Taito’s arcade classic Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ launched on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch this week, and we jumped on the chance to playtest it on a PlayStation 5 thanks to backwards compatibility. ININ’s publishing it, and there’s a physical release as well.
Last year, we reviewed the Darius Cozmic Collections which contained a selection of Arcade and Console games in the Darius series, depending on which one you picked up. A classic franchise that sits comfortably alongside the likes of R-Type and Gradius, we really enjoyed the throwback – although we missed some of the more modern entries in the series. That’s about to be fixed though, as a new version of G-Darius is on the way and Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ is the latest iteration of Dariusburst, originally released in 2010.
Another Chronicle EX+ has four modes to choose, with an original that is the experience we got back in 2010 and an EX mode that features extra challenging gameplay for when you’ve mastered the game and want something a bit more punishing. Chronicle mode gives you tons of missions to tackle, but it’s lighter on content than the excellent Chronicle Saviours mode with its almost 200 level variations – part of the version we got on the Vita and PS4 earlier. New, however, is the Event mode – which brings levels that were previously part of time-limited content in the arcade game, something we didn’t even know existed!
Perhaps it’s nostalgia, but for us the heart and soul of the package lies with the original mode. Between well designed levels and enemy attack patterns, it’s a game that’s really well balanced in terms of the challenge it offers – although you can select an ‘unlimited lives’ option if you’re a newcomer or just find things a tad too challenging after all. That’s also a good way to get comfortable with the variety of spaceships on offer, each one offering a differently balanced loadout and unique special weapons to trigger.
Compared to the older arcade and console games released last year, the bosses in Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ certainly look impressive and you can tell this is a much more modern release in the series. Combined with an excellent soundtrack, this is a lovely audiovisual experience if you enjoy arcade ports of a more modern variety.
One downside worth pointing out, however, lies with the original arcade game. It was released on an ultra wide monitor setup, so as a result you’ll be playing with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. This isn’t a problem per se, but it makes Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ best suited to a setup with a larger television screen to make sure you have a good view of the smaller details and attack patterns you want to weave through.
This is a solid port of a modern arcade shooter though, even down to that aspect ratio element. It’s a shame it’s not a part of a bigger collection of Darius games, especially for those who already bought Chronicle Saviours, but if you’re new to Dariusburst and love arcade shooters this is great game to add to your collection.