Darius Burst: Chronicle Saviours Review

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Title: Darius Burst: Chronicle Saviours
Developer: Chara-Ani, Pyramid
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 862 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

Darius Burst is a series you may or may not have heard of.  It’s a side-scrolling shoot-em-up game that hasn’t gotten much face time in the West.  The Darius franchise has been going on for well over 20 years, but the West hasn’t seen many of its games.  There was a rather big Darius game on the PSP last generation, which hasn’t made it West, until now.

The PSP game, Darius Burst: Another Chronicle, has been brought to the West, along with a new game mode entirely in the new release.  Kind of like how Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment was the Hollow Fragment game along with a remastered version of Infinity Moment, a PSP title.  So, let’s dive into this shoot-em-up.  Here is my official review of Darius Burst: Chronicle Saviours!

Story

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The story of the Darius series has been there in presence, but has never been a large aspect of the game.  This is set in a distant future where there is a Hyperspace Network under attack by alien forces that use ships as well as gigantic fish-like battleships.  You are in the role of someone defending the network and the planets, though you shouldn’t expect the story to be much more than little tidbits before each mission.

Gameplay

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Darius Burst: Chronicle Saviours is a side-sccrolling shoot-em-up game.  As you play through each game mode, you’ll be traveling a 2D environment as a space ship,  gunning down enemy ships as well as giant battleships that serve as boss fights.

Let’s talk about what all is included here.  There are two game modes: AC Mode and CS Mode.  These are abbreviated for Another Chronicle and Chronicle Saviours.  As you can guess, AC Mode is the PSP game, Another Chronicle, but remastered for the PS Vita.  Chronicle Saviours is the new campaign mode introduced in this new game.

Another Chronicle Mode has four game modes, but only three are playable.  Original Mode has you going through 3 zones full of enemies and ending in a boss fight set in various difficulties.  It has an Arcade Mode feel to it.  Chronicle Mode arranges the game into missions instead of just one straight gauntlet.  Original EX Mode is like Original, but with extra areas that are much harder than in Original Mode.  Finally, Event Mode is not playable, as it was used for AC’s online missions.

CS Mode is the new game mode, and it’s kind of like Chronicle Mode, but more expansive.  CS Mode has no difficulty settings, and progresses in a mission tree.  You complete a mission, and you branch out to do new missions, both required and optional to advance in the story.  These missions can vary in type, from standard fights like Original Mode in Another Chronicle to defender missions where you have to defend a planet, or even the much more chaotic time-based Scramble Missions.

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Upgrading your ship and buying new ships in this mode is purchased through points.  You get awarded Points when you complete a stage/mission based on your high score.  Once you’ve played enough, you can buy a new ship as well as upgrade parts for your ships.

Each stage of the game has you going through a 2D environment (with 3D visuals) with a camera that automatically moves.  In these stages, you have to fight your way through enemy ships and survive to the end of the stage which results in a boss fight with a giant battleship.  Though some stages can vary, like only being a boss fight, but you’ll be fighting a boss in pretty much every stage, no matter what game mode you’re in.

As you fight, there will be certain enemies to fight off that drop orbs.  These orbs can come in various varieties.  Some increase your score, while others can increase the amount of health you have before you lose a life/ship.  The most important ones, though, are the orbs that upgrade your attacks to give you more bullets or different types of bullets to be able to defeat hordes of enemy ships with ease.

On top of this, a Burst Gauge will fill up as you defeat enemies.  Once it gets filled up, you can use a Burst attack, which lets loose a powerful laser cannon.  You can use this manually, or you can leave it in one spot and let it fire on enemies by itself.  There are other aspects of this, too, like using yours to counter a boss ship’s burst attack.

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As far as difficulty is concerned, there’s a good amount to consider here.  Most of the enemy hordes aren’t too troublesome, but Bosses are where the game requires strategy.  As expected, each boss has its own attack pattern that must be learned as you fight them.  Especially noteworthy in bosses that have hordes accompanying them, things can get very chaotic and hectic if you don’t know how to fight a boss.  So, there’s a bit of a learning curve, especially in CS Mode.

Before we wrap this section up, there are two things I want to note on.  The first is the fact that the Vita version doesn’t have any form of multiplayer built into it.  You can go online for scores, but that’s it.  There’s no co-op in this version of the game.  The other thing I want to say is about boss fights.  There are 40 different bosses in the game, but getting to new types feels quite repetitive.  You may have to repeat the first 2 bosses half a dozen times before the next type shows up, and repeat the process.

It’s hard to gauge a time-frame.  IN all reality, there are hundreds upon hundreds of stages you can play through.  With the fact that you can shift “Cabinets” to be able to play different stage variations, there is a lot you can do.  But, those that don’t wish to go 100% may not be spending all that much time.  CS Mode is quite lengthy, and that’s no exaggeration.  With the difficulty curve in mind, you’ll likely spend several hours trying to get through this game mode.

Controls

Controlling the game isn’t a hard thing to do.  While the game is playable on the PlayStation TV, there aren’t any special controls on the micro-console. L2/R2 and L3/R3 aren’t used at all.  Granted, there aren’t that many controls, anyways, but it’s something that you guys may want to know.

Controlling your ship is done with the D-Pad and Left Analog Stick, while the Right Analog Stick is left alone.  Firing off shots if done with Square while the Burst can be used with X and the L Trigger.  Finally, the R trigger can turn your ship around to shoot the other way, a feature that was also in Aqua Kitty DX.

Presentation

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The visuals and the performance do very well, but there is one complain that I have.  In AC Mode, there is a fixed resolution, making there be borders above and below the game that cannot be taken out with settings.  The borders are there, but being in default resolution also makes everything smaller. When you’re in the middle of a mission in AC Mode, it’s very hard to read what’s on the screen.

Everything else is nice.  The Load times aren’t too long, and the game has a very smooth frame rate.  It dips in sequences between stages, but nowhere that it will actually affect gameplay.

Summary

Darius Burst: Chronicle Saviours is fun, mindless, and full of giant fish robot ships.  There are a few things holding it back, like a lack of multiplayer, repetitive bosses, and the default resolution in AC Mode.  If these don’t bother you, you’re in for a very fun and challenging 2D shoot-em-up. 

7/10

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