A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dust: An Elysian Tale is a download-only game available for Xbox 360 that offers up an action-packed experience suitable for older tweens. There's a good deal of sword-based combat here, but it's cartoonish and mild; the game's non-human enemies simply tumble away and disappear when defeated. The graphics in most levels are generally bright, colorful, and almost dream-like, and make a good match for the light-hearted narrative, which features a young protagonist and allies who are clearly good guys intent on helping others.
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What's it about?
DUST: AN ELYSIAN TALE is a side-scrolling action game available for download through Xbox Live Arcade. Players control Dust, a young man who wakes up in the forest with no memory. Dust is startled to find a sentient sword nearby that tells him he has something important he needs to do. So begins a journey through a monster-infested world. Players spend much of their time helping folks by running errands, finding lost loved ones, and protecting towns from invading creatures. Role-playing elements figure into the action, with players able to grow Dust's abilities, collect materials to craft items, and swap out their armor and accessories as they find more powerful gear. Players can hop between areas, revisiting locations once they have the power to access previously unavailable areas, making for a surprisingly lengthy adventure filled with plenty of side quests and hidden goodies.
Is it any good?
Dust: An Elysian Tale may be worth playing simply to take in its gorgeous anime-style graphics. The game begins with a run through a lush green forest filled with beautifully animated animals, including families of deer frolicking together and rabbits washing their cute faces with their paws. Things get a little darker as the game progresses, but the game's unique beauty persists.
The action, unfortunately, is a bit ho-hum. A variety of moves and attacks are unlocked over time, but most players will likely just mash buttons to plough through the game's baddies and wind up finding battles a bit monotonous. It's a shame that the imagination and care that went into the game's presentation didn't continue on through to play. Instead, Dust: An Elysian Tale is a visual feast with a mediocre core.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. Do you think aggression depicted in violent games continues to be felt by players after they switch off their consoles?
Families can also discuss storytelling in games. Do you ever feel drawn to video game stories and characters, or do you just mash buttons to skip narrative scenes? Do you think games can tell meaningful stories from which we can learn things about ourselves?
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