Dust: An Elysian Tail Review, One of the Best Arcade Games on Xbox
Dust: An Elysian Tail is one of the best arcade experiences you will ever have.
The game starts out with your player having amnesia. The only name you know yourself as is Dust, and your past is just a fog. But what is clear is that the world you awoken to is in danger. Monsters roam the world destroying villages leaving destruction in their wake. Dusts’ quest is clear; help the innocent and drive the monsters back. This is Dust: An Elysian Tail
The story is amazingly well written and executed. Interaction with the character is shown in cut scenes which overlay the main game screen, as each character design is shown of in all its glory. The voice acting as sublime too, with every character having a personality of their own, with even the usually annoying sidekick being well written and performed. Some of the best parts of the game is the banter between Dust and Fidget.
XBLA has come out with some very impressive 2D titles. Yet standing above them all on top of the graphical throne is Dust: An Elysian Tail. The backdrops are beautiful pieces of art in their own right, but the sense of depth and distance because of the almost diorama style layering makes every element of scenery just a joy to look at.
Dust is a beautiful game, it’s that simple.
The character design doesn’t have any less love or attention to detail . The main character ‘Dust’ has some outstanding animation, every move and transition is seamless and just looks so natural. The enemies also enter the screen and also have an immense amount of detail and striking animation. It’s not just character you’ll interact with either, it is the wildlife of the world around you. The animation and design of the deer and rabbits for example are so fabolous, as they round and bound around the world. The world build around the player is just so well thought out, and players will easily get lost in its’ wonder.
Visual effects added on top of what is already great adds a real sense of wonder to the universe. From wind blowing camp fires and tree blowing in the wind, it looks like you are watching and playing an animated film. It would be a fine achievement for an entire studio, but to know this has all been achieved by the hard work of one man, makes what you see truly mind blowing.
Now the game obviously looks the part, but often games that look aesthetically pleasing can lack some basic gameplay elements. Controls may often be awkward, the writing may fall a bit flat or the game maybe shorter than hoped . However with Dust, there are no such worries. There are many hours of gameplay to be had, that never once let you down with awkward pacing.
Dusts brings the best elements of multiple genres
Dust is a combination of RPG, platforming, hack & slash and metroidvania that marries together all the best elements from those genres into a game that just oozes quality. The actual gameplay mechanic itself is also a joy, moving through the world, attacking enemies and looting the valuables and pick-ups they drop, all just feel wonderful. Chaining together combos as packs of monsters attack is so satisfying, and doesn’t get old. The variation in your arsenal too is well thought out. Melee attacks are done with a combination of X and Y and using various combinations of those will see you pulling off all kinds of wonderful moves. Add to that the ability to use magic in combination with your sword and you will be chaining together combos like a pro in no time. Which is handy for the achievement that asks for a 1900 chain combo, which isn’t as hard as it may sound.
There is a huge level of depth in Dust as well. The progression system is vital, yet not overly complicated. Wares can be bought and sold with merchants visited along Dusts’ journey; some of these can improve defence, attacks, luck and other elements of Dusts’ skills. Yet what really stands out, is that this element of levelling up and attaching skills, doesn’t distract from the games basic elements.
A core gamer will get a level of enjoyment from the tinkering involved as well as the varying combat abilities. Yet, as child or so called casual gamer can jump right in and enjoy the game. Still as said before, those who are completionists will be able to go through collecting as much loot as possible and full completing more than just the main story. The metroidvania aspect of the game will almost dare you to discover the entire world, with the changes in location causing you to once again look on in pure admiration. Again considering this is pretty much a solo project; the level of detail in making the game work for all abilities is refreshing.
Dust: An Elysian Tail is amazing to put it simply. The fantastic story, the addictive gameplay and the breath taking graphics all make this one of the best arcade games ever to come on Xbox Live. I could even go as far as to say one of the best arcade games out there to date.