Average User Score: 7.8Aug 19, 2012I had been anticipating Dust: An Elysian Tail since I found out it won Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play back in '09. After a long wait, itI had been anticipating Dust: An Elysian Tail since I found out it won Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play back in '09. After a long wait, it finally received a release date of August 15, 2012, during Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade. Every year, there has been a memorable SOA release that really stands out--Braid, Shadow Complex, Limbo, and Bastion, just to name a few. So is Dust: An Elysian Tail this year's inductee into the Summer of Arcade Hall of Fame?
The short answer is a resounding Yes.
Before I even state everything that makes Dust an amazing game, I am well aware of some people disregarding it, on the fact that the game contains anthropomorphic characters, or "furries", as some may call them, which may not be everyone's fancy for reasons that may or may not have some bias behind them. It's those people I feel sorry for, because they will be missing out on one extraordinary game.
Dust: Any Eysian Tail is the work of creator--and by creator, I mean ONE creator. Yes, this game was made by pretty much one guy--Dean Dodrill, as his love letter to old-school Metroidvania-style games. And if one guy could make this game, imagine what could come to light if he had a team.
First and foremost, Dust is a beautiful game. The hand-crafted scenery is beyond incredible; it really looks like something that came from a team of professional illistrators, not one guy. And the movements of the characters themselves looks nicely down.
Speaking of the characters, they are lovable. The close-ups we get of them during cutscenes and the emotions they protray during certain dialogue is all nicely portrayed. The voice-acting is top notch as well, even though the lip-syncing can be off at times. There may be moments where characters can become cringe-worthy, but these moments are few and far between. Being put off just because these characters are anthropomorphic shouldn't even come across for anything. And the music of Dust is really good as well. Almost like you're always listening to a live orchestra. The story follows the character of Dust, an amnesiac who wakes with no knowledge of his past. He is met up with a sentient sword known as Ahrah, and its flying fox guardian, Fidget. It is Dust's journey to re-discover his past and save the future. Yeah, I know it's very vague, but for a Metacritic review, you have to believe me when I say the story delves into such an addictive narrative, that at the end I was extremely satisfied. Fidget also happens to be my favorite character, and her funny dialogue throughout the whole experience kept a smile on my face.
When it comes to combat, this is more than your typical hack-and-slash game. Dust has variety of moves, but the one that really stands out is his Dust Storm ability. It can cause some serious damage on its own, but combining it with Fidget's "weak" powerball attack, it will spread her attack into a multitude of damaging attacks that will hit everything on the screen and boost a heavy combo chain.
Throughout my entire playthrough of the game, if there was one thing I had touch upon that could have been better, it would have to be the boss battles. At times, the bosses can appear to be easy pushovers, almost to the point where some enemies themselves where harder to defeat. That may appear to make the game too easy, and honestly, at times, it is. Thankfully there are a multitude of difficulties to choose from, so none of this was a real bother for me. But I can see why it may bother others.
You can get through the main story of Dust in about 6-10 hours, depending on playstyle. However, there are side quests, arena challenges, and so much exploration to be done, that playtime can easily be doubled. Only once or twice did things appear to get a little repetitive, but since there are always new areas, enemies, and even cameos to discover, this hardly seemed like a tidbit to bring up.
In summary, Dust: An Elysian Tail is an amazing game. This game is, not only the best Summer of Arcade release this year, not only one of the best Summer of Arcade releases ever, this game is one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games . . . of all time. I would like to thank Dean Dodrill for making such an amazing piece of art with his own blood, sweat, and tears. Because this game just earned him a lot of respect in the video game industry.… Expand