Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 49 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 49
  2. Negative: 0 out of 49
  1. 100
    The swelling chase music, idealized world, larger-than-life story, and easy-to-master controls combine to cut through the clutter of some more pretentious games and deliver a sense of majesty and bravery straight to your heart.
  2. It combines an enthralling story with addictive gameplay and endless value online.
  3. 100
    The battles are as chaotic and dynamic as "Halo's," but they're in the air... A must-play game. [Jan 2004, p.64]
  4. 100
    The most interesting mode is a capture the flag type mode. I love it in first-person shooters so it only makes sense that I would love it here. While there is some lag in multiplayer games, it isn’t enough to make the game unplayable.
  5. A complete package, giving a remarkable performance in almost every aspect of the game.
  6. You have great graphics, great sound, 10 different planes which are almost all upgradeable, you have 6 different multiplayer modes, you have the ability to jump out of your plane and man anti-aircraft guns, there are explosions, vendettas, online play. This game has it all.
  7. Plays like a dream! The controller fits this game perfectly, all the buttons are used, and they are conveniently located so players will be able to use them with the utmost accuracy. While flying the planes it feels like they are moving through the air like a hot knife cutting through butter, the gameplay is that smooth.
  8. So much fun to play that you probably wouldn’t be too disappointed if it didn’t support Xbox Live. Oh but it does, and playing Crimson Skies against up to 15 other players is an absolute blast.
  9. 95
    The incredible controls, stunning graphics, and beautiful soundtrack simply make Crimson Skies one of those rare games that never waver in its presentation, giving gamers an experience that can truly be appreciated on every level.
  10. What we have here is perhaps one of the single most well thought out examples of how to craft exciting dog fights without running the risk of having pig-headed players forever circling each other.
  11. 95
    Long after finishing the story the multiplayer will still hold its enjoyment. It offers a drastically different experience from all the other Live action games, making it probably the newest reason to subscribe to Live.
  12. A phenomenal game in nearly every aspect and will set its mark among other great titles like "Halo" and "Star Wars: KotOR" as they did for their particular genres.
  13. Aside from minor issues related to multiplayer gameplay, Crimson Skies claims to be nearly flawless with intense airborne action and beautiful interactive visuals.
  14. The graphics are better than you can see in the screenshots in this review and simply are jaw-dropping in motion...A title destined for greatness.
  15. Water, sky, textures, animation, design, particle effects, draw distance, frame rates - every visual feature excels and entrances. You have to see Crimson Skies move. It'll move you. [Dec 2003, p.126]
  16. Amazingly engrossing online play, near-flawless visuals and sound, strong overall gameplay, and lightning-quick control responsiveness.
  17. There's more than enough variety in the weapons and scenarios to make sure you'll be absorbed for the full 10 or so hours it'll take you to complete.
  18. 91
    Occupies the same space that "MechAssault" held this time last year as one of the most addictive multiplayer games on Xbox Live but with improved visuals and a more rewarding single player experience.
  19. Aside from the well-crafted plot, the intense action and the awesome atmospheric graphics and sound, Crimson Skies also features an incredible multiplayer experience.
  20. There is a pretty cool thrill to chasing down an enemy through a canyon and finally getting a nice kill shot on them only to be taken out by his bastard teammate before you can finish him off.
  21. 91
    Graphically High Road to Revenge has no peers in its genre. There’s a ton of detail on the planes themselves, and each one has a nice unique look to it.
  22. Oozes style and substance, matching its PC counterpart bullet for bullet and raising the stakes with its upgraded control.
  23. Visually, Crimson Skies is a great looking game, and definitely a step up from the PC original. Absolutely huge environments, with impressive undulating environments, deep canyons, congested cities full of skyscrapers, and those amazing trademark Xbox water effects in the ocean, ponds and rivers.
  24. Earns its wings as a game that is an absolute riot to play. It's a console flight simulator with a serious bite. [Dec 2003, p.160]
  25. It's not an innovative wonder that will blow your socks off, but the new Crimson Skies succeeds in providing an extremely well executed and polished dogfighting experience both off and online.
  26. Then I got this puppy online, and I was totally blown away. This is a great game.
  27. 90
    The graphics are among the Xbox's best—the environments are huge and intricately detailed, and tons of smart little effects (like the haze behind your plane when you go into turbo) help add to the atmosphere.
  28. You should like this game even if you have never played a flying game before. Crimson Skies doesn't get old very quickly nor does it involve redundancy or tediousness as seen in some other games.
  29. With a surprisingly good single player game and an addictive online multiplayer component, this game has replay value.
  30. The awesome online mode and strong single-player segment combine to make Crimson Skies an easy game to recommend.
  31. It's your plane's incredibly fluid feel that turbo boosts the fun here into the stratosphere. [Jan 2004, p.148]
  32. 86
    In addition to the missions being dumbed down, the whole upgrade system that was on the PC is gone, and that's a severe disappointment.
  33. 85
    This game exemplifies the sleeper hit; its unique feel, solid gameplay, and great aesthetics offer up something a little left of center, but it's something that anyone who's remotely interested in the genre should be checking out.
  34. 84
    The multiplayer portions of Crimson Skies are the real hook of the game and the reason that you'll find yourself returning to the game on a regular basis.
  35. 9 / 8 / 8 / 7 - 32 gold [Vol 805; 28 May 2004]
  36. In defiance of the weak missions, air battles are frantic affairs, and they are great. [Dec/Jan 2004, p.78]
  37. But whoever designed the final level) filled with screen-obscuring lightning attacks) and behemoth boss is a cruel, cruel person indeed. [Jan 2004, p.52]
  38. It's by no means groundbreaking or remotely innovative, and you might get fed up with some rather samey single-player mission objectives, but it's all delivered with a charm and style that will win over your heart and ultimately offers a satisfying multiplayer facet that helps round off the package nicely.
  39. Matching the console's strengths with pick-up-and-play action, gorgeous graphics and appealing story, makes for an unqualified winner, and a title worthy of every Xbox owner's library.
  40. Every silver lining has a cloud and for Crimson Skies this cumulus comes in the puffy form of some occasionally-forgetful frame rates and geographical detail that really doesn't want you to get too close.
  41. Arguments of depth aside, it can't be denied that Crimson Skies strikes a great balance between required skill and the effortless "feel" of being a swashbuckling air-hero, all backed up by swelling production values.
  42. 80
    Gorgeous visuals, incredibly fun but accessible gameplay, and terrific multiplayer action all mark one of the better console games so far this year. While nothing in the game is particularly revolutionary, what is included is expertly implemented.
  43. It has a decent, well-acted story and interesting characters but fails to leave a lasting impression. The Online Multiplayer is hands down awesome and a must have for any Xbox Live aficionado.
  44. As good as it is, a little bit more control over the game setup might make Crimson Skies even better. A button to auto-divide players into equal teams would save the ridiculous three-minute Dance of the Switching Flags that precedes each battle.
  45. An adventurous, high-spirited air-combat game that mixes campy fun with seriously intense action... There really is nothing else out there like Crimson Skies. [Nov 2003, p.74]
  46. Crimson Skies really comes to life online. Up to 16 players can duke it out in the skies and the dogfights are terrific. This is better than you'd ever have expected. [Christmas 2003, p.123]
  47. Our only concern with the game is that we can see it beginning to grate after only a few weeks; sure the Xbox Live! functions add some replay value, however given the very nature of the title and its pick-up dynamics we can't see ourselves playing this for months to come let alone even till Christmas.
  48. Crimson Skies does so much to propel itself above mediocrity that it seems strange that, though it succeeds, it doesn't capture the robust energy of its larger-than-life story in its gameplay.
  49. While the accessible arcade action delivers thrill-a-minute multiplayer dogfights, over time the game's inherent lack of substance becomes increasingly evident. [Dec 2003, p.121]
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. May 21, 2011
    10
    The planes in this game are a joy to fly, the characters are badass and the story is a blast! The graphics are amazing for an original XBOX too. Everything has a surprising amount of detail, the worlds are aesthetically pleasing and the water especially is stunning. It looks even better on the XBOX 360, where it runs in HD with a smooth framerate.

    Simply put, the best game you can get for the original XBOX, even though XBOX Live is no longer supported for it. Pick it up. It's well worth the $10 it'll cost you.
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