altered_confusion's Dust: An Elysian Tail (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Dust: An Elysian Tail Review

This game was a long time coming. I first saw it at PAX (well PAX: PRIME, before there was a PAX East), and it won a competition put together by Microsoft, and then it kind of disappeared off the radar. Now its finally released to the public. In this artistic side scrolling RPG game you'll be playing the part of someone named Dust, a person who can't remember his past, but who fights to correct the wrongs that seem to be happening to the land and its people.

Graphically this game looks amazing. The hand drawn characters and enemies look so smooth, and their movements are flawless. This alone drew me in when I first got a chance to play the game. The levels are also stunning. The overworld map leaves a little bit to be desired, but when it came to actually playing through the levels, this game truly stood out. My only problem with the graphics were the vocal cut scenes. The characters were just zoomed in versions of the ones that you saw moving around on the screen, and as in most cases when you zoom in you see the flaws. In some cases it was the magenta that was used for transparency, in others it just made things look jagged.

The voice acting was done well in the game, so was the music. As in most games of this type the music gave you cues of upcoming danger, and for that I was very thankful.

The controls were solid in the game. Sure there were a couple of times that I accidentally used the food to heal when I meant to change Fidget's attack, but overall the spin attack, Fidget's attacks, regular attacks and movements felt crisp when I tried to execute those actions.

So you're Dust, you've been put in a world that is torn apart by war. There is an army out there trying to vanquish a race of beings called the Moonbloods. You wake up to find a talking sword wanting to be your guide, and the guardian of the sword, Fidget, a cat mixed with a bat, who will never leave your side as long as you have the sword. You'll have to take on numerous quests and tasks, all of which will help you get better supplies and level up quicker. You'll have to make the decision of what stat to upgrade every time you level up. Will it be health, attack, defense, or will you make Fidget's attacks more powerful. The very interesting thing about the leveling up is that you can't simply pour all your points (or gems) into one stat, you can only get 4 slots ahead of your lowest stat. This forces you to keep a balanced character, but at the same time you can definitely do a little crafting of your character. Speaking of crafting, once you've found the blacksmith you'll be able to use the blueprints that some enemies drop. I highly recommend always trying to create the items that will boost your character's stats the most. I know that sounds like a simple thought that everyone should know, but at the same time when you're being swarmed by enemies screen after screen you might not stop and take a look at what you picked up. Anyways you'll get to explore several different locations, unlock secrets in the world, and also gain a couple of special moves that will open up whole new areas.

After playing this game from start to finish on the Normal setting I have this to say, get this game, you won't regret it. There's a lot of hack and slash to it, the graphics are amazing, and when you start doing some amazing combos you'll be drawn so far in that only the ending will release you (or perhaps the ending is just the beginning?). This game gets a 9.5 out of 10.

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