If you've ever heard of Koei, most likely you will know them because of the DYNASTY WARRIORS series. But, Koei has decided to take a walk on the wild side with its newest game entitled CRIMSON SEA, an action-adventure RPG that takes place in space (which is different because most of Koei's games take place in ancient China).
CRIMSON SEA places you in the role of Sho, head of the G-Squad, an elite group of agents that are attempting to keep the galaxy from being destroyed by an alien force. While the story sounds old and done-to-death, there are more than a few plot twists that will keep you second guessing.
While CRIMSON SEA is considered an RPG, the game's play physics are a little out of the ordinary. You would think that the game, being somewhat of a third-person 3D shooter would control something like DYNASTY WARRIORS, but the game really controls a lot like the RESIDENT EVIL series. It certainly isn't the control scheme I would've used for a game with as much action as this, but it kind of works. The controls are clunky, and the worst part is that you can't change the control scheme to something you feel more comfortable to. The controls will really irritate most gamers at first, but if you actually stick with it, the controls will feel more familiar after a while.
You can tell that DYNASTY WARRIORS was an obvious influence for this game because of the amount of enemies in each level. Some levels will have you destroying literally hundreds of enemies to progress on. Sometimes when fighting, you will have computer-controlled characters helping you. Of course, the RPG elements of gaining experience and using items are there too (in case you were thinking this sounds like a straight action game). With the loads of enemies you must fight, Koei made it where you won't be hurt by enemies unless they actually hit you (as in some games, if an enemy touches you, you take damage). If this wasn't so, this game would literally be impossible to complete.
I don't have too many complaints about the music, as Koei once again inserts the guitar rock into their games. But with this, they've also added some orchestrated songs too which really adds to the atmosphere of the game. It's a shame that Koei has yet to understand that they should hire professional voice actors for their games. While not as bad as the DYNASTY WARRIORS series, the voice acting is still not very good, and while it is bearable, some characters will actually make you want to hit that mute button.
To be honest, CRIMSON SEA is one of the better looking Xbox games currently released. The game seems to borrow elements from a lot of other games, including DYNASTY WARRIORS, FINAL FANTASY, and even PHANTASY STAR ONLINE for character and level designs. During battles, even with the hundreds of enemies onscreen at one time, you won't see much of a slowdown. The cut-scenes are beautiful, and while the character models are excellent, you can't help but to wish your character was just a bit bigger (as to not lose track of him while the chaos around you ensues).
Considering CRIMSON SEA is a very atypical game for Koei, it turned out pretty well. The game is long enough for RPG buffs to get into, and the game provides enough action for those that aren't really interested in RPGS.