Review: Crimen – Mercenary Tales – A Pretty VR Experience Coupled with Clunky Controls

Review: Crimen - Mercenary Tales

Developed and published by Carbon Studio, Crimen – Mercenary Tales is an action-adventure VR title where you live through the stories of eight different characters. Set in the 17th century, you will explore atmospheric environments such as castles, ancient temples, and sunken shipwrecks while trying to sound like a badass. Featuring plenty of sword fights, cool puzzle solving, and pretty environments to explore, Crimen – Mercenary Tales is a stunner in every aspect except for its gameplay which is really a disappointment. This is our review of Crimen – Mercenary Tales on Meta Quest 2 in which we explore a sunken ship and slash through some werewolves.

The gameplay of Crimen – Mercenary Tales involves a little bit of everything. You will explore locations, kill enemies, use different powerups, and solve various puzzles. Since this is a VR game, solving puzzles is really cool because all of them are designed for viewing with a first-person camera. The puzzles are not very hard to solve but a little bit of brain-tickling is always fun. There is also plenty of climbing and this is one of my favorite aspects of the game. Climbing is always fun in VR, and I am always looking forward to climbing scenes in VR titles. Climbing does not disappoint in Crimen – Mercenary Tales as you move from one spot to another hand by hand, and it looks really cool.

Review: Crimen - Mercenary Tales

The levels are fairly big to move around them, but it is a linear game and there is not a lot of exploration in the game. For moving around, the game offers two different movement options as you can switch between the normal movement which is done by using the joystick, or the traditional point-and-move mechanic. You can switch between the two to choose the one that suits you better. Normal movement using the joystick is of course a little faster and will strain your eyes and probably cause motion sickness too if you are not used to it so in such a scenario, you can switch to the point-and-move mechanic as well. The environments are developed fully in 3D so you can move your head around to see various things happening around you.

The story of Crimen – Mercenary Tales follows eight different characters who are currently enjoying themselves in a tavern and are telling their tall tales to their fellow pirates. As a character starts their story, you witness the story first-hand as you live that tale. Each of the stories is unique and will take you on a brand-new adventure. The stories are not linked with each other so every time, you will hear a different voice and witness a unique one. During these stories, you will solve puzzles, fight with numerous enemies including boss fights and explore different environments. However, the overall length of the game is not too big, and this is a major drawback of the game. Even if you take your sweet time with every mission in the game, it will take you around 4 hours to complete everything that the game has to offer.

Review: Crimen - Mercenary Tales

Combat plays a vital role in Crimen – Mercenary Tales since this is a pirate game and there is plenty of sword fighting involved including some cool powerups too. After getting your first sword in the game, you are introduced to the basic mechanics of sword fighting and how to defend yourself from incoming attacks. There are four basic blocking points in the game left, right, top, and bottom, and all enemies will follow this same pattern. You will have to judge which way the attack is coming from and perform the correct blocking pattern to prevent damage. To make combat interesting, enemies will drop powerups such as a shotgun or another sword that you can pick and use for a little time to land back some mighty attacks on your enemies. As you progress in the story and experience advanced enemies, you will be tackling multiple enemies at the same time and some enemies that will require some more movements before you take them out.

My favorite aspect of Crimen – Mercenary Tales is probably its visual art design and the cool pirate-y environments of the game. You actually feel like a pirate in the game as you are swishing your sword around and killing enemies in areas like ships, old spooky castles, and different settlements. Each location has its own unique enemy types, although their attacks and movements are fairly similar which makes me believe that they are merely reskin of the base model, but they all look pretty cool. Apart from this, the level design is pretty solid and while there is not much to explore around in each location, the areas look atmospheric, and you will definitely enjoy them as you slash your way through enemies.

At its core, Crimen – Mercenary Tales is a fun little game that does not put too much challenge on you but there are some gameplay hiccups that really set back your playing experience. These are mostly related to its gameplay as the game will not always perform like you would expect it to perform. The blocks require precise motions and if you are even a little bit tilted that the required angle, you will be damaged even if the enemy’s sword goes right into your blocking position. The same goes for attacking the enemies as your enemies will be able to attack and hit you no matter how much the distance but if you move a little far from them or if your angle is not perfect, you will not hit them. This makes me come to another problem, while there are four main blocking positions as defined by the game itself, you cannot always predict where the attack is coming from.

There is another problem with the game and that is a lack of inventory system. Crimen treats all items or weapon drops as power-ups which are dropped when you kill an enemy, and they will remain on the screen for a little time before disappearing forever. This means that if you have a lot of enemies on the screen, you will easily miss these powerups if you kill one enemy and quickly turn around to face another one. Since there is no inventory system, this means that you will miss picking up essential health potions for when you really need to use them. You can take around three to four hits before you die, and the clunky controls of the game do not help in this matter. I died a lot and in certain scenarios, I was extremely frustrated with the whole combat system of the game.

The enemies will also surround you and with the zoomed-in look, not all of the enemies will be in your frame at all times. In certain scenarios, I was fighting three enemies at the same time and my Meta Quest 2 was only able to show two on the screen. This meant that I was taking damage from an enemy which was not on my screen, and it was really annoying. While you can easily manage two enemies at the same time, despite the fact that the enemies keep bumping into you and sometimes jump around to land an attack which completely eliminates the point of judging where the incoming attack is coming from. While I love the overall concept of the game and the visual art style of the game is pretty decent as well, the controls and the mechanics are really a letdown.

Final Verdict:

Crimen – Mercenary Tales is a beautiful game but it quickly becomes frustrating because of its unreliable controls. There are numerous gameplay problems with the game that do not let you enjoy this otherwise brilliant game. The controls are not that hard, but the main problem is their responsiveness within the game, and how they behave in different scenarios. I love the visual style of the game, the diversity of enemies, and the cool environments that you explore in the game, but the poor gameplay mechanics do not do it for me. The main story is also not that long so after playing the game once, there is hardly any reason to go back to it. If you love pirate games and want something in which you can swing your sword around and occasionally manage to kill an enemy, you can give Crimen – Mercenary Tales a try but do not go in with high hopes.

Final Score: 6.0/10

You May Also Like

About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *