Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ Review

Release Date
July 27, 2021
Developed By
Taito, Pyramid Inc.
Published By
ININ Games
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

The Darius shoot-’em-up series is renowned for its distinctive ship and boss design, branching paths, and enchanting tunes by Zuntata. Continuing from their earlier releases Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade and Darius Cozmic Collection Console, ININ Games and Taito have now released Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+, the ultimate version of the arcade game Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX. This version has a handful of features not present in any previous version of Dariusburst. Notably, players can experience the arcade game’s limited time events. Another Chronicle EX+’s features primarily cater to diehard series fans, but the game’s expansive line-up of content can keep any interested shoot-’em-up fan busy. 

The Dariusburst games showcase the latest battle between the players’ Silver Hawk ships and the antagonistic Belsar faction. This time around, however, the Silver Hawk and Belsar ships have access to beam cannons, which leads to intense clashes. In each stage, players traverse waves of enemies until they reach a boss that is often aquatic-themed and massive in scale. Darius’ trademark feature is its branching stage structure, which allows players to experience different content on each playthrough. Another Chronicle EX+ is the culmination of Dariusburst’s history spanning the original PlayStation Portable release, the four player Another Chronicle and EX arcade games, and the multi-faceted Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours

Another Chronicle EX+ focuses on recreating the game’s arcade experience as well as possible. Chronicle Saviours’ CS Mode and crossover DLC ships are not present whatsoever. However, Another Chronicle EX+ re-enables Event Mode which includes eight exclusive EX+ missions as well as the original arcade version’s thirteen time-limited events. EX+ even shows the events’ original release dates back in 2012, which is great for contextualizing and preserving these events. Another Chronicle EX+ also contains translated instruction and ship info screens, which is a welcome plus over Chronicle Saviours’ untranslated stills. 

The game’s interface recreates the arcade version and adds a handful of basic additions. The action takes place in a super wide letterboxed 32:9 screen, which allows players to have plenty of space to fly around. The game now shows a target score in the upper right, which displays the worldwide top player’s score upticking in real time or the player’s own high score. The game also adds button instructions for joining the game and opening menus. These added elements are serviceable but they are visually straightforward. Players can also freely back out of menus, which is handy. Other UI elements such as the “Game Over” screen amusingly tell players not to bump their head on the cabinet as they leave. 

Another Chronicle EX+’s new features are functionally straightforward, but they allow players to check their progress in more detail. The game keeps an ongoing play history across each mode, and players can view recent replays, too. Furthermore, the game has a high score ranking list for each possible branching path, mode, and event, which is quite impressive and detailed. The game also allows players to pick the Murakumo Silver Hawk Burst ship across all modes. This ship can conveniently reconfigure its secondary fire between three patterns at will. 

Having additional supplementary in-game explanations may have been beneficial. For example, players can pick between several virtual arcade cabinets, but the purpose of doing so is not immediately clear. The cabinet choice affects “local” machine rankings and the stages that players can access in the map-based Chronicle Mode, but lacking on-screen explanations is a bit confusing. Furthermore, the game shows auto-playing instructions via the “attract mode” that appears when the game is left on the title screen. Having some sort of instruction section in the options menu would probably have been helpful. 

The game’s visuals and soundscape resemble those of earlier Dariusburst incarnations as well. The game still provides striking encounters via swarms of enemies and gigantic bosses alongside vibrant visual effects. However, the relatively low polygon counts for enemy ships and simple background imagery might seem a bit sparse for some players. As with every Darius game, the band Zuntata always provides atmospheric tunes that might surprise and bewilder players with their bizarre instrumentation and echoing chants. 

Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ provides a faithful experience featuring plenty of stages for players to experience. Some of the new stages will certainly challenge players with swarms of enemies and gigantic bosses that withstand considerable gunfire. In some ways, this particular release caters primarily to faithful Darius fans given that its additions are relatively specific and straightforward. However, it will provide plenty of value for anyone who delves deep into its core. 

Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ Review
Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ Review
Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ focuses on delivering the ultimate version of the arcade game Another Chronicle EX with a handful of extras. While the added features are basic and primarily cater to series diehards, the game has plenty of content for shoot-'em-up enthusiasts to enjoy.
Contains all of the formerly time-limited arcade content as well as new events
Replay mode and comprehensive ranking lists
Easy to pick up and play
User interface additions are minor
Visual presentation feels a bit dated