By Joe Sigadel / January 6th, 2016
|Title||DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours|
|Release Date||Dec 3, 2015|
|Genre||Bullet Hell, Sci-Fi Shmup|
I’ve been playing bullet hell games for the site for a while now, and every one of them has had something unique to make them stand out among the pack. In the case of DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours, it at first appears to be your typical sci-fi space shooter, but there’s a lot that it offers under its hood. With literally thousands of levels to choose from, all allowing you to take branching paths, DARIUSBURST has enough content to keep you going for a long, long time. DARIUSBURST Chronicles Saviours is the latest enhanced remake of DARIUSBURST, which originally appeared on the PlayStation Portable. There isn’t much of a plot to speak of, but it plays like a really difficult Gradius featuring aquatic monstrous robot bosses that will pelt you with everything they’ve got.
There are three main modes of play in DARIUSBURST. In CS Mode, you select an area from the galaxy map and choose from an Original stage, which is just a straight-up shmup level; Defender, in which you defend your allies from continuous waves of enemy ships; and Scramble, a time attack stage to see how quickly you can gun down the opposition. In Original (+EX) mode, the game plays out as it would in arcade, allowing you to select a set of stages, followed by branches which allow you to make the game slightly easier or harder depending on which route you end up taking. EX mode is simply a harder version of the original mode, but that doesn’t mean much — this is a bullet hell after all, so it goes without saying that this whole game is tough. Where other bullet hells are happy to just shoot massive amounts of bullets, lasers and projectiles at you, DARIUSBURST tosses everything but the kitchen sink, as swarms of ships will often swoop in to try to collide with you, kamikaze style. It gets overwhelming at times, even on the easiest difficulty. Fortunately you aren’t punished in any way for losing your lives: you can continue on without suffering a penalty to your score.
At the end of each stage you’ll face a boss based on some dangerous sea creature — I’ve fought seahorses, jellyfish, eels, sharks, whales, a barracuda and lobster. The designs are pretty creative, but you won’t have much time to admire them before they launch their bullet barrages at you. Fighting them feels like you’re unloading into a bullet sponge, and it’s quite difficult to avoid attacks which cover a good amount of the screen space you have to work with. You have a limited shield which acts as your health, so you’ll most likely survive for just a few seconds before getting blown away, rinsing and repeating until the boss finally explodes. Regardless of which mode you pick, a play session of DARIUSBURST Chronicles Saviours is fairly short, it lasts about 15-20 minutes before you’re all done. This makes it a great title for pick up and play, all you have to do is beat three brief stages at a time.
The production values for DARIUSBURST are fairly good, and the animations look pretty decent, particularly on the boss creatures. The music consists of mostly futuristic ambient tracks that set a somber, yet active mood, but ups the tempo whenever a boss appears. It’s hit or miss, I didn’t find the soundtrack to be exceptional myself. DARIUSBURST also supports up to 1080p resolution on a single monitor and offers 4 player local co-op, so you can invite your friends over to conquer the fish-themed space navy with you. Unfortunately, DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours’ premium quality also comes at a premium price ($49.99!), which I think will turn off a lot of would-be buyers of this game. While the overwhelming stage variety is nice, the average person won’t be able to tell the difference when bosses are used and re-used, only changing their attack patterns slightly to catch you off guard. It’s hard to recommend this one at full price, but if you see a discount, you should consider it for yourself if you’re a collector of bullet hell games. Otherwise, there are plenty of cheaper options to be had on Steam. PS4 and Vita owners might find it a little more enticing, since there aren’t nearly as many bullet hell shmups out for those platforms.
Review copy was provided by the publisher
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