Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge Xbox
by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Fasa Studio
Released: Out Now
It's been a couple of years now since the original Crimson Skies game arrived on PC. In case you don't know about the game it was an aircraft combat game. It wasn't a simulation and was more arcade in style and handling, but best of all it was very addictive and hugely enjoyable. Dogfighting had never been as much fun before. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge sees the series arrive on Xbox and brings with it Xbox Live support.
The game places you in the role of Nathan Zachary and is situated in America. However it's not the America as we know it. The individual states have all broken away and it's split into regional nation-states. Each of these states have formed their own militia and their primary weapons and mode of transport are bizarre aircraft and zeppelins (called zeps). Of course with all activity taking place in the air you also have air pirates who are out to loot as much as they can from the rich who are flying around. Nathan Zachary is one of these pirates.
Throughout the game you'll fly to various locations and there will be a certain amount of missions to perform. As you'll fly around you'll see icons that if you fly near enough will change to an X. Pressing the X button will activate the mission. Regardless of the mission in question you'll almost always have to take out enemies (which are highlighted with red brackets) and the battles can be extremely frantic but are always enjoyable. Completing a mission will earn you money and there is always the chance to gamble for extra money if you so wish. Your aircraft can take damage but fortunately for a small price you can always visit a service station to restore your aircrafts health. You'll also get the chance to gain new aircraft and upgrade your existing ones as you progress through the game. The aircraft are divided up into three main categories, dogfighters, interceptors and zep-killers. You can change aircraft at any time by returning to your base, the zep called the Pandora, and choosing an alternate aircraft.
Multiplayer fans will be very impressed with what's on offer in Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. You can have a four player split screen, system link and Xbox Live game for up to 16 players. There are a plethora of game types to choose from including Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Flag Heist (a variant of capture the flag), Keep Away and Team Accumulate. There are various maps to play on too but some are more suited to certain game types than others. Best of all though the Xbox Live games are lag free even with a multitude of enemies which is very impressive to say the least.
Graphically Crimson Skies looks gorgeous. All of the aircraft look brilliant but it's the scenery in Crimson Skies that takes top marks because it's stunning. The water effects are probably the best seen in any console game to date. Fly down low to the water and you'll see droplets of water, which look completely realistic, flick up on to your screen. The explosions, particularly of the Zeps in the game, look superb. Despite the frenzied dogfighting action the framerate only dips slightly on the odd occasion. There is even some impressive use of motion blur as you hit the boost button. Fasa Studio have really got a hell of a lot out of the Xbox because it looks fantastic and performs wonderfully.
If Crimson Skies has a flaw it's that it's not completely deaf gamer friendly. The cutscenes and introduction are not subtitled. The comments from Nathan and other characters during the game are not subtitled either. This would seem as though it's impossible for deaf gamers but fortunately all of your mission briefings, objectives and tutorial messages are shown in text. You can recall your objectives at anytime by pressing the start button. There is the odd occasion when you'll be unsure what to do such as when one of your friends has told you to return to the Pandora. It's not a major problem but had the game been fully subtitled it would have been avoided. The game manual does a good job of giving you background on the characters in the game and informs you of all you need to know about the controls and different types of aircraft.
For Deaf Gamers Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is made up of two very different experiences. The single player game is good but not as excellent as it would be for a hearing gamer because you'll missing out on the plot and the banter between the characters. The Xbox Live experience however is something else and nigh on perfect for those looking for some online dogfighting. There are plenty of solo games as well as team games (which could prove awkward as some players may want to use vocal communication for orders etc.). In short if you enjoy dogfighting action and don't mind missing out on the plot then this is highly recommended.
Game Rating: 7.2/10 (single player) 9.0/10 (Xbox Live)
The single player game suffers from not being fully subtitled but you can play through without any major problems and it's worth doing so. Using Xbox Live is more enjoyable though and for fans of dogfighting action it doesn't get any better than this on any console.
It's a big shame that the single player game isn't fully subtitled but it's still possible to play through and enjoy the single player game.