Bastion Review

Look at that...view?

That’s right: Bastion. The game was a part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Play and received major critical acclaim. It caught my eye right around the time when I had just gotten my Xbox 360 back for its complex but somehow smooth Action RPG elements. The game especially stood out for its visual choices and its dramatic way of presenting the world, but enough about that. Let’s just dive right into Bastion.

That looks really unstable

The story of Bastion isn’t very heartwarming. It takes place in the aftermath of “The Calamity,”  which was a catastrophic breakdown of the world that once was whole. Fragments are scattered all throughout the world. You take control of the Silent Protagonist character, simply named “The Kid” — sounds appropriate enough, given his apparent age. He must traverse dangerous areas to reach the titular Bastion. He meets an interesting wise old man (Rucks, the Narrator), and they join forces. Rucks explains things to the Kid and…well…narrates the entire game, but we’ll get to that later. The Kid has to gather new fragments and shards in order to “put the world right again” traveling to three different areas in total. You meet new friends named Zia and Zulf, pets and even an enemy or two who may already be among them. The story is a breath of fresh air, not only for an indie title but for all titles, and I welcome it with open arms.

Stunning. Visually, Stunning.

Normally, if you know me, then you’re well aware that pretty and appealing graphics do not make or break a game for me. However, you will not see me getting out of this review without praising the artwork and overall rich colorful world that the indie developers Supergiant Games were able to create. It is, as I said earlier, like a breath of fresh air. The enemies look bright and vibrant, yet so gloomy and mysterious. The characters look just as good, keeping the cartoon feel while somehow adding a sort of mood to the game that I have yet to figure out. They keep you immersed in the game which is truthfully the first time I’ve been able to say that about anything graphically. The constantly shifting isometric world is always keeping you on edge and adding that next level of challenge to an already challenging game. The graphics and design are absolutely beautiful.

Turrets? I don't care about no stinkin' turrets!

Gameplay, however, is beyond a shadow of a doubt the show stealer in Bastion. While traversing through this vast abyss, you find two weapons called Cael Hammer and the Breaker’s Bow within the first few minutes. Analog sticks are used for movement. Pressing A initiates a dodge, while X and B use your weapons. The Bullhead Shield allows you to block enemy attacks and at precise times fling enemy projectiles back at them, while secret skills enhance your weapons.Combat isn’t a joke in Bastion. You must be both swift and strategic. Sometimes just mowing down the enemies will do the trick, but other times you need to plan out your attacks and use a bit more of your cunning and wit to outsmart and best your enemies. Throughout the rest of the game you will find different types of weapons which will help you along your way to go head to head with some of the more frustrating enemies in the game. A couple of my favorites are Dueling Pistols and the Scrap Musket mostly because you can obliterate your enemies either by mowing them down with tiny bullets or one huge musket shot.  There are 8 different types of enemies: Turrets, Windbags, Gasfellas, Squirts, Pincushions, Wallflowers, and Stinkeyes. All of which with their odd names still manage to be just as both gloomy and threatening as an enemy can be.SO. MUCH. TO. DESTROY!!!!
If you’re having too much of a problem in the Bastion you can go ahead and faceplant your way into the Proving Grounds which helps you gather items/minerals to help you upgrade your weapons as well as hone your skills. The upgrades  can do a multitude of things, whether it’s stunning your enemies, poisoning them, or hitting them with a power shot. Buying certain secret skills and items with your money at the Lost and Found is a must for any collectibles-whore or even someone who just wants to absolutely obliterate their enemies. You can also earn money by completing Vigils, which ask you to complete special tasks such as “Earn 1st prize in 7 Proving Grounds,” “Learn at least 20 secret skills” and many more. Lastly there is another thing that puts the cherry on that sweet-ass sundae [hyphen necessary to prevent ass sundaes, which are sometimes good, but generally ill-advised while gaming]. Who Knows Where is a mysterious place that you can go to by smoking a Pipe to find out about The Kid’s past, eat the contents of a cooking pot to learn about Zia’s and use a bedroll for Zulf’s. You must outlast 20 waves of enemies to figure out the past to everyone in the game.
The sound in Bastion is absolutely amazing. The southern twang inserted into the music just makes Bastion have that extra kick that makes the game go over the top for me. The acoustics in the music just build the atmosphere and tension throughout the entire game. While writing this review I have listened to the soundtrack atleast 3 times. It’s that good. The sounds of the monsters’ cries as I drive my hammer into them is satisfying but at the same time disheartening. These enemies used to be friendly and homely but the Calamity turned everything on its head. Logan Cunningham does a terrific job as Rucks, the Narrator. His lines throughout the entire game are both badass and hilarious, given the right moments of course.

The Kid.

Man, overall I just love Bastion. The characters, the music, the graphics and gameplay all blend together so smoothly. It’s hard to believe that this game isn’t a Triple A title, but then again with so many Triple A titles being what they are, I think it’s good that Bastion is an Indie developed game.Final Verdict: Buy It
Last Rites: “Proper stories are supposed to start from the beginnin’. Ain’t so simple with this one”
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About Thief92

Thief92 is a media soak. He is a recent High School Graduate, going to be attending College in the fall for Video Game Design and Journalism and loves Video Games, Movies and Television View all posts by Thief92

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