I have been interested in The Cursed Crusade for a while now, I enjoyed the demo but then reviews began coming out and were trashing the game pretty good so I wavered a bit on picking it up or not, however I had a 20 dollar gift card so I figured it would only set me back 20 bones so why not?
The Cursed Crusade is obviously not a AAA title as evidenced by it's small unknown development team and it's starting price of only 39.99 however while playing the game you can tell that the devs really did care about the game and did the absolute best they could with what they had. For starters the graphics are a mixed bag, they range from ugly to generic to decent to good to pretty darn cool looking (the cursed world). One thing that always looks quite good are the main character models, both Denz and Esteban look good and have some really nice animations.
Voice acting is again a mixed bag, the voice actors are at least trying, some are bad and some are decent and I would say that the decent outways the bad so the voice acting has not been a distraction for me. Its a good thing to that the voice acting is passable since there is a lot of it. The game contains a lot of cutscenes but the story has kept me interested thus far. The music score has been quite good and appropriate for the game.
Now on to the most important part of a game, the gameplay, a game can be the best looking and best sounding game ever but if the actual gameplay is a broken mess then whats the point? Cursed Crusade is a solid hack and slash game but its combat has more in common with Assassains Creed than God of War, its slow and methodical, lower end enemies can be dispatched with a few quick hits but higher end enemies will reguire you to parry and break their guard while other enemies will be heavily armored requiring you to break their armor before you can do any damage to them at all. Your weapons take damage as well and will eventually break and they actually degrade very quickly however you can pick up the weapons of vanquished enemies so there is never any lack of new weapons to pick up and holy cow are there a lot of different weapons and ways to combine them!
You can wield 2H swords, 1H swords, maces, spears, shields, crossbows, ect. and then you can combine them in many different ways like sword/shield, spear/shield, dual wield swords or maces or one of each and then every combination has several differnt combo moves that can be unlocked by upgrading using victory points that you earn at the end of each stage. You get graded at the end of each level and depending on how you did and how many collectibles you picked up you are awarded victory points to upgrade your character adding some rpg elements to the game, you can increase the usual suspects like strength and constitution but you can also upgrade your armor as well which adds another piece to your armor that an enemy must break before they can actually start damaging you and you can increase your curse mastery which I will touch on now.
The last and highly important gameplay element is the curse, Denz and Esteban and several other characters in the game are cursed which alows them to enter a cursed state which changes them and the world around them into a demonic flame engulfed realm. In this state you move and attack fatser and hit harder, you also gain access to curse powers like shooting fireballs, healing, seeing things that can't be seen in the normal world like lost souls and crucifixes that need purifying 2 of the things you need to find in stages to increase your victory points and the ability to destroy things that a normal person in the normal world would be unable to. The curse is the coolest part of the game, it looks fantastic and is a lot of fun to destroy guys however you obviously can't stay in cursed form forever, if you stay to long it will begin to consume your health and eventually kill you so you have to use it cautiously.
The Cursed Crusade really is a solid game, its disapointing that so many profesional reviews have pretty much dismissed it with a few sentences stating its crap when there is really so much to the game but its also understandable that with so many AAA games out right now they wouldn't want to devote much time to this diamond in the rough. So if you are interested in it, played the demo and enjoyed it then don't let the reviews scare you away, I only paid 20 bucks for it but would still have been happy if I spent the whole 40.