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Crimson Dragon is a rail shooter video game for the Xbox One. The game is seen as a spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon series, not only because of its similar gameplay but also because of its returning staff; creator Yukio Futatsugi was the director of the first three Panzer Dragoon games, and composer Saori Kobayashi also co-scored Panzer Dragoon Saga and Orta. A spin-off adaptation titled Crimson Dragon: Side Story was released on September 12, 2012 for Windows Phone.[2]

Crimson Dragon
Crimson Dragon cover.png
Developer(s)Grounding Inc
Publisher(s)Microsoft Studios
Director(s)Yukio Futatsugi
Designer(s)Tomohiro Kondō
Programmer(s)Hitoshi Nakanishi
Artist(s)Manabu Kusonogi
Writer(s)Tadashi Ihoroi
Composer(s)Saori Kobayashi
Jeremy Garren
EngineUnreal Engine 3
Platform(s)Xbox One
  • WW: November 22, 2013
  • JP: September 4, 2014
Genre(s)Rail shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer[1]

The unreleased Xbox 360 version of Crimson Dragon originally required the Kinect sensor to play; however the released Xbox One version controls using the gamepad using a dual analog set up. The game features six types of dragons, over 100 skills, and three-player online co-op.[3] Dragons can be leveled up by feeding them food earned during missions.[4]


Crimson Dragon takes place on a recently colonized planet inhabited by dragons, which humans have since become able to ride and control.[1]


The game was first unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show under the working title Project Draco and was going to be released for the Xbox 360. In February 2012, the game's final name was revealed to be Crimson Dragon.[3][5]

Shortly before the game's original Japanese release date of June 13, the game was suddenly delayed to an unspecified time. Microsoft issued an apologetic press release, but gave no reason for the delay.[6]

The game reappeared at E3 2013, now planned as a launch title on the Xbox 360's successor, the Xbox One.

In the months of August through October 2014, Crimson Dragon has been made available for free through Microsoft's Games with Gold program. Thus far, it retains a record of being on the program for the longest of any game title for either the Xbox One and Xbox 360.


Aggregate scores
Review scores
Game Informer6/10[11]
Hardcore Gamer3.5/5[12]

Crimson Dragon received mixed reviews from critics. It has an aggregate score of 56.11% on GameRankings[7] and 55/100 on Metacritic.[8]

Destructoid's Chris Carter voiced criticism over the title's use of microtransactions before pointing out that a similar system was used in BioWare's Mass Effect 3, commenting "I don't like that this system is in place in the slightest, but I never once felt like I had to pay money. Instead, I was inspired to level up my dragons through normal gameplay, and simply improve my skills."[9]

Edge's review noted that the game was "most absorbing when it's not hard" and that there was "...a sense of satisfying caretaking to easier levels, and the constant stream of instant rewards for playing well is more gratifying than it should be." However, they also go on criticize the title's "heavy handling" and "poor communication" along with its use of microtransactions.[10]

Game Informer's Ben Reeves excoriated the "last-gen" visuals, "unremarkable" music, "tired and repetitive" level design, "sluggish" controls, and new features that "do little to change up the gameplay": "I loved the original Panzer Dragoon games, so just to make sure I wasn't misremembering the quality of the series I went back and sampled the library. I had more fun playing the first levels of Sega's old shooters than I did with my entire time with Crimson Dragon....It doesn't hold a candle to its precursors that came out decades ago."[11]

VentureBeat's McKinley Noble gave Crimson Dragon a low 35 out of 100 score, criticizing the game's "boring, repetitive missions" and "flat, impersonal story," stating that it felt nothing like the director's previous Panzer Dragoon efforts. Noble also blamed Microsoft's push to move Crimson Dragon from a 2012 Xbox 360 release to an Xbox One launch title, noting that "the final product is a rushed, homogenized mess of a game that fails to live up to its loosely associated pedigree."[13]

Hardcore Gamer's Jeremy Peeples was slightly more positive, giving Crimson Dragon 3.5 out of 5, praising the visuals and "epic soundtrack," but criticizing the gameplay saying that "the iffy camera and bumpers can make fights tougher than they should be and no amount of power-ups and difficulty setting changes can make up for the flaws of the gameplay."[12]


  1. ^ a b Brian Ashcraft. "This Isn't Your Father's Panzer Dragoon". Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  2. ^ "Crimson Dragon Side Side Story For Windows Phone Launching September 12th!". Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Mitch Dyer. "Project Draco Becomes Crimson Dragon". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  4. ^ 1UP Staff. "TGS: Project Draco Looks a Lot like "Panzer Dragoon Kinect"". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  5. ^ Ben Gilbert. "Crimson Dragon is Project Draco's final name, game still gorgeous". Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  6. ^ Anoop Gantayat. "Kinect Exclusive Crimson Dragon Delayed". Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Crimson Dragon for Xbox One". GameRankings. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Crimson Dragon for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Carter, Chris (November 18, 2013). "Review: Crimson Dragon". Destructoid. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Staff, Edge (November 18, 2013). "Crimson Dragon review". Edge. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Reeves, Ben (November 18, 2013). "A Spiritual Successor Derailing Its Own Fun - Crimson Dragon". Game Informer. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Peeples, Jeremy (26 November 2013). "Review: Crimson Dragon". Hardcore Gamer. Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  13. ^ a b Noble, McKinley (November 18, 2013). "Crimson Dragon review". VentureBeat. Retrieved November 18, 2013.

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