Dust : An Elysian Tail is the first game I’ve played from the 2012 XBLA Summer of Arcade, which kind of give you an idea of the backlog of games I’ve still got to get through before I can switch off the Xbox360 for good, and fully immerse myself in the next generator of console.
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what to expect, it’d just been highly recommended by a few people who’s opinions I trust.
I don’t want to give any spoilers on the story, however it doesn’t hurt to tell you, that you play as Dust, you wake up with very little memory. You spend the game on a voyage of discovery, making it a very interesting and heartfelt story, with a few morality decision throw into the mix. You companions on this journey are Fidget a flying cat, and Ahrah, a talking sword, in which you battle through respawning area after area to complete main story quests, as well as completing optional side quests. The combat is mainly, ‘Press X to win’, however as you advance you pick up a number of combos, these combined with whichever magic Fidget is currently equipped, can lead to some spectator combos (there’s is actually an achievement for getting a 1000 hit combo!)
The initial gameplay almost feels like a side scrolling dungeon crawler, in which you hack and slash your way through hordes of enemies, all with their own particular brand of attack. Some fly, some jump, some some just run straight at you. As the game progresses, the enemies get a lot more interesting, requiring you to first parry them before you can attack. As you would imagine in this type of game, there are bosses, however apart from the final boss, I didn’t really have any trouble taking them down. This was probably due to me being an OCD gamer and completing all the side quests I could before moving on, meaning I was probably too powerful at that point in the game.
As you grind your way through the levels killing enemies, you also pick up items such as food, general materials, rings, pendants, and clothing, which can all be equipped to modify your stats, adding an interesting RPG element to it. In addition, the enemies sometime drop blueprints, which allow you to craft items from the materials you’ve picked up, to increase your stats.
All the characters in the game are fully voice acted, which is good as there is can be quite lot of dialogue, and with the cartoony art style you can sometime forget you’re actually playing a game as it’s very easy to get lost in the cut scenes. Surprisingly, Fidget and Ahrah used the right amount of dialogue for my liking, it seems too easy these days to have a side kick that repeats the same sayings, over and over again.
Finally, if you’re an OCD gamer, there is loads for you to do. As the game progresses, you pick up additional abilities allowing you to reach places you couldn’t previously reach. Just to add to it, the map highlights sections of the map that contain treasure chests and keys, enticing you to return and ‘complete’ that area. Once the game is complete, you can load the final save, and go back through the world and clean up, at this point you should have all your abilities and be able to get to all locations.
All in all, a great game for the 1200 points I paid, and even though the game is complete, I’m currently on cheevo clean up and probably will be for the next couple of hours.
Approx Time taken to beat – 20 hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:4/5]
Games TrailerTags: Arcade, Backlog, Boss, Companions, Dungeon Crawler, Enemies, First Game, Fly, Flying Cat, Gameplay, Gamer, Games, General Materials, Heartfelt Story, Hordes, Journey, Memory, Morality, Pendants, Score, Spectator, Sword, Voyage Of Discovery, Xbox360