“What the deuce?” I hear you cry; “You already reviewed From Dust back at the beginning of August!” Well, dear reader, you are totally correct; not only did we review it, we gave it a healthy 8/10.
However, that was on the Xbox 360, and with the game due out on the PS3 today we thought a quick refresher would be in order. In all honesty this may even be the first time some of you will have heard about the game.[drop2]From Dust is in the ‘God Sim’ genre. You take control of ‘The Breath’, which is an entity summoned by a tribe in desperate need of help. They are struggling to survive in a world where Mother Nature seems to be doing her best to wipe them out entirely, and it’s down to you to shape the landscape and generally keep the tribe out of trouble.
You do this by basically becoming some sort of “divine Caterpillar digger”, as Peter so eloquently put it. Each new chapter contains a map with totem poles dotted about, and the aim is to get a set number of tribe members to each of these poles, at which time the exit will open and allow you to progress to the next level.
Unfortunately getting to these totem poles is trickier than it sounds, and routes are normally blocked by water and the like. As The Breath you can manipulate earth, water and lava, sucking them up and depositing them elsewhere. A basic example of this would be taking earth and using it to create a bridge over a fast flowing stream, or using cooled lava to reinforce a dilapidated wall.
This is From Dust at its most basic. Needless to say it becomes far more complicated, as the world you inhabit is a particularly hostile one. Early on you will have to face tsunamis, which threaten to crash down on the tribe after every couple of minutes. The way to deal with this is quickly build a path to a supernatural stone, which will grant powers to the tribe and repel the incoming wall of water.
All of this is done on a time limit, and if the tribe member you send to the stone dies before he gets back to the village, then his knowledge of how to stop the water dies with him and you must send someone else in his/her place.
Having not completed the game I can’t comment fully, but what I have played so far certainly has been a challenge. There is a lot to monitor and you really have to be swift with your area manipulation. Thankfully controls are silky smooth on the pad, and have been streamlined so that all commands are just a fingertip away. Those holding on to hope will be disappointed to hear that Move has not been implemented in this version.
One thing I’m not keen on so far is the AI of the tribe members. Yes, I know you’re the one meant to be rescuing and guiding them, but when they refuse to move forward because of a pool of water two inches deep it leads to frustration. There was one point where I ended up with people scattered in three different areas of the map, cut off by the sea. I don’t even know how that happened, or why they ran that way! I’d make a lousy God.
Graphically From Dust looks gorgeous, with the physics being especially noteworthy. The liquids ebb and flow just how one would expect in real life, and Ubisoft has done a cracking job.
Hopefully this little preview has whet your appetite. If it has, then check out the YouTube video below of the game in action, then have a read of our full review.