The demo of Crimson Dragon, the “spiritual successor” to Sega’s Panzer Dragoon series that’s being created by many of the people who worked on the classic Sega Saturn games, was finally released on the Japanese Xbox Live Arcade last night, but the demo was then strangely pulled off the service without any warning. Luckily, a few Japanese Xbox owners managed to download the demo before it was taken down, and they’ve uploaded footage of the game onto Youtube for everyone to see.
As expected, the game looks and plays very much like the old Panzer Dragoon games, albeit with one big difference: Crimson Dragon is controlled entirely via Kinect gestures. Attacks are done by sweeping your hand over enemies a-la Child of Eden, while your dragon is controlled by pivoting your waist. As expected from a game made by the Panzer Dragoon team, Crimson Dragon is very pretty, and I think it’s safe to say that when it’s released, CD will be the best looking download-only 360 game available.
With that said, I’m still not entirely sold on Crimson Dragon: I love Panzer Dragoon, and unlike most gamers I don’t necessarily hate motion controls, but Crimson Dragon’s gestures just make it look like it would be extremely awkward to play: the hula-hoop like gyrations you need to steer your dragon guarantee that I won’t be playing this game in front of other people, at least. Of course, if the actual game is still good I’ll suffer through a couple embarrassing motion-controlled gestures to play it (see also: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword,) but I still wish the game’s developers would’ve at least made traditional button-based controls an option with this game.
Crimson Dragon still doesn’t have a concrete release date: the game was originally scheduled to hit XBLA sometime last summer, but ever since it slipped past its original launch date, both Microsoft and the game’s developers have been hesitant to give us an estimate of when we can expect to play the final version of the game.