Also available on PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android, Windows, and arcade
I'm gonna be frank here - as much as I ADORE arcade shmups, I've never played a Darius game before. Heresy, I know. So I went into this one with a blank slate in terms of expectations. All I knew was that this was probably the most hyped Limited Run release (not to mention the most expensive due to the high digital price) and that the series had a respected pedigree. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I was not disappointed.
Dariusburst is a horizontally scrolling shooter, and while I prefer vertically scrolling shooters, this one is QUITE good. There are a few different gameplay modes. You've got your regular arcade mode, called AC mode, which you can play either with infinite lives to practice or on with your standard allotment of lives (I think 3 is default). If that's too easy for you, there's Original EX mode. It's the same style as AC Mode except that instead of Easy, Medium, and Hard paths, you have all new stages with Expert, Extreme, and Exceed difficulty paths. Then there's CS mode which is a gargantuan mode with over 200 missions. Then there's the online Chronicle Mode, divided into 64 different servers, which boasts over 3000 stages and can be tackled and progressed by people from all over the world. With nine playable ships and a bunch more from various companies' IPs that can be purchased as DLC, there's a wide array of aesthetic options.
The gameplay itself is on point. The hitbox isn't too big like I felt it was in MUSHA, and it doesn't quite go into "bullet hell" territory with 90% of the screen taken up by shots like Ikaruga tends to do. The levels themselves are fun with multiple enemy types and formations, usually coming from the right but, in later levels, also attacking from the left. You've got some special "burst" attacks that I typically save for hoards of enemies or the final boss. As for the enemy bosses, they're the real stars of the show here in my opinion. They're all GIANT ROBOT ALIEN SEA CREATURES. That's the coolest shit in the world. Most of them have attack patterns that are relatively easy to figure out, but there are a few that are either tricky to figure out or just tricky to avoid even after you've figured it out.
My biggest gripe with the game is that they seem to have gone for quantity over quality with the levels. I mean, over 200 levels in CS mode, and over 3000 levels in Chronicle mode? They all start to feel REALLY samey after a while. I'd have rather had a story mode with 20 good, unique levels than hundreds and hundreds of cookie cutter levels. I know that's a personal thing - some people would prefer an ass ton of samey levels - but it's a definite con in my book. I'm all for survival modes with endless waves and stuff, but this just seems excessive to me. It's not a survival mode - there's a definite end - so I don't really think that massive number of levels was the best design choice.
Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Saviors is a fantastic arcade shmup. It's not without its flaws, but it's positives more than make up for the few negatives. If you're REALLY into this game and want to keep playing forever and ever, then it's got you covered with the 200+ level CS mode and the 3000+ level Chronicle mode. For most of us, I suspect the AC mode will suffice for our fix every now and then, but there's definitely a lot of game here to experience, even if it is mostly filler. There are some questionable design choices with out CS mode and Chronicle mode were made, but even with that in mind, Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Saviors is a must-buy for any fans of the genre.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.