Over the last week, I
was looking at videos and the like for Dust. Dust is one of the
latest releases for the 360 Live Arcade. I was drawn in to the game
once I saw the visuals. I love the idea of playing games that look
fluid and fun despite having a very well displayed artistic feel.
Dust has this with what looked like a Metroid/Castlevania game play
style combined with art that looks like it was lifted from a hand
drawn animated movie. Well, that was almost enough to get me to open
my wallet. When I remembered having a $50 points card on my Live
account and having used only a couple bucks from it (it was a reward
for taking part in a Microsoft Usability Study)...well, I bought
I was expecting a fun
game. What I got was definitely fun, but goes so much further. It is
a Castlevania or Metroid style game in all ways, with quests thrown
in. You buy and acquire new items, new equipment, you have smaller
subsections of a large world to explore, and you have a character
that goes through the natural progression of a Metroid game in which
you don't have many moves to start, but learn new tricks as the game
progresses. All of this makes for a great experience, but also it
gives a reason for you to constantly reinvestigate old maps as you
open new abilities and gain new keys to forgotten doors.
To put it simple, Dust
is one of the most standout games I've seen in a long time. I have
been a fan of the blending of RPG and Metroid since I first saw an
import video of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on a Playstation
Underground demo disk. This game doesn't offer much that is new (I
mean you don't even have the chance for a new weapon), but it does
everything correctly. You have a combo system that rewards you with
bonus experience for making a high combo without being hit. You also
have a magic system that offers a fun chance to see if you can
exploit the combo system...before you realize it's not an exploit
and it's actually a chance to lose by focusing more on small damage
hits than on sword swipes that do real damage. You also can then use
the experience to level in your own way by selecting if you upgrade
HP, attack, defense, or special attack at each level.
I think the main thing
that can say how good Dust is is one simple fact; I put down the end
of Dawn Guard for Darksiders 2. I put down Darksiders 2 for Dust.
So, vicariously, Dust is stopping me from finishing Skyrim. Now that
says something when I've dropped more than 155 hours in Skyrim and
never felt bored.