Continuing with a somewhat cynical opening view of E3 2012 it's time to start off the hot picks on a brighter note. With that, I give you Dust: An Elysian Tail.
Dream. Build. Play. 3 words synonymous with Microsoft and 3 words associated with Dust: An Elysian Tail. As the winner of Dream Build Play '09 Humble Hearts' Dean Dodrill's artistic masterpiece lines up a shortlist of the top games to look out for at E3.
As one of the releases planned for Xbox 360's Summer of Arcade Dust: An Elysian Tail throws you into a wondrous world filled with bright colours, a distinct style and absolutely stunning animation. Whether you're playing the game or just watching someone who is; visually it's easy to see why this title leads my deeper breakdown.
You play as the protagonist and name headliner Dust. Accompanied by your sword Ahrah and companion Fidget, Dust sets out on a quest through the world of Falana to liberate an oppressed village. In a 2D hand-animated and painted Action/RPG world it's down to our hero to uncover his past with a boasted deep combat system and ability to edit & power up his traits through ever increasing challenges in both enemy encounters and platforming.
It seems like quite the standard story element. Character forgets his/her past, character has to go searching for his/her past and inevitably character's past directly relates to the story they have been thrust into. But, with essentially a 1-man development force behind the game's creation it's not the story that shoves Dust into the limelight. It's the fluidity.
Fluidity through animation. Fluidity through controls. Fluidity through mechanics. Dust manages to show the big contenders in the world today that there's some things you have to nail, some things you have to get right. Some things that have been forgotten. Persuasive trio’s aside creativity captivates its audience with ultimate freedom with exaggerated movement and combat capabilities. Swiftly move through the environment utilising both your weapon and combining it with Fidget's abilities slashing at enemies in your path whilst spreading projectiles covering the screen, decimating foes. It's not just some mindless hack'n'slash though. Higher combos net for more experience, get hit and break your chain. If you want to advance you're going to have to be good. Especially as different enemies require different tactics. Queue the parry system.
This is just another part of Dust: An Elysian Tail that breaks the normality and challenges the convention of game development. Parry systems ala Devil May Cry 3 (Vergil/Vanguard battles, not Royal Guard) and Soul Calibur traditionally break the flow of gameplay, stuttering your character and enemy. Not in Dust. Parry an enemy and you're still in control. You can parry your enemy to control the battle and more importantly that enemy. Couple that with the expansive, yet standard, RPG self-allocated stats such as strength and speed and you have different ways of utilising the same mechanics suited to whether you like more elegantly styled play or whether you want to brutally force Dust through the world.
There are all sorts of different abilities to unlock as you progress through the game. And, in good Metroid-Vania style you'll be able to revisit areas with those abilities to get to otherwise inaccessible locales. So, go get your nostalgia goggles people because here comes a top quality HD take revisiting and updating the 2D genre of old proving that nothing is out of reach.
Dust: An Elysian Tail is a personal day 1 purchase. Such a beautiful game has a lot of consumers excited and for good reason. You can keep up to date with all the latest news and info at Humble Hearts' webpage www.noogy.com with additional screens, artwork and gameplay/teaser videos. Check it out and when the time comes lay down those Microsoft Points because this is just 1 in a line of games to be released on Xbox 360 that proves that there's still something new to be had free from mainstream media pressure.
XBLG Content Writer