Set in the back drop of a holy crusade gone wrong, The Cursed Crusade follows the exploits of Denz de Bayle and Esteban Noviembre, a templar and his unlikely companion that share a hellish nightmare state where Death in physical form seeks to claim their souls. As they traverse foreign lands, fighting in the name of god to find salvation from their curse, they soon find that the men leading them have less righteous goals, opting for greed and power and using them as tools to those ends. Unfortuneatly, if you were skeptical from the outset, this crusade offers little to redeem itself.
The constrained budget of this title shines bright in its dated visuals. Textures are low quality and bland, with little to offer in terms of variety or unique design. 2d flame sprites and small spurting blood sprays keep you very aware that the world before you is not one you could mistake for reality. Aside from the high poly count this game could easily be mistaken for a PS2 or Xbox title of the former generation.
Only true fans of action-adventure combat can appreciate the diversity of weapons and overlook their flaws. Aside from the cursed state you can enter, combat is very sluggish, with blows landing 2-3 seconds after you've pressed the button. Eventually after unlocking most of the moves it becomes habitual to use the lengthy combos that result in a stun, keeping the target incapacitated and killing them the fastest, as the other shorter combos just lead to drawn out fights that have a tendency to become boring.
The inclusion of crossbows and short bows is nothing short of pointless as only certain situations require the weapon, and open conflict renders the weapons useless. Co-op is very much an Army of Two affair, as progressing through the story requires several obstacles to be tag-teamed. Luckily for the soloist, the partner is responsive when you need a second man on that winch or opening up a gate, he doesn't make you wait due to glitchy terrain or other delays.
The music accompanying fights is easily overlooked, as it offers nothing that truly adds to the atmosphere of battle. While it's not bad, it's certainly nothing unique and you'll soon forget it entirely once you're done with the game.
Perhaps the most appallingly bad aspect of sound design is in the voice acting, particularly for your Spanish comrade-in-arms, Esteban Noviembre. Rather than speaking in a variant of old english like many of the cast, he somehow has a very modern, perhaps even token spanish accent and mannerism about him. Despite being a Spaniard in the 10-11th century, and being double Denz de Bayle's age, he has an unconvincing and flamboyant Spanish personality not appropriate for the era or his character.
Vague spoilers beyond this point, beware.
Despite an intriguing start where two characters realize their shared torments and seek to absolve their bloodline, the tale of these templars takes a steep dip into obscurity. Little is ever discovered about why these men and many other characters in the story are being pursued by Death, aside from Denz's convenient educated guess that they are punished for their grievous sins or the sins of their ancestors.
The majority of this epic involves two talented fighters being pawns to more powerful and corrupt men. By the time they realize this they turn on a cursed man whose sole goals were to retrieve holy relics to gain unstoppable power rather than using them for their other intent, namely the ability to cure the souls of the cursed ones.
Eventually culminating in clearing out an abandoned templar stronghold, the two main characters begin forging their plans for what was obviously meant to be a segway into a sequel. No big boss battle, no revelations about the curse that ails you and no real closure to anything story related. All you're left with are more questions and a distinct feeling that you invested in a pretext to the actual game Kylotonn intends to create.