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Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Deck13 Interactive
Developer: Radical Fish Games
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2018


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PC Preview - 'CrossCode'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 13, 2016 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

CrossCode is a love letter to 16-bit RPGs with modern action and puzzle mechanics.

CrossCode is about Lea, who is someone's avatar in a massively multiplayer online game called CrossWorlds. Unfortunately, she can't remember whose avatar she is, how she logged in, or what she is doing there. She's also rendered completely mute by the experience. This is made all the more complex by the fact that the CrossWorlds MMO actually involves transporting the player's avatar to another planet, a real place with real creatures. Now Lea has to travel through CrossWorlds and try to determine the cause of her strange malady.

The gameplay in CrossCode is somewhat akin to titles like Illusion of Gaia and Zelda. It's an overhead action-RPG based on combat, exploration and platforming. Lea has two different kinds of attacks. The first is a close-range melee attack that you can use to pound enemies into the ground. The other is a long-distance shot which, among other things, can ricochet. It isn't as effective in direct combat but can hit from a long distance and bounce off walls to hit enemies in out-of-the-way areas. You can instantly swap between the two weapon types, which allows for a lot of flexibility in how to handle fights. Special attacks are also available, although we didn't get to see many of them. The one we saw looked like a huge area-of-effect explosion that was great for clearing crowds.

An important aspect is going to be the elemental system. By default, Lea's attacks are non-elemental, but as you progress, you'll unlock the ability to use four elements: electricity, fire, ice and wave. If you're under attack by Frabbits (adorable ice-flavored rabbits), you'll probably want something fire-based to go against them. It's pretty common for an RPG, but there will be some flexibility and you'll be able to customize your character.

As with all good RPGs, CrossCode is going to have leveling elements. In this case, there will be a few different types. You'll be able to find various equipment to upgrade Lea's abilities. You can change your armor and your weapons to alter your stats and properties. Even more importantly, you can upgrade your skills using an in-depth skill tree. We didn't get to see much of the tree, but we did see that it is a lengthy board, more akin to a Final Fantasy X-style sphere grid than a simple tree.

The gameplay in CrossCode is shaping up to be quite fast-paced and exciting. We only played through a short segment, mostly the opening tutorial, but it already felt quite good. There's a real old-school sensibility to the game, and it feels akin to an old-school SNES game. The design backs that up, with an emphasis on dungeons to explore, side-quests to complete and towns to discover, all done in a very classic style. The build we saw was still in the very early days of development, but it's already got a lot of potential.

CrossCode doesn't try to hide its inspirations. It's a love letter to the SNES era of games, so everything from the art style to the gameplay hearkens back to long-ago classics like Terranigma. The plot about an interplanetary MMO is entirely modern, but the gameplay does a good job of capturing the fast fun of classic gaming. If the final version can live up to the concept, it'll be a must-play for RPG fans. CrossCode is due out in early 2016 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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