Today’s topic : Crimson Sea.
The Crimson Sea series was developed, produced and published by KOEI. The first game came out in 2002 for the XBOX and the second came out in 2004…for the Playstation 2. Yeah…weird move there KOEI.
Phantasy Star Universe…KOEI style!
Welcome to the world of Crimson Sea, over at the neighbouring star system Theophilus, home of many planets that humans now have colonized but, many planets of the system are classified as “dangerous zones” like the mysterious Crimson Planet, home of the Crimson Sea. Here, technology seems like something out of a space opera or a sci-fi series, mostly giving a hard, japanese feel of a space opera, with a slew of new kinds of jobs to fill and problems that humanity has to overcome as well as a new frontier to explore. One of the new jobs that takes the spotlight : Archeomusilogist, archaeologists that use sound as a means of discovering relics. A new frontier that’s fascinating : Neo-Psionics.
Meet Sho, the protagonist of of the games and one of the two main characters.
The player gets to play as Sho, originally a space detective…now a high-ranking member, a squad leader of an organization called IAG(Intelligence Agency of the Galaxy) against his will but it matters little, because currently the threat of an impending doom of humanity is about to become a reality. Around that star system exist dangerous creatures known as Muttons that threaten the existence of life around these parts and only a select few can combat them effectively, like Sho with his special abilities. Sho’s special abilities stem from the fact that he is a Vipa, a “superhuman” that has a limited form of psionic powers and abilities called Neo-Psionincs in the game’s universe, gaining them from an experiment that happened during his youth, a tragic event. Not only that, he is a pretty capable fighter with a gun and a sort of light-based weapon, be it a light-saber or a light-spear.
Crimson Sea series = Phantasy Star Series…as a Hack’n’Slash & Run’n’Gun!AT the same time! 😉
All those headlines comparing it to the Phantasy Star series and Phantasy Star Universe sub-series but, it has a Hack’n’Slash mixed with Run’n’Gun gameplay…I wasn’t kidding about all that. Hack’n’Slash comes with the melee weapons and there are some combos that are worthwhile the title while the Run’n’Gun element comes with how powerful the guns are, almost as powerful as the melee weapons something that should not be in the case in the Hack’n’Slash genre, like with the Devil May Cry series. Instead it mixes the melee gameplay of the Warriors series that KOEI make with some tweaks here and there to make it more combo-worthy and stylish with powerful gunplay, found only on old high-octane games like Alien Soldier and Gunstar Heroes resulting in three different styles of gameplay : pure melee, pure gunplay which seems to be popular because it can hold high scores and high combo counts with little matter on how stylish the gameplay was, compared to how the Devil May Cry series play or, finally, mix both together to form new strings of combos and create new free flowing combos to be fully effective and really stylish(and very enjoyable),even if anyone can get by just by gunning everything down. The Neo-Psionics are like special attacks, nothing really special considering they can be compared to every special attack ever or the Musou attacks from the Warriors series.
Sequel hook you say? Why, what gave you THAT idea?
So…yeah, the first kinda had a sequel hook and it paid of in the second. The story continues where it left off and a new character joins the story and the game’s playable characters, a girl aspiring to become an archeomusiologist[really, she is kind of an unofficial one with no formal training…like a geek “unofficially” getting his or her dream job] named Feanay. The story pretty much concludes in this one, but given how Phantasy Star-ish the series has become in just two games, the series could continue with it being just Sho and Feenay’s space detective-like adventures and it would work.
Bigger, Faster…Better than ever!
If KOEI is known for something, is a form of sequel stagnation, keeping their games formula the same but just have enough additions, rebalancing and tweaks to guarantee a sequel, but just barely. It’s kinda like the Megaman series, unless it changes entirely[the jump from the original to X, from X to Zero and finally from Zero to ZX] or sometimes make stupid nerfs and unnecessary changes to the game, resulting in an unfortunate case of wrongs tweaks…like with Shin Hokuto Musou / Fist of the North Star 2 : Ken’s Rage. This game, breaks this “tradition” of KOEI and went full blown sequel making it have a gap almost as big as DMC3 and DMC4 in changes while still keeping the atmosphere and style of it. Everything is great in the sequel and it’s done really surprisingly well done, even the newest additions don’t even break the game instead giving more depth to the gameplay. Not only that, the ideas that stem from the additions and balancing in this game open even more chances for more sequels to happen. Even additions like the Time Extend mechanism are great in this one. The greatest thing is how the two characters are handled, playing differently and the open possibilities for a third game are great considering the arsenal in the Crimson Sea universe and how they could fit with Sho and Feanay and how much different their Neo-Psionic attacks and Overdrives can get.
While this is one of KOEI’s franchises and people might be afraid that this might be like their Warriors series, it’s not. It’s so not like their Warriors, this can easily be the Devil May Cry of KOEI or if they up the difficulty they can make it the Ninja Gaiden of…their KOEI side now…I guess they don’t need another Ninja Gaiden since they are KOEI TECMO now…but my point still stands, this could be the Stylish Action series of KOEI and done in this glorious Phantasy Star motif makes it even more desirable.