Crimson Shroud has so much love, care, and attention injected into it that it actually feels wrong to have to criticise it.
The tabletop-styled RPG is part of Level-5's Guild01 Nintendo 3DS series, and was designed by Yasumi Matsuno, the man behind incredible Japanese titles like Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII.
Matsuno's love for his craft shines through in Crimson Shroud, although we found ourselves enjoying the game's ambience, storytelling, and general style far more than the actual gameplay.A strong shade of winning
In Crimson Shroud you play as a Chaser, taking on contracts to find people for cash, treasure, and the joy of exploring the world.
The game is styled like a classic tabletop game - so much so, in fact, that the characters are all static statues stuck in square bases, and the environments look very much like your average Warhammer setup.
It's a really exciting idea that provides a unique gaming experience - especially when coupled with realistic dice throws (you grab dice and lob them with your stylus to affect decisions.)
There's huge attention to detail to go alongside this lovingly crafted style, too. You don't level-up your characters, for example, but instead collect better and better equipment for boosting their stats. On top of that, you can use dice during combat to knock your stats up.
Topping this burst of style off are reams of great storytelling. Crimson Shroud has a huge focus on story and setting - even more so than gameplay - and if you're a fan of really engaging with a title you'll no doubt enjoy this.Shrouded
This point, however, will be a double-edged sword for many gamers. See, if you're not really into story and the tabletop setting, then Crimson Shroud might not do anything for you at all.
That's because the actual turn-based battling isn't really anything extraordinary. After a short while it begins to feel rather dull and lifeless - especially given that the only animations you're offered are statues flicking backward and forwards, and toppling over when they die.
The map exploration is also very story-heavy, and focused on reading rather than acting. Again, worth considering if you're rather be hitting things than reading a novel.
But whether you're into the game or not, it's impossible to deny that Crimson Shroud is teeming with love. This is very obviously a project that someone really put a huge amount of work into.
If you're into your story-driven RPGs, or love cracking out the tabletop games every now and again, Crimson Shroud will sit well in your video game collection. Anyone else should watch some YouTube clips before deciding whether to delve in.