Status: 10 missions in CS Mode completed, 3 missions in AC mode completed
The presentation is top-notch. Transitions, particles, animations, models are all greatly done and the game runs at 60+ FPS. It still looks like a PS3 game and it’s not something you would call not something you would call “current generation”, but you don’t play shoot’em’ups for “cutting edge graphics developments and ultra realistic shaders”.
It’s also very well optimized, no framerate drops and some people say they can play it on old laptops.
I absolutely love it. The music is probably why Dariusburst regarded as an “offbeat” shooter, because truth to be said, that’s the main thing which distinguishes it from thousands of other shooters. Avantgardish upbeat jazzy tunes with a touch of bizarre vocals, ambientish piece with opera-like female vocals, etc. One of the levels even had the original track from an early SNES Darius game, in all its 16-bit glory.
Some of tracks really stick with you. Worth listening to outside of the game, that’s for sure.
The movement of your ship is very fluid, controls are responsive, bullets on the screen have different colors, shapes and overall are recognizable. More details in the mode reviews below.
I couldn’t play this mode for long because of the aspect ratio on a single monitor. It really hurts the experience for me and distracts from gameplay (and the text becomes barely readable).
All I can say from what I’ve seen that it’s a port of an arcade game, classic Darius campaign with multiple routes for you to choose from. The enemies and levels are the same ones you see in CS mode. It features three modes in itself and has local co-op support (up to 4 players). It worth noting that there’s an option for Unlimited Lives right from the start, very useful for people who play shoot’em’ups rather casually and want to see all content in the game or players who just gave up on trying to beat it.
If you have a dual monitor setup, go for it. It looks fantastic:
Loading screen with boss fight hints wasn’t translated at all. Overall it feels like a very direct port from arcade. As the result, you can make a dedicated “arcade like” cabinet just for this game (if you a hardcore fan).
CS Mode Review
You’re given a special preset for your ship before you start a level. Instead of “coins”, you have a number of hits you can take before it’s Game Over. I believe the number changes with the ship preset, but it’s about 30 for the standard one. 26 hits for Life 1, and then 3-4 hits for the rest of them (you usually have 3-4 lives per area).
First levels are a walk in the park, but just by Level 5 or so the difficulty goes up and by Levels 9 and 10 it’s already pretty tough and requires many thing to memorize.
Don’t let these first levels fool you, Dariusburst Chronicles is a hardcore and tough game.
“3000+ levels” is listed as the main feature of the game, but for me it’s a one huge fault.
Everything feels like it was randomly generated, no zone has its own face. What’s worse, is what bosses are also always the same and they repeat all the time. You complete one level, beat the boss and then you meet the same boss on the very next one. And then again. And again, and again and again. They all have different variations which change their attack patterns a bit, but they still all the same and have the same battle music.
Standard enemy appearances are no different, you see the same patterns with the same enemies, same obstacles, same “surprise” enemy attacks. You almost cry in happiness when you see something new in the next area you play, be it a new music track or just a different background. It’s recycled to no end and this is what made me to leave the game without willing to play it further. It should be noted that people who say “wow, it’s so full of content, hundreds of levels” are the same ones who enjoy endless grinding in JRPGs because “wow, I spent so many time on these battles, this 1000+ hour RPG is a great value for my money and developers surely didn’t use any cheap tricks to make the game longer!”
But hey, there’s still the AC mode. I just wish to have a dual monitor setup to play it properly.
The price of 50$ is pretty high, especially since it’s a digital release. Lowering it to 20-25$ would be a better solution, in my opinion.