Crosscode, developed by Radical Fish Games, came out on PC in 2018 and was a surprise hit even when retro style action RPGs are a dime a dozen. While it took its time being in Steam’s Early Access for 3 years, the developers managed to make an Action RPG that shines on every part. From the graphics, music, story and gameplay, there is a lot of love that was thrown on the project that makes it one of the best in its genre.
The game is set in the distant future and you play as Lea, who was woken up with no memories of her past as a player avatar for a fictional MMORPG called Crossworlds by Sergey and Carla, a programmer and mechanic respectively. Finding herself unable to (mostly) speak, Lea soon starts to discover a mystery surrounding the MMORPG while making friends, enemies, and learning about why she lost her memories along the way.
The story starts strong with some terrific pacing during the prologue, and while they introduce the world to you. However, that soon starts to plod along for a bit, and it takes some time for the story to start to build some steam again. Stay with it though, and you will be rewarded with some rather good storytelling that in my opinion, even rivals some AAA Action RPGs that this game was influenced by.
The artstyle and level design of the game is astounding. The artists manage to portray a sense of scale with the game world and setting where you really feel like this is a huge island that is populated by other MMO players, NPCs and monsters. Music is on point, with the composer Deniz Akbulut as one to watch in for the future. It really is hard to believe this is his first experience making game music, with it channeling some of the feeling you get while playing classic playstation JRPGs.
Gameplay is a fun mix of Zelda style puzzles and a Legend of Mana style battle system. While you level up, your abilities can also be augmented with Combat Arts that can provide you with special abilities, or buff your skill set through the Circuit Menu. It offers a lot of depth on what type of build you want Lea to take. You can also call upon your allies to help you throughout the game, although there’s a slight XP reduction if you do.
The game also uses a mechanic called Combat Rank, where defeating enemies in quick succession fills it and improves your chances for enemy drops, where some rare ones only drop if your rank is high enough. A special mention should go about the boss fights though, where some feel like a good combination of puzzles and action.
While I had a lot of fun playing the game on the Switch, it does come with a few flaws. There are some frame drops in a few areas, and noticeable lag as you try to enter the menu, even worse is if you try to enter the submenu system like the map or circuit screen. Aiming your range weapon is also not as precise as I would like, and feels a bit awkward for my taste. However, the developers have promised a patch that will improve a few of the performance issues 1-2 weeks after release.
Even with these performance issues, Crosscode still remains a fun romp. While rushing through the main story may take you around 30 hours, the game can easily take you 80-100 hours to complete everything. Those who are looking for an action RPG with substantial length can do no wrong by giving Crosscode a go.