DISCLAIMER: I have played Dust on the Xbox 360 ánd PC, testing out both control schemes. I finished the game on the Xbox 360 as I prefer controllers, but mouse and keyboard work good enough as well.Dust: The Best Tail I've chased and played with in a while
This is the story of Dust
, a person with extraordinary capabilities. When I first met Dust, I did not think much of him.
He felt generic, not showing his face, having amnesia and struggling to find out where he came from. I did not connect much with the furry man, as such a story is hardly original.
Fortunately, his gameplay did connect with me from the start. He hacked and slashed like a true soldier, finding keys, treasures, abilities, upgrades and many more fine, fun things in true MetroidVania fashion. One could even find a small funny easter egg related to the horrible CastleVania II when you look hard enough(You'll chuckle when you find it). With such gameplay and 2D graphics, one might ask if such a game has still the right to exist amongst contemporary gamers. The answer is a loud and clear YES.From Whence it Came
As I travelled through the world of Falana, I was amazed how much I did start to connect with Dust now. The man was truly regretful of his past and sought to redeem himself through every possible noble deed he could manage. My little companion Fidget started to grow on me too. Being a flying whatever-the-♥♥♥♥-its-name-is with a high-pitched voice and a knack for being scared ♥♥♥♥less and knowing everything better, the little critter soon turned into a lifelong friend of mine.
And of course there was Ahra, the mystical and mysterious (Wow, never thought to use 2 words in the same sentence starting with 'my') sword. What was his purpose? What was our purpose with him? What did he know about us and what did he keep silent from us? The plot started to deepen, becoming ever more emotional from chapter to chapter.
The journey felt like a personal growth, a new sense of understanding the world. Rising Phoenix
Hacking and slashing through hordes of enemies is fun, but not necessarily very hard. Granted, I finished the game on normal, but even on normal I did not die many times. Fortunately, there are two extra difficulty levels (tough + hardcore), which can be set from the very first playthrough.
As mentioned, Dust can be upgraded and level up, giving you the option to invest more in Dust's defense, attack or Fidget (the flying critter has interesting powers). Items can be crafted from materials that you gather from fallen enemies, such as pendants, rings, armor and augments. The only downside to the crafting is that you do not actually see Dust wearing the item. Also old school I guess.
If grinding to get all the materials you need isn't your thing, there is a nice mechanic with a travelling salesman that follows you throughout your travels. Sell him one piece of a particular material he doesn't have and he'll "catalogue" it. After that, he will update his stock over time and provide you with the materials you once sold him....And the Dust Settles
After clearing the final area and defeating the final boss, I realized something. I actually cried at the ending of this visually stunning video game. Being created by just a SINGLE person (aside from the story and music), this game is something very, very special. For little money you get at least 10 hours of gameplay, make that 20 hours if you're a completionist like me.
The gameplay is solid, the controls are fine and the story and progression are perfect.
This is an indie game which could easily be viewed as a triple AAA title.
My final, personal score: 8.5/10