour or so in total, assuming you don't die often and have to restart. The first level starts you out in an snowy fort of some kind, chasing a mysterious woman who looks quite a bit like a ninja. You start out fighting some familiar enemies, but you will immediately notice that there are now blue barrels that freeze enemies when they explode. The ice level is pretty normal compared to the main games levels; you battle through it, finding secrets and running into areas that require you to fight off waves of enemies before moving on. There is nothing wrong with it, it's enjoyable, but it pale's in comparison to the second level. The ice level does add a few new enemies, like flaming hounds. The second level is all about fire. It has you fighting your way through a bubbling volcano, adding a sense of urgency to your every action. Lava is constantly on your tail, hounding you to urgently defeat enemies, while climbing upwards away from the lava. This is also the level that has the hidden weapons for each class, each of which are quite strong and add a new fire blast ability. We also get to see the entirely new enemy in the lava level, the lava monster. They resemble large golems, golems that come flying out of nowhere to land on your or in your path. When they land they are weak, feeble and vulnerable, but if you fail to eliminate them in this form then you have an enemy that will do a massive amounts of damage to you in one hit.

The two levels campaign levels are designed very well. They are also very impressive graphically, I missed a secret or two in the ice level the first time because I was too busy looking at the map. The lava level is the most impressive in every way, gameplay wise and graphically. If you have played the original game you know that some levels have a few stuttering problems, but these two levels ran smoothly, even with gorgeous lava filling the screen. Other than the two campaign levels is a challenge map called Fistful of Coins. If you can guess the name, the purpose of this map is to provide you with a challenging way to continually earn gold. It acts like an arena, giving you progressingly more difficult waves of enemies to fight. This arena has no healing pots, but plenty of explosive barrels at your disposal. So, you must rely on items to heal and aid you. Every time you defeat a wave you have an opportunity to rest or leave. If you die in the arena you will lose all the money you have earned from the level, but if you leave between a wave you get to keep it all. Fistful of Coins is a nice addition to Crimson Alliance, especially since all the campaign levels are linear in design. It adds a way to keep fighting for as long as you are able and in a way that isn't predictable nor easy.

Violent Score: 9 (out of 10) 

If you enjoy Crimson Alliance and want to add a few more levels to the round-up, then the Vengeance Pack is a must buy. It only costs 240 Microsoft points, very cheap for a DLC these days, especially one that adds several maps. The Vengeance Pack will be coming out on October 12th and hopefully we will be seeing some more impressive DLC's from Certain Affinity in the future. Had it been more expensive then it would of been light on content, but the Vengeance Pack add's a big punch for it's price. It's hard to expect more than this from a small DLC like this, it certainly is a good budget addition for fans of the game. Thank you for not overpricing this DLC Certain Affinity.  Be back with more news tomorrow night, thanks for reading and for your support.

-Written By Sean Cargle


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