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October 9, 2011
From Dust - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
14/9/2011$AU23.95UbisoftUbisoft Montpellier12-4
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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From Dust has some impressive visuals.
Ubisoft's marketing for From Dust has been interesting with plenty of emphasis placed on the games designer, Éric Chahi. Who you ask? Well not just you as we had to look him up as well. His biggest credit was the hit game Another World which was released in 1991 - yes, 20 years ago. So he's not quite the household name with a string of hits to his name. Nevertheless From Dust has been released and is available on the Playstation Store right now.

In From Dust you control the destiny of a primitive tribe against the backdrop of a world in constant evolution, a universe where mighty Nature reclaims what is hers and your mastery of the elements is your people’s only chance of survival...

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The natives head to the next temple.
From Dust includes two modes of play - the Story mode, and the Challenge mode. The story mode offers 13 unique worlds to explore with each containing a range of objectives to complete, some of which have time limits too. Admittedly there isn't really much of a storyline here, this is a strategy game where you skills in manipulating the lands and having the natives reach the objectives is key. These objectives may be to create several villages, divert rivers, create blockages with lava or save the natives from floods or fires.

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Lava, water and sand effects are superb.
Certainly a strength of this title is the simulation of effects such as water, fire, soil, and lava which is among the best we've seen in a video game and every action you take on the game world has an effect. Raise or lower the terrain and you can divert rivers, drop water on lava and it cools and solidifies, putting water on fires puts them out and so on.

Besides the story mode From Dust offers a suite of 30 Challenges to complete. These are pretty simple tasks lasting minutes only but see you trying to obtain the fastest time which will be compared to the rest of the world via online leaderboards.

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As you clear the lands vegetation grows.
In terms of disappointments the biggest is the lack of any online gameplay. While there are online leaderboards it would have been nice to see some online gameplay - be it co-op or competitive. Ubisoft have confirmed though that this is something that could be added in to the title at a later date. On occasion the objectives aren't as clear as they could be too.

Visually From Dust does hit all the right notes. The landscapes are gorgeous with water and sands able to be picked up and moved which thereby changes the way in which the water and lava flows or the fires race through forests. Moving around the world is silky smooth, as is zooming in or out while the people run around smoothly.

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The village is surrounded by lava.
Music is suitably subtle in nature while the effects, including speech in some primitive language, conveys what it intends with surround sound channels kicking in nicely. It's nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done well enough.

Those looking for something to rival the classic Populous will be left somewhat disappointed, but ultimately this strategy/puzzle game remains a very entertaining title. The lack of multiplayer disappoints - even a co-op mode would have been a positive - but it's an experience worth checking out if the premise interests you.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSGorgeous visuals highlighted by stunning water, lava, fire and sand.
SOUNDAdequate music and effects which become somewhat repetitive.
GAMEPLAYQuite unique, quite entertaining, quite engrossing. Not quite exceptional.
VALUEAbout 6 hours for the main campain and 30 challenges. No online disappoints.
OVERALLFrom Dust is a pretty impressive game that offers some unique gameplay. The biggest disappointment is the lack of online gameplay and game modes, but for the price its worth a look.

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