Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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The best XBLA Game you’ve never played

These days there’s dozens of those THE BEST 10 XBLA GAMES YOU’VE NEVER PLAYED articles all over the internet. And, if you’ve read some of them, you’ll know they usually have an overlap of about 6 titles, leading to a constant stream of the same 15 or so titles that are apparently ‘underrated’. Okay, cool story, but what if I told you there’s actually one game that you probably haven’t played, or even heard of, and isn’t constantly listed in these stupid little lists?
Keep reading.

The game I’d like to talk about is called From Dust, a Godgame from (you would never guess this) Ubisoft.
Ubisoft still makes games?
And they’re not terrible?
I guess Ubisoft does better with its in-house IPs than the IPs it’s publishing, huh?

Regardless, the thing that should strike you as odd isn’t that the game was developed by Ubisoft but that I just described it as a Godgame. Because it’s 2013. And it’s been…oh…a FRIGGIN’ DECADE since the last Godgame? Okay, technically it was released in 2005, but ‘a decade’ sounds better in all caps than ‘almost a decade’.
So what are Godgames you ask? Well, my dear friend, they’re games in which you are in the position of a God. The most famous examples of this type of game are Populous and Black & White, both amazingly awesome games if I might say so.

In From Dust, you are the God guiding a tribe of faceless worshippers in their quest of enlightenment. Your almighty hand is able to transport water, sand and lava to wherever you wish in your efforts to keep your villagers safe from the natural disasters just waiting to happen all around them. In this, From Dust is most reminiscent of Populous, where you also led a tribal society, although there the goal was destruction of other societies while here your enemies are no one but Mother Nature herself. You will erect walls, drain basins and scream at your screen to protect your little tribe members from being washed away, burned up or disappearing off the face of the earth.
The gameplay is immensely entertaining, not only because of the inherent joy of using God-like powers, but also because every level is new and fresh and offers a different challenge than the previous one. Every level is like a sort of puzzle you have to solve. Maybe there’s an active volcano in the middle of the map that will keep spouting fire until you redirect a river to quench it, or maybe there’s a waterfall that floods the entire land below, or you have to create a mountain from scratch to settle your village on so the ever raging tides of the sea don’t wash it away.
Variety is key in From Dust, and even though the general gameplay mechanics remain the same you will quickly find the same strategy doesn’t work in every level, no matter how hard you try. The game always forces you to think outside the box and allows you to come up with the most creative solutions to your problems, never spoonfeeding you anything more than the simple objectives.

What really adds to the experience are the game’s graphics. Powered by Ubisofts own proprietary LyN engine (also used on a bunch of terrible Wii games) the physics displayed are simply amazing. Water and lava behave exactly the way you’d expect them to on a large scale, which makes the physics puzzles as fun as they are and makes it so you never feel cheated by the game. Sand actually corrodes and shifts over time, rivers deposit sediment, walls can be blown up and volcanoes build up enough sediment to create mountains. Your actions sometimes have unexpected consequences, but it’ll always make sense so the only person you have to blame in the end is you and not a team of lazy developers.
Aside from the great physics the actual graphic quality of the game is also very good. It’s very easy on the eyes with the pretty soft curves and bright colors. The designs for the tribe and its few buildings are interesting, especially their masks, and the addition of a few animals finishes the lovely package.


All in all, I’d say From Dust is without a doubt the single best XBLA game I’ve ever played and it’s a complete mystery to me why it never seems to end up in those infamous “Best Of” lists.
Maybe no one’s played it, maybe people just really liked all those remakes of old games better, or maybe people just don’t like recommending games that have no guns in them, but this is definitely a game you should check out if you don’t know it already.


One comment on “The best XBLA Game you’ve never played

  1. Pingback: 8 Years of Xbox: The 20 Best Games of a Generation | Anonymous of Holland - Gaming, Movies and Complaints


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This entry was posted on 18 April 2013 by in Games, Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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Korean food comes in many shapes and sizes, but one of the most famous and well liked among tourists must be the humble #Bibimbap.
Usually not much more than a bowl of rice into which you mix (bibida in Korean) various vegetables, topped off with some spicy gochujang, bibimbap is a staple food that can be found almost anywhere and at very reasonable prices.

There's also quite a few traditionally styled restaurants such as the one in the picture that serve a bit more 'up-scale' versions that resemble the food royalty used to eat many centuries ago.
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #SeoulKorea #Namsan #MongmyeokSanbang #Restaurant #KoreanRestaurant #Gochujang #Traditional #Food #Foodstagram #Koreanfood #Hanok
#서울 #남산 #목멱산방 #비빔밥 #고추장 #밥 #먹스타그램 #푸드그램 #전통 #한옥 #맛집 #남산맛집 You couldn't tell from this picture, but spring has suddenly been unleashed in Korea! We went from actual snow not much more than a week ago to 6° and now 22° today.

Originally, Koreans were always very proud of their '사계절' - 4 seasons. In the past few years though, fall and spring have been reduced to mere weeks as golden brown leaves freeze off the trees in 'fall' and cherry blossoms bloom in tropic temperatures in 'spring'.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Goyang #Spring #Seasons #4seasons #fall #landscape #traintracks #tracks
#4계절 #계절 #봄 #가을 #고양 #선로 대한민국 만세!
Today is a holiday in Korea; the remembrance of the March 1st movement, which marked the beginning of the Korean people standing up to their Japanese oppressors in the early 20th century.

Unfortunately, instead of celebrating this important day in Korea's history, some people use it as an excuse to push their pro-박근혜 agenda. Former president Park Geun-Hye has been incarcerated for months now while on trial on 18 charges, including bribery, coercion, abuse of power and the leakage of government secrets during her ill-fated presidency. In spite of the overwhelming evidence against her, there are still some (almost exclusively senior) citizens who believe she should be reinstated as the legal president of Korea.

In spite of the fact that I don't agree with their politics, seeing everyone singing and waving the 태극기 together did make me feel good, although being one of the only foreigners in a crowd of riled up Koreans also reminded me that I'll never truly be part of their society.
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #March #Demonstration #Rally #Parade #Politics #Flag #Gwanghwamun #Taegukgi #Japan #Occupation #Independence #gyeongbokgung
#Optocht #ZuidKorea #Demonstratie
#서울 #삼일 #삼일절 #광화문 #태극기 #대한민국 #만세 #대한민국만세 #삼일운동 #3월1일 #경복궁 More pictures from the Line store in Itaewon. I love it when a brand sets up something as elaborate as this; I can't stop myself from wanting to take pictures. 
These are also the first post-LASEK pictures I'm in! It is extremely strange to see myself in pictures without glasses, and I still feel kind of 'naked' when I go out without them, but it's already something I know I'll never regret!
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #Itaewon #Line #LineMessenger #LineStore #LineKorea #LineFriends #LineFriendsStore #LineFriendsItaewon #Store #Cute #Bear #Plush #Dollhouse #Emoticon #Emoji
#서울 #이태원 #라인 #라인프렌즈 #라인프렌즈스토어 #라인프렌즈샵 #라인프렌즈이태원 #외국인 #네덜란드 One of the many things I love about Korea is that it has way more 'themed stores' than my own country. For some reason, some companies or brands such as Ghibli, Gundam, Kakao or, as in these pictures, Line, decide to spend millions creating beautiful flagship locations that feel like a mix of an exhibition space and a regular store.

This was the first time I visited the Line store in Itaewon since I'm not very interested in either Line nor Itaewon, but it was definitely a really cute sight to behold.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Line #Kakao #LineFriends #LineStore #Store #Shop #Shops #Stores #Brand #Messenger #LineMessenger #Itaewon #LineFriendsItaewon
#서울 #이태원 #라인 #라인프렌즈 #카카오 #가게 #스토어 #라인스토어 #브랜드 A Gangnam view from the offices of my eye clinic, which is incidentally the reason I haven't posted anything in a while; I've been "busy" recovering from LASEK!

If you're interested in the process of getting vision correction surgery in Korea, check out my latest blog post. There's a link in my bio, or you can Google 'Anonymous of Holland'.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Gangnam #Sinnonhyeon #BGNEyeClinic #BGN #Eyeclinic #LASEK #LASIK #SMILE #Laservisioncorrection #Visioncorrection #Cityscape #City #Skyline #Simcity #visit_korea #ig_korea
#밝은눈안과 #강남 #신논현 #서울 #대한민국 #라섹 #라식 #스마일 #도시 #도시경관
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