From Dust Hands-on Peview
Well, it’s not quite E3 yet, but Ubisoft just couldn’t wait to start showing off. Last week they had a special sneak peek of some of the games they’ll be bringing to E3, including the long awaited From Dust. I got to spend some quality time with this game and it was definitely a memorable experience.
This new title will put the player in the role of an unseen godlike figure tasked with helping a tribe of mask wearing humans recover the relics of their ancestors. To this end, the player is given control over the elements. For example, I was able to pick up sand from one part of the island and deposit it in a river to form a land bridge. I was also able to pick up lava and deposit it on my tribesmen to form melted tribesmen. Although that second example really isn’t the aim of the game.
In order for me to actually advance in From Dust, I had to help the humans get to new shrines which allow you to form villages. Once all the shrines on the map have been turned into villages, the player advances to the next level. In addition to forming villages, shrines can also grant the humans new powers. Your tribe will need these powers to survive disasters, like the tsunami that threatened to wipe out one of my villages. I used my element controlling abilities to guide one lone adventurer to a shrine, which gave the humans the power to bend waves to their will. The tsunami raged around the primitive tribe but the water didn’t touch them. The people were saved! Sadly, this village was later wiped out by a strange lava rain that I swear I had nothing to do with.
From Dust features fantastic graphics. Upon zooming out, I was struck by just how realistic the environment looked. The diversity and detail made me feel as if I was looking at aerial footage of an actual island. The physics too, are amazing. Water and lava seem to flow naturally across the map. It would appear that From Dust has benefited from the 3 years it spent in development.
My one concern with From Dust is that players won’t be able to create their own islands. The game’s creative director Eric Chahi confirmed that “there will be no level editor” included with From Dust. It’s a shame, because this is the type of game where players could spend hours devising their own maps with unique puzzles.
This one drawback won’t stop me from downloading From Dust once it hits Xbox live this summer. The game’s originality, stunning graphics and ability to let me pour lava on people make it too hard to resist.