Two days ago, From Dust premiere took place and something in my head told me to get this game. In March this year I've placed this title on my - must have - list and since then I almost forgot about it. I could get well reviewed Limbo or Bastion, but I've decided to get something, that nobody else want to play. Did I made a good decision?
My first impressions after seeing gameplay on my own eyes was something between - It's not Crysis 2 - and - It's neat. All those water effects and shaders are really good looking, but here is the point where audio-visual benefits are ending. I haven't noticed much music in this game, It's not like it's not there it's so neutral you don't pay attention to it, and I like good songs in games. Sounds of environment as itself aren't bad, I've played Black & White a long time ago so it's hard to compare. But the worst part is that you feel like it's pure port from consoles. you can change resolution and that's pretty much all. I don't know about you, but myself I like all those switches and buttons which allow me to change display settings, but instead you get locked 30fps no matter what PC you got.
Game interface is pretty simple, but your cursor or hand - or whatever this thing is - have that bad habbit to hide somewhere and you have to wave it for few seconds to see where did it dissapeared. I've learned fairly quick basic rules, but after three hours of playing, still some solutions hurts. For example - grabing some material like sand or water take so much time if we compare it to dropping it (and how much amount we drop). Maybe it's only me or it's developer who tried to lock brutal-force solutions. Anyway, if you make sandbox game you can't forbid players doing something, it's just bad. For example - I want to make an volcano, but after five minutes of dropping sand I get small hillrock, and I just give up.
Campaign is fairly straightforward if you just want to get to next map. You have to conquer all villages on map - survive in the meantime - and get to the portal. At the beginning I though this game will be easy, and unfortunetly it is. Of course I put myself higher standards and I do all "side-quests" - only if making all map green you treat as quest. So far I've done a bit more than half of the missions (you have 13 of them). From lack of time or desire I haven't finished From Dust yet, but there is no indication that plot is going to change.
As in every sandbox game after a while you catch - "Sandbox Syndrome" - you have no idea or no ability to build something so you desire to turn everything into dust (irony). Unfortunetly although this is a sandboux, you have hands tied. You can't throw rocks, blow shit up or send plauge on your followers. Only things you can do (which I invented) is to flood village - after struggling with water flow or drop lava on it (which congeals in one second and don't spread). It's a big loss.
Last stop - or nail in the coffin - are challanges. Besides campaing you can finish challanges made by developres. There are a big variety of them - from very easy to fairly challenging. Unfortunetly there is no reward from completing them. You can't compare your results with friends - well, you can send screenshot - you don't get popular achievments or other way to share your scores. Of course we can't access all challanges, you have to finish campaign levels (and do all "side quests") to gain access to new challanges.
Developers (or Eric Chahi itself) said that they wanted to implement multiplayer mode and level editor but it depeneds on sales. Personaly I feel like I've been slapped in my face. I paid 15 euros on game which feels like a demo version. Missions are short, you can get back to them and continue but there is no point, because only thing you can do is drop sand. There are no resources system, no leveling, no buildings, you don't gather anything or hunt on anything. From Dust should be much, much cheaper or premiere should be postponed until it will contain something more, because now for 15 euros I can find at least 5 games which give more fun and satisfaction. If multiplayer mode (which frankly I don't know how could look like), making your own challanges and sharing them and most important - any compete system will show up you can rise final note by 1 or even 2. By now it's 4/10, I expected more, I got "demo" version.