Crimson Alliance: Vengeance DLC

crimson_alliance_box
9 Overall Score

Written by on November 2, 2011 in [, , , , , , , ]

 

Certain Affinity continues to test the waters for alternative cost structures with their first DLC pack.  At a cost of only 240 Microsoft Points this pack gives the player two additional campaign levels, a new challenge level, and three new achievements totaling 50G.  Additional equipment for each class is also included.  The original game is like comfort food for my hack and slash action gaming soul.  Is this DLC a welcome addition or an awkward money-suck?  After playing through these new areas and the challenge I have to say that this is quite a bargain for the amount of gameplay this pack adds to the game.

New levels are no mere reworked levels from before.  They are intense areas filled with many challenging mini-boss fights.  These new areas will truly test the player’s abilities and class mastery. I highly recommend completing the original levels and gaining powerful gear before attempting the new levels.  I will warn you that there is no new story progression. The new levels allow the player to finally face those nasty ninjas that taunted them in the original game.  The first level, Dead Among Us, culminates in a battle with the Shadow Ninja, or as I like to call her ‘the blue one’.  The second level, Inferno, is next to impossible to finish without a co-op partner or three and finishes with a face-off with the Fire Ninja (the red one).  The Vengeance pack levels are chuck full of short areas connecting many mini-boss fight rooms.  Each mini-boss fight and boss fight consists of four to five rounds of increasingly difficult battles.  The original levels only had two to three of these areas but the new levels a crammed with at least twice that many challenging rooms.

The first new level is fairly painless to progress through alone.  The fights are challenging but not ridiculous.  The player faces off with more extreme versions of enemies found in the original game.  They are tougher and more plentiful.  With craftier enemies come a few new weapons at the player’s disposal. The first new weapon the player encounters is the blue freezing barrels that can be thrown at the enemies.  This is a handy way to stop the advancing hordes temporarily allowing the player a bit of breathing room to blast them away.    The player will also gain a class-specific weapon in the second new level if they find their class’ secrets area.  The final battle with the Shadow Ninja forces the player to blast waves of enemies while attempting to whittle down the hit points of the ninja.  She is fairly wily and projects several shadowy images of herself around the arena that attack mercilessly.  She is very fast and sneaks up on the player and can quickly disappear into the shadows.  The player needs to stun and bombard the ninja to win the day.

 

The Inferno level starts out similar to the first.  The player may mistake this for more of the same but I quickly learned that this was not a mere regurgitation.  The difficulty is made even more difficult by the lack of those glorious yellow treasure chests that hold additional power ups.  The player should stock up on as many power ups from the weapons and armor shops as they can carry previous to entering this level.  I also recommend saving as many of these power ups as possible until the end of this level.  I attempted to complete this level MANY times and realized the only way I would be able to complete it would be with a buddy.  The end of this level consists of a room filled with stairs which is quickly being engulfed with a rising flood of lava.  This requires the player to race up the stairs while taking out as many enemies as possible.  The stairway is extremely restrictive and the number of enemies makes it extremely difficult to move.  The fact that the player must kill every enemy to open the door to the next area makes the battle even more difficult. Giant lava titans block progress up the stairs at several points along the way and make progress even more difficult.   Racing up the stairs and avoiding the enemies seems like a good plan until you reach the top and are mobbed by countless enemies as the lave consumes all.  The player must find a balance of killing and climbing the stairs.

This balance, however, does not end the challenge of this level.  The lava continues to rise into the next area where the players must frantically activate a series of switches to get through to the next area.  This is made more difficult by the enemies crowding the tight hallways that the players must maneuver through. The player progresses through the level until they meet up with the Fire Ninja.  This arena is flooded with lava at times to restrict movement of the players and forces the player to remain aware of the dangers of the environment as well as the enemies that they face.  Completing this level is extremely satisfying and had my heart racing.  I felt like I was truly tested on the skills I had acquired throughout every previous level.

The new challenge area, “A Fistful of Coins”, has a clever new challenge to it.  The player can face increasingly difficult rounds.  After each successfully completes round the player has the opportunity to decide whether to keep the gold they won or go on to the next level.  If the player wins the next level they double their money, lose the round and the player loses all of the money won in the challenge level.  This challenge area adds quite a bit of replay-ability to the game.  The arena is large and the enemies provide a good challenge for the player.

I will mention there is concern I both I had for the game.  Some of the weapons were not proc’ing during gameplay.  I wanted to witness exciting options such as stunning enemies and a potential raining of firebolts when using the high level equipment.  Developers were quick to respond stating that they were aware of the problem and hope to patch a solution in the near future.  I can’t wait because I want to see my weapon send out a wicked storm of firebolts.

To sum up, this extremely affordable DLC is a great bargain.  The new levels provide an extreme challenge and allow the player to finally beat down the Ninjas that evaded them in the original game.  The new levels also reinforce the need for co-op play.  It is a wonderful excuse to gather friends to face off against ultimate evil.  The challenge level is fun and allows the player to use their skills to win a boat load of gold.  For any who enjoyed the original game or any new players that love the classic hack and slash action I highly recommend this game and this new DLC.

A download code for Crimson Alliance:  Vengeance was provided to TMG for the purpose of evaluation and review.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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