By Quentin H. / April 5th, 2019
Publisher(s): Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment (ID@Xbox title)
Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
Release Date(s): 2019 (Consoles), Now (PC)
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CrossCode is an SNES-style 2D action RPG that draws clear inspiration from Secret of Mana and The Legend of Zelda with its gameplay that is set in the world of a fictional MMORPG called CrossWorlds. You play as Lea, who quickly loses her memory fairly early on in the game and becomes mute. As Lea plays through the MMORPG to recover her memory, she meets both NPCs and other real players while simultaneously uncovering the mysteries of CrossWorlds.
In my hands-on demo of this ID@Xbox title at GDC, 2019, I was able to first explore some of the early stages of CrossCode and then I jumped ahead a few hours into the storyline so I could see the combat in earnest. The most immediate thing anyone will notice about CrossCode is that it is simply a beautiful pixel art game to look at. Everything – from the character sprites to the backgrounds to the character stills that pop up for dialogue- are extremely detailed and colorful in a way that really explains the seven years in development that it took to get CrossCode first released on PC. The dialogue is spot-on as well. Even though the only story section I was able to play was the beginning of the game up through Lea’s training course (aka gameplay tutorial), the dialogue between characters really reminded me of my SNES RPGs of yesteryear in syntax and emotions as Lea grappled with discovering she cannot speak and having to get used to where she is in CrossWorlds.
The combat in CrossCode is amazing to play through. You are armed with a melee weapon, and you attack with that. Where CrossCode differentiates itself from other SNES-inspired action RPGs though is that Lea is also armed with a ranged weapon with shots that ricochet around the area. What this means is that when I was playing in the second area, I would often shoot enemies strategically at ricochet angles in order to kill them, or I would combine shooting and meleeing with my dash ability to kill them before I can be attacked. Combat goes extremely fast in CrossCode as a result, and you cannot just mow your way through enemies in order to win. Thankfully, Lea also gets two additional people (other MMO players) to assist her out of a possible seven total party members. All of this ensures that Lea does not need to be a one-woman wrecking party while she explores everything there is to offer in CrossCode.
The only regret that I have with CrossCode was that I could not spend more time playing this 80-plus hour adventure and that I couldn’t explore the world in full. This game, from its aesthetics to its writing and especially its combat, really drew me in and I honestly didn’t want to let it go on the show floor. I could not explore that much of the world or really experience the party system that much, but I wanted to see more of Lea and the people that she interacts with. CrossCode is out already for PC and it is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch later in 2019.
Do you like playing SNES-era-inspired RPGs? Have you picked up CrossCode yet?
Let us know in the comments below!
CrossCodeCrossWorldGDCGDC 2019ID@ID@XboxMMORPGPCPlayStation 4Radical Fish GamesRPGSNESSwitchXbox One