Xbox Game Pass Hidden Gems (April 14th) - Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Image via Microsoft)
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Image via Microsoft)

Fans of A24's Civil War, take note. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge could be right in your wheelhouse. Welcome to Xbox Game Pass Hidden Gems, our (somewhat) regular look at titles on Microsoft's stellar subscription service that you seemingly may have skipped. This time around, we're looking at a title for the OG Xbox - and one of its best, at that. Strap in, air pirates. We're about to embark on the High Road to Revenge.

The Crimson Skies universe is set in an alternate 1930s where America, instead of being a Union of States, is a collection of independent countries. Because this prevented the creation of the Interstate Highway System, air travel became the dominant form of transportation. The series consists of not just the Xbox game, but an original PC title and a handful of tabletop and miniature games.

Note: This article is subjective and refects the author's opinions.


What is Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge?

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In Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, you play as Nathan Zachary, the gambling and womanizing scoundrel leader of the air pirates known as the "Fortune Hunters."

When Zachary recovers his prized plane, "Gypsy Magic", and the group's mothership Zepplin, the Pandora, from the Ragin' Cajuns (who won them fair and square, I might add!), it sets him and his friends on the road to adventure... and revenge (cue dramatic music.)

If you're a fan of the all-range mode sections of Star Fox 64, you're going to be right at home with Crimson Skies. Each plane Zachary pilots has its own quirks and is capable of some slick maneuvers. It's classic third-person air combat at its best.

While all the action takes place in the air, the rest of the story is told through excellently produced cutscenes. The world is vibrant, and its characters are well-developed - especially Nathan. He's up there with other loveable rogues like Han Solo, Eddie Guerrero, or Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2.

Unfortunately, one of the best aspects of the original game is absent - the online multiplayer. When Crimson Skies: HRTR was first released, it was one of the first titles on the system to make full use of the then-fledgling Xbox Live service. The Game Pass version can still use the split-screen multiplayer, though, which is a lot of fun.

This is a series that's just begging for an HD remaster. Sadly, it didn't sell all that well upon its initial release, despite excellent reviews. Its reputation over the years, however, has pushed it into that long-coveted cult-favorite status. Games like Okami and Beyond Good & Evil, which failed to sell well on their initial launch, have found great success upon rerelease, so anything is possible.

Until that happens, you can still play Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on Xbox Game Pass - and we highly recommend you do so.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei
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