RPGFan


Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity
E3 Hands-On Preview
"You're likely to hear this comparison made ad nauseum, but Scarlet Curiosity truly evokes early-era Ys in almost every way."

I'm reminded of a Carly Rae Jepsen song...

One of the most surprising announcements to come out of XSEED this year was their upcoming localization of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity, an action RPG set in the expansive Touhou universe. This little-known doujin title trades the series' signature bullet hell mechanics for fast-paced hack-and-slash combat, complete with a level-up system and upgradeable equipment. The story's silly premise — a vampire goes out looking for trouble to assuage her immortal ennui — appears to be little more than an excuse to thrust the player into action against a suite of demonic forces.

You're likely to hear this comparison made ad nauseum, but Scarlet Curiosity truly evokes early-era Ys in almost every way. The engine is built just like The Oath in Felghana's, from the size of characters to the sound and weight of their attacks. Taking control of either the 500-year-old Remilia Scarlet or her time-bending ninja maid Sakuya Izayoi, the player progresses through large, arcade-style levels, each with secrets to discover and a formidable boss to challenge. Customization comes in the form of equipment with randomized stats and a loadout of character-unique abilities, only a few of which can be equipped at any given time. The game is constantly tracking combo hits la Devil May Cry, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a trophy pop up after racking up an especially long string of unbroken attacks. The game felt good in my hands; Remilia was responsive and moved as quickly as I wanted. Knowing how differently the characters play in, say, Ys Origin, I would've liked to experiment with Sakuya to see how she approaches combat.

Scarlet Curiosity has a simple visual style that prioritizes fluidity of combat above aesthetic beauty. It's no more technically impressive than a PS2 game, but it runs at a constant framerate throughout the hail of bullets that pour forth from its imposing bosses. The game makes intelligent use of a fixed camera to frame the action in a way that elevates it beyond its low-budget roots. What little artwork I saw was clean and pretty enough, however ubiquitous its style may be. I'm not especially fond of gothic lolita fashion or maid outfits, especially after seeing them inundate the RPG genre in recent years. And although the Touhou series has some questionable depictions of female characters, I didn't get the impression that Scarlet Curiosity's girls are particularly eroticized. Tacky, maybe, but that's just my take.

Though my time with Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity was brief, the taste I got was enough to pique my own (decidedly color-bereft) curiosity. As long as the story doesn't sink too deeply into fanservice, it should be a fast and fun romp for action RPG fans of all shades when it releases for PS4 later this year.


© 2016 XSEED, Ankake Supa. All rights reserved.



Twitch Schedule & Status

Sundays
May 26: TBA • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Mondays
Suikoden II w/Maxx • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
Golden Sun w/Kat • 4pm PDT/7pm EDT

Tuesdays
Final Fantasy VIII w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Valkyrie Profile 2 w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Wednesdays
Mass Effect 2 w/Nathan • 10am PDT/1pm EDT
Valkyrie Profile 2 w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Thursdays
Golden Sun w/Kat • 4pm PDT/7pm EDT
Valkyrie Profile 2 w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Fridays
Super Robot Wars X w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Trails of Cold Steel (Nightmare Mode) w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Saturdays
Final Fantasy XIV Online w/Scott • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech Video Review

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

Video Review
Retro Encounter 189: Chrono Cross Part II

Retro Encounter 189: Chrono Cross Part II

Podcast
Interview: Alex Kane on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Alex Kane on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Interview
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Retro Review
Nightshade Review

Nightshade

Review