Review: DUST: An Elysian Tail
Going into playing Dust: An Elysian Tail, I knew very few things. First off, it was an RPG, which normally for me is an iffy area. I have so many uncompleted Final Fantasy games, and I normally get bored with the stories before they get started. Secondly, I knew that it was a side-scroller. Once again, I’ve never really gotten into side-scrollers.
Dust: An Elysium Tail is a combination of both of those two elements and works fantastically well. Throw in a really well done plot line that kept me coming back for more, a great set of voice actors, visuals that are top-notch and it perhaps comes out of the Summer of Arcade as the best game of the lot.
But, let’s get into the details of the game itself. You play as “Dust”, who, for all intent and purpose, is a cat that has completely lost his memory. As you begin the game, you’re in a forest, which looks fantastic, recently woken up, with absolutely no recollection of what’s going on, where you are, even what your name is. Before you, is a sword, the ancient “Blade of Ahrah”. To set the mood completely, Ahrah speaks to you, and tells you of the quest you must take to uncover your past.
To see you on your way, a cat with wings, Fidget, joins you; she’s an adorable little companion who’s afraid of heights. She’s there to retrieve the sword from you once you complete your quest. I truly enjoyed the banter and relationship between Dust and Fidget they work really well together, Dust’s seriousness complements Fidget’s quirkiness and make the talking, the cut scenes, and the game that much more enjoyable. Humble Hearts have really given us two great characters, which pair off so well.
The controls themselves are truly a joy to use. They fit perfectly with the game, and the arsenal of attacks that you have at your disposal. As Fidget says early on in the game, you can go about the game in two ways. Her preferred way, button mashing, or the way the game teaches you, by using both Dust and Fidget’s abilities and combat techniques together. You have your simple attack with X, which strikes your opponent with your blade, combo by pressing X repeatedly, or by mixing it with Y. Y on its own is Dust Storm, Dust spins his sword around and can hold it for a little while before it hurts him. Combine this with Fidget’s attack by pressing B and holding Y and you can attack almost everyone on-screen, and get a huge hit combo.
That’s something else about Dust that will keep you coming back for more, the hit combos. Much like a classic fighting game, the hit combo pops up in the top right hand corner, replacing your map in battle. Using a combined Dust Storm with Fidget can net you a 300+ combo, as well as a few achievements along the way. You lose your combo whenever you get hit, or take damage, so it will keep you on your toes. Knowing the difference between parrying attacks, when to strike and when to dodge is key when you’re taking on around 10-15 monsters at once.
A key element of a role-playing game is the level up system, and improving your character to the best of your ability. Once you meet the blacksmith early on in the game, she allows you to create any items from blueprints you have in your inventory, provided you have the materials to make it. This, I really liked, it adds a level of collection to the whole thing, much like the shop itself does. Sell an item you have to one of the stores around the world and you’ll be able to rebuy in vaster quantities. This is very useful with the higher healing items. Assigned to your LB button, you can heal yourself at any point, until your supplies run out. At that point, you’ll have to go into your inventory and change which healing item you’ll assign to LB.
Luckily, however, whenever you use you inventory, check an achievement, or hit the guide button, the game pauses automatically, even in the middle of combat, which, should be a given by now, but is still a welcome addition to any title. The inventory is split into sections, as you’d expect, with your current quest, map, items and equipment all very easy to find. People playing this game should have no bother whatsoever finding where they are, what they’re doing or anything like that. Dust is a very family friendly game, with cute characters, bright graphics that look stunning, and sounds and effects that sound amazing.
1200 Microsoft Points is what’s being asked for this game, to which I say that it is definitely worth every single point. The game is a joy to play, and apart from a few errors on my behalf in my playthrough, I haven’t come across any part of the game that I found annoying to an extent, or anything that becomes long-winded. I’d recommend this to fans of side-scrollers and RPGs, as well as people who just want to sit down, and enjoy a great story.
Review: DUST: An Elysian Tail Results
What we liked:
Controls are very easy to get the hang of
The graphics are amazing
The story keeps you coming back for more
What we disliked:
The achievements may become long-winded