Chronicle Saviours is no exception to that, delivering what is incontestably the definitive edition of the more modern Burst games. It’s not about to set the world alight with genre-shattering improvements, certainly, but Darius’ top-notch mechanics are nothing to make light of and this iteration throws in its share of nifty bonuses. Considering previous instalments weren’t widely accessible without importing or a willingness to brave a bullet-hell on a tablet/ mobile device, the word “saviour” in the title is an apt one indeed.
The mode, conceptually speaking, is capable of serving up watertight shoot ‘em up action. Darius trademarks like non-linear level progression and alternate endings out the wazoo (not to mention unlockable versions of every stage that crank the difficulty up several notches) give Burst’s arcade mode long term replay value. It bears mentioning that in DariusBurst boss fights are a core component that often outlast the length of the levels that precede them. As a result, it’s a game with an atypical sense of urgency compared to shooters that take the traditional route. A greater variety of stage obstacles would have gone a long way in making each stage distinctive, but the intensity of every boss bout on offer is truly something to behold.
I suspect that the game’s Chronicle mode going to be billed as the main event given that it offers roughly 3000 levels. That’s downright gargantuan for a shoot ‘em up of any stature. These stages throw down various parameters that players have to meet, be it a restriction of the allowed vehicles or the number of lives. Tantalising as these 3000 levels look on paper, though, it becomes apparent all to quickly that many are randomly spliced up portions of the main game that don’t necessarily play to the strengths of Darius. Enemy formations, computer AI, and boss patterns vary, but there’s so darn many of them that it’s impossible for any real quality consistency. I have a tough time imagining anyone but the most devoted fan in the world sitting down to complete more than 500 of these, let alone run the whole multi-thousand gauntlet. That said, the online missions that mandate multiple players through the use of a virtual arcade cabinet system are treasures you don’t stumble upon every day and it might be worth checking out a few levels simply for them.
Related reading: Kromaia Omega is a killer example of deconstruction and innovation within the bullet hell genre. Clark’s full review.
I vastly prefer Chronicle Saviours mode, which is obviously an exclusive addition to this DariusBurst iteration. Although it has a fraction of the challenges in Chronicle mode, these ones feel calculated and specifically catered to the home console crowd. This one also does away with the unlimited continues in the rest of the game, providing an intense platform for players to test their mettle after tempering their skills with the arcade mode.
– Clark A.