Dust: An Elysian Tail – Remarkable!

Honesty is very refreshing and I will be completely honest and say that Dust AET was nowhere on my radar when I looked at the summer of Arcade titles for 2012. As the weeks progressed I started learning of one with skills unmatched, a talking sword and a flying nimbat. I was still very skeptical until I saw a stream by Noogy that ran very similar to this one. Once I saw the animation, the action, heard the score and experienced part of the adventure, I realized that my ignorance for this title was absolutely unnecessary.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is 2D metroid-like RPG that received a lot of exposure due to the nature of the project being put together by one man. Yes, there’s a writer, actors but the animation of the game was done by Dean over 3 ½ years.  Dean decided that he wanted to make a game, grabbed the XNA kit and went on his very way. What do we have to show for it you ask? Well, I will say that this is one of the most remarkable experiences that capture many elements from beloved RPGs to world renowned hack and slashers we know and love today.

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Dust AET begins with our unlikely hero (Dust) experiencing memory lost only to wake up to a talking sword (Ahrah) and a talking flying Nimbat (Fidget). Ahrah and Fidget accompany Dust on his travels as they both become tremendous assets to his journey. Over the course of his travel s Dust regains his memory to find out that he resembles the one with the great army that is destroying the land.  Dust, with minimal memory has a big responsibility ahead of him to face the undefeated army awaiting his arrival. During his Journey Dust fights creatures and in the process levels himself up and fidget as well. There are stores that are available when can purchase food, augments and armor so he can stay fit and leveled for battle. One of the quickest ways to get Dust leveled up is through the combo chains – the higher the chain, the more experience points you’ll receive at the end of it. Aside from that Dust can get his categories built up through various blueprints dropped that the blacksmith can put provided that you have the necessary items. This aspect alone lures you to explore the areas on the map to discover those items that will keep you ahead of the strength curve when compared to your enemies.

Fidget on the other hand is somewhat of a copycat and you’ll be very happy about that. As you level her up her attacks become much more powerful. Abilities are discovered along the way as you play while some are earned through boss fights.

When immersed into this beautiful world, it is very easy to just stop and stare at the remarkable details of the characters and the worlds. From coves, to castles to mountains and valleys – You will be revisiting the worlds to admire the beauty that it possesses.  The dialogue throughout the game is memorable and priceless and well done. The controls scheme was easy to get used to – Dishwasher and Ninja Gaiden players will feel right at home. The game would not be complete without the awesome OST that serenades you every step of your journey. There’s isn’t any area of the game where I believe that was short of “now that’s what I’m talking about”. This title is a wonderful experience through and through. Between the side quests and the actual storyline, you’re looking at well over 8+ hours of game play – an incredibly satisfying one for new and seasoned individuals of this multi-genre.

Dust has taken everything I’ve ever enjoyed about video games and has given me a recipe for sleepless nights. I hate you Dust; no I don’t. What you’ll find here includes a great adventure, memorable characters, epic swordplay and beautiful animations. Game of the year contenders should look like this some would say and I would have to agree.

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