Thursday, June 9, 2011

From Dust: E3 2011

From Dust, by Ubisoft, is a god game in which you use abilities and terraforming to save and guide the villagers that rely on you. It will be for xbox 360 and ps3 and it comes out late June. If you have played Populous or Black and White then you will understand what kind of game this is. There has really been any games to fill this niche in a good long time, maybe since Black and White 2. I got to try this game hand on several times during my last day of E3. I wish this game had been easier to find, I didn't even see it until then. It boasts some great graphics, unique gameplay and interesting concepts. The version I got to try had really good framerate and other than needing a little polishing, it looked ready to go.

The mechanics of the game are really well done. On a xbox 360 controller, you use the left trigger to pick up dust or rock and then the right trigger to place it on a area. Sounds simple right? Sort of. You can use the terraforming to divert rivers, create land bridges, make islands, move water and much more. When you create blockades for water it doesn't just simply stop and end, it finds a way to keep going. It moves realistically, if you block something and it has no other option then it will build up and overflow over whatever you blocked it with. When you pick up dust or rock you can collect large amounts of it by rolling it across the map into a giant dust or rockball.

The first level I played starts with one village, with 5 villagers, on a little island offshore of a much larger island. There is a timer counting down in the top part of the screen, once that reaches zero a tsunami will come and easily wipe out that little island and parts of the larger one. The first time I played I failed and everyone was murdering by the crushing tsunami, but the second time I managed to get a better handle on the terraforming and was able to obtain a ability that allows the villager to be protected from the tsunami, which looks fantastic. The wall of water hits the island and it flows around the side, with tall walls of water flowing everywhere but on the village. The second level I got to check out added lava to the mix. With lava you can increase the rocky areas of the map, like mountains. You need to use the lava in the second level to greatly increase the small mountainside in order to make it withstand the coming tsunami. Later on there are different kinds of events that may happen, like volcanoes. The first couple levels were a bit difficult but really enjoyable and interesting once you got down the mechanics.
I can't wait to see the retail version of this game, which should be out in about three weeks, no one gave me a definite release date. I was a fan of the Populous's and the two Black and Whites, which apparently means I will be a fan of From Dust, because so far I am. Check out the video for some hands on footage.

Written by Sean Cargle


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