Saturday, 18 August 2012

Dust: An Elysian Tail Review

Today I was given the chance to review Humble Hearts new offering Dust: An Elysian Tail and what an opportunity that was!

The game has an intriguing quality from the very start, with it's enchanting menu music and beautiful graphics being showcased. The music is all so relaxing, a stark contrast to the intense action once the game starts going. From the beginning it all feels very JRPG, the menu noises are very akin to something you would hear in a Final Fantasy game, which made me feel very nostalgic for the nineties games!

Of course this is a game for all ages. The HD graphics are beautiful and really make this game stand out amongst the other games released this year. But strip it down to it's core and this game is fundamentally a 2D side-scrolling platformer with some RPG elements.

Control-wise this game is amazing. Your character Dust is a very able swordsman, who you can move about with ease. The movement is all very natural and just feels right. The menu system is smooth, as is the bartering system, allowing you to switch between buying and selling items with a press of a button.

Dust waking up
The storyline, whilst not a new idea, is still intriguing. I don't want to spoil the story for you so I'll give you a quick overview. The beginning of the game sees Dust, the main protagonist, wake in a beautiful glade. He can't remember anything about himself. Ahrah then makes himself known, a helpful sword that comes with a useful but annoying sidekick/guardian Fidget. Ahrah guides you on your quest, first pointing you towards the next village to try and find the truth of your identity.

The combat in this game really shines. I have a feeling that this is going to be a game that's 'easy to beat, difficult to master' Yes you could just button bash your way through the smaller groups of enemies, but this will not get you far with the bosses, and you may struggle with the larger groups. The key to the combat in this game is using the combos to build up a massive hit count which results in bonus battle experience. Enemies respawn when you enter back into an area, something I think is good for levelling up etc.

The BEST thing for me about the combat in this game though is that coin and goodies are dropped where you actually dealt the final death blow, not where the enemy landed. This may seem like a small thing to mention, but when you play a lot of games with enemy drops, there are only few that do it this way, most choose to do the drop where the enemy lands, leading to you running back and forth for all the loot.

Around the land you will find hidden treasure chests, for which you need a key. You can collect these keys around the world and even buy them in the shops. The chests don't have a certain corresponding key, something which left me quite relieved, and upon putting the key into the chest a little mini-game comes up which is quite innovative, where you have to enter a button sequence before the time runs out.

There are very few things I have disliked about this game. If I was to nitpick I would say that the voice-acting can be quite 'hammy' in places. The dialogue pops up over the action, which did start to annoy me after awhile. When it comes to improving Dust's abilities there isn't much choice and it is quite a linear system.

Overall this game would be a great addition to anyones game collection. The game world is beautiful with a vast array of wonderful characters to interact with. The controls are really well-executed and the story is intriguing enough. The fact that this game was the result of just one mans imagination is amazing.


                                      9/10 BUY IT!    

A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

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