Certain Affinity’s fun and polished hack-and-slash action RPG, Crimson Alliance, released on Xbox Live Arcade just a scant few weeks ago. For those who have already bested all challenges the original game had to offer, and are looking for new ways to put their skills to the test (alone or in 4-player co-op), the developer is releasing the first piece of downloadable DLC today, the Vengeance pack.
We got a chance to have an advance go at the new levels and brawl it out with the new adversaries the DLC pack offers. The new maps themselves are just as detailed as before, although they do seem quite a bit shorter. This is made up for to some degree by the intense difficulty, which is enough to give even seasoned mercenaries, mages, and assassins a run for their money. The new maps incorporate a few new ideas, such as the second half of the Inferno stage, which places you in constant peril as a pool of molten lava is constantly rising and threatening to burn you to a cinder unless you flee for higher ground.
Apart from a few new enemy types, such as the lava golems who form from boulders in the environment, the biggest draw of the expansion will likely be the challenge map, Fistful of Coins. Basically an endurance map, where wave after wave of enemies will swarm your hero mercilessly. Each victorious round nets you an increasing amount of gold, and you can keep going as long as you want. However, should you eventually fall to the onslaught of foes, you forfeit all of your winnings up to that point. This map is perfect to take on in co-op mode with several friends, as, even on Normal difficulty, surviving becomes extremely difficult; archers, gunners, and mini-bosses appear in high numbers and make life a living hell fast.
Don’t go into this expansion expecting tons of new content; a grand total of three new maps includes the challenge map and two “normal” levels. Hunting down the two new bosses, the Shadow Ninja and Fire Ninja, is challenging, and there’s a new piece of loot in it for you, but there is no explanation about how these two tie into the existing story in any way, other than a “Wanted” poster on the level select screen. There are no new cutscenes, nor any voice acting to give any semblance of a plot to the new content. Then again, having the band of mercenaries actually BE mercenaries may just be enough. For 240 MSPoints ($4), it may just scratch that multiplayer itch.
If you’re still on the fence about purchasing the full game, check out our full review.