Thursday, August 4, 2011

From Dust Review Xbox 360

All around magical! That is the experience From Dust delivers. This game is developed and produced by Ubisoft; it comes out August 17th for PC and it came out on Xbox 360 on July 27th, both of which for $15. I finally finished this game and delved into the five pages of extra challenges. The main story of From Dust is about a tribe of people who have no memory of their ancestors, thus they need you, The Breath, to lead them through a series of trials in order to regain their lost knowledge. Surprisingly, for a small game like this, the story is actually a bit of a draw. You only get a narration at the beginning of each level, but I loved that it is spoken in a foreign language, possibly a made-up one, that gives you just enough information to intrigue you further. When i started the game I didn't think the story was going to make sense or actually conclude, but it does actually succeed in both of those regards. However, it's a little difficult to understand what's going on until the last couple levels. Many levels are presented in a very earthly way, showing how many elements can exist together and work in unison. A lot of people want to compare this game to some of the old PC god like games, but it's not like any of them.
A quick recap for anyone who doesn't know anything about this game. You are a god that has powers that allow you to move the land, sea and lava. You can use these elements to create a safe area for your villagers, which you can do by making land bridges, creating walls to divert lava away from your villages, using water to put out fires and these are only a few of the many possible methods. The world reacts to your powers in very lifelike ways. For example, if you build up a wall of dirt, or stone, in front of a river then it will either go around it naturally or eventually wear it down and go right over it. I also love the way volcanoes work, they start as small eruptions, but they grow exponentially bigger and overtake the landscape. As volcanoes die out, the storms come and turn all the lava burnt soil into fresh dirt over a short period of time. It feels like a natural and realistic progression, one that I'm glad they took the time to implement. To top it all off, you have powers that can be used to help you even the odds against things like tsunamis, volcanoes and storms.
My favorite level was one in which you started in the crater of a Volcano. You start a village and by the time it get's going the volcano starts erupting from the dead center of the map and it has a countdown timer of about forty seconds. You have to immediately find the fire protection spell, an item that you have to direct your villagers to find and return to the village. Once you get your village protected from fire/lava, you may think that you are now safe to explore the rest of the volcano, but then the sky starts turning dark and the game gives you a (purposefully?) late warning to be wary of floods. A storm approaches and starts filling up everything, successfully drowning my village and all of it's inhabits. I tried to use my powers to them, but the storm was too strong and I had to restart. It took me a while to learn that I needed to move my village as close to the erupting volcano as I could. As long as the village was protected from lava, then I could let the lava flow around it and stop the approaching the flood from overtaking it. You may think that level sounds simple, but the rest of that level showed me how complicated and drawn out they are. Later on, I had assumed I was relieved of the storms and lava, but then lava erupted from all corners of the world, preventing any kind of vegetation from growing or my villages from expanding. I watched as everything burned and was covered by lava, but this time I was relived to see the storms coming again; I had no quick way to rid the land of lava, but for water I had learned an evaporation ability that dealt with water quickly and the water would eventually overpower the lava and save me from suffocation.
Many levels have slightly secret knowledge stones to find, I say slightly secret because they are fairly easy to spot, and if acquired they will give you some of the lost knowledge of the ancients. You have a knowledge database that explains all the elements of the game, like animals, plants, powers and several other aspects. You unlock all of the lost knowledge through the knowledge stones and by filling the vegetation meter. When you build a village, trees and plants will automatically start sprouting up near it and if it is connected to any plain dirt then the vegetation will naturally spread. Some levels are desert biomes and require you to pour water into the dirt in order for plants/trees to grow. Once you cover enough of the surface will plants, on every single level, you will unlock new knowledge. There is all an achievement for covering every level in the game with 100% vegetation. However, you don't have to actually cover 100% of the map with vegetation, more like 30% of the map.

Here's a look at one of the Challenges
by Aaronthesplazer
If you love nature and being able transform it, then you will likely love the general idea of this game. On top of that, the story has to do with the elements of nature by showing how they interact and evolve. The graphics in this game are top notch, espcially for a game with a small price tag. Some of the landscapes that you can create are breathtaking, so is watching a volcano erupt violently. The story will last you 5-10 hours and on top of that the challenges are bound to last you another couple hours. Thankfully, the challenges are actually pretty fun and don't feel like gimmicks just thrown as extra content. There some negatives about this game though; there are one or two strenuous levels that are not exactly fun to play, mainly because they require a crazy amount of micromanagement. Also, some villagers get stuck sometimes and you have to move the earth around them (or throw water on them) to get them moving again. Those are the only negatives I have found in this game to complain about though. I found it to be a very pleasant and enjoyable experience. Also, the last level is a huge pay off by allowing you to use the ultimate powers of a god. If you can't already tell, I really liked this game and the only people I can't recommend it too are people who won't enjoy something that doesn't involve explosions and shooting.

Violent Score: 9 (out of 10)

Thanks for reading,
-Written by Sean Cargle


Post a Comment