I bought the Crimson Shroud on a whim, having played some Level 5 stuff before and because it was on offer (and still is at time of writing) on the Nintendo 3DS e-shop.
I'm a fan of the RPG genre, but have never really delved into the world of tabletop gaming before, apart from a little flurry with Munchin Quest. The Crimson Shroud is a return to the very traditional idea of turn based, dice rolling role playing games in the style of a video game. And I feel it does rather well.
The game plonks your character figurines, Giauque, Lippi and Frea in a gorgeous palace ruin. The first few battles serve as tutorials, showing the turn based basics and how actual dice rolls, which are done with the stylus, have effects throughout the battle.
Furthermore, rather than characters levelling up, the game focusses on improving your existing gear, which you pick up from defeated enemies and then can meld together to improve further. The only downside to this I can see is that if you struggle on a particular enemy in the game, grinding doesn't guarantee you improve, as you can only meld weapons of the same type together to improve them. You could be waiting a long time to pick up an item that you need.
That being said, this wasn't a massive issue, and I actually quite enjoyed going back to some earlier battles to collect things.
The presentation of the game is flawless, and has been compared to playing through a graphic novel. The environments, characters and enemies are stunning to behold, and I felt it refreshing to read through the story in such a way as I imagine you would playing Dungeons and Dragons. There is little animation, apart from the odd figurine wobble upon giving and receiving attacks, but this just adds to the tabletop aesthetic.
The story is intricately crafted as well, with genuinely tense moments and a surprising and inventive conclusion.
The play through wasn't massively long, my first play through has just clocked in at over 9 hours. For the money I think that's a good length really, though in my run I did have to backtrack for quite some time just picking up and melding gear.
It's refreshing to play a shorter RPG, as now I'm regrettably growing up and acquiring more responsibilities, it's definitely harder to find the time to invest in most RPGs, yet I still long for the style and story work that Crimson Shroud offers by the bucket load.
Crimson Shroud is quite a specialist game, so if you're not into RPG's and aren't averse to a bit of reading in your video games, then it's a hugely enjoyable experience that is worth the money.