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Crimson Dragon



Uninspired fantasy game filled with fiery dragon battles.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Crimson Dragon wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive messages

This game aims to entertain via over-the-top fantasy and sci-fi action. It also contains themes of courage and selflessness, but they're largely overshadowed by the nearly nonstop action.  

Positive role models

The game's dragon-riding protagonist is a paper-thin character. All we really know about him is that he's fighting for the survival of humanity on an alien planet, that he's a really good pilot of dragons, and that he has a knack for surviving against incredible odds. He's no problem solver.

Ease of play

Easier difficulty settings make this game pretty approachable. The action is on rails, so all players really need to do is aim and shoot. However, the hardest difficulty setting ramps up the challenge significantly, making it a true test even for seasoned gamers.


Players ride dragons viewed from a third-person perspective, shooting fire and energy from their mouths at other dragons. When struck, these fantastical creatures bellow, emanate sprays of red blood, and writhe in pain as they fall through the air.

Not applicable
Not applicable

This game incorporates a micro-transaction system that encourages players to spend real money to accelerate their progress. However, players need not spend anything to finish the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Crimson Dragon is a flying shooter involving huge dragons that breathe great balls of fire and energy. These fantastical creatures bellow and thrash when struck, sometimes emanating a spray of crimson that briefly hangs in the air. There's little narrative or messaging and not much to the action beyond twitchy, reflex-oriented aerial battles. However, playing in co-op mode does encourage some teamwork among players. Parents should also note that this game uses a micro-transaction system that encourages players to spend real money, though it's not necessary in order to complete the story. 

Parents say

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What's it about?

CRIMSON DRAGON takes place on a world far from Earth, where humanity is making a last, desperate stand for survival against the planet's fantastical and furious inhabitants: dragons. Players take on the role of a particularly gifted dragon rider who's assigned a series of missions meant to deal with an unexpected new threat from the wild dragons that could spell the end of his people. All of the action is "on rails," which is to say the player's dragon flies where it will, leaving the player to focus primarily on targeting enemies. As the story progresses, players gain access to more missions, more dragons (all of which are upgradable), and scores of new skills. The game also supports online cooperative play for up to three players.

Is it any good?


Crimson Dragon is seen as a spiritual successor to the popular Panzer Dragoon games of a decade and longer past, but it's not nearly as compelling. Its dragon-riding antics feel clunky and fail to empower players the way riding a massive and magical flying creature really should. The action, while cinematic at first and fairly accessible, soon grows repetitive, with levels feeling more like chores than breathtaking adventures. Also, the upgrade and skills systems aren't nearly as satisfying as in other games, perhaps because they seem to have been designed around a thoroughly nonsubtle micro-transaction system that will simply annoy players who want to finish the game without spending any extra money. Online cooperative play with friends may hold some appeal for social-minded gamers, but it's safe to say most everyone else can find better ways to spend their gaming dollars.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you think there's a difference between fights that involve fantastical beasts using magical attacks and combat that sees humans employing realistic weapons? Do you feel any different when playing these two types of games?

  • Families also can discuss humans' millennia-old fascination with dragons. What do you think made ancient people imagine such a creature? Do you think they may have stumbled across large dinosaur bones and wondered what sort of creature they could have come from?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox One
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Communication: friendship building
Collaboration: cooperation
Available online?Available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:November 21, 2013
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Violence

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Teen, 14 years old Written byIronRunningAnvil March 21, 2014

Great graphics, average gameplay, poor camera angles

The title pretty much sums up this game, the graphics look really good and that is a high point of the game. The actually gameplay is average, although it is just an average rail shooter with some dialogue. There was an attempt by the developers to help make your dragons seem close to you in the game, but in the end this just does not work. Also the poor camera angles are a real problem as well they limit the game in so many ways. However it is still worth the price in my opinion if you are looking for a game to spend a few new hours on as it can be pretty fun sometimes as well as cool.