Type: Action RPG
Developer: Supergiant Games
Release Date: August 16, 2011 (Steam)
Official Website: http://supergiantgames.com
The game came outta nowhere, blindin’ folks with an art design that was as fine as cream gravy. Game didn’t care too much either. He was a simple game, out like he had something ta prove. After he was done making a raucous on the Xbox, the game hopped on over to the PC for a spell. He liked it there. We all liked him there. What was that game’s name you ask? Name’s Bastion. No need to jot it down. You won’t be forgetting it.
*Clears throat* Sorry about that. Was I just talking like a ranch hand? Anyway, I’m here to talk about Bastion, a game that was on consoles for almost a month before it was released on Steam for PC play. You probably already heard some words about it. And every word you heard so far was also probably true. Yes, the game is great. Yes the game is insanely colorful, and Yes Bastion has some pretty amazing tunes to go along with it. But I’m here to take you through everything, so follow me…
In Bastion, you start out as young, white-haired man who wakes up from his sleep to find that the world of Caelondia had just suffered through some kind of devastating Armageddon known only as “The Calamity”. A lot of the planet has already been destroyed, and most of the rubble of the old world is now floating in the sky. Pathways magically levitate from the abyss ahead of you as you walk on forward through levels, making every step somewhat of a leap of faith. Why does this happen? Who knows, but it looks freaking awesome.
As you play through the remnants of the world of yesterday, you’ll notice that a smooth-talking, almost enchanting voice is narrating your character’s every step. He talks in a slow southern accent, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll end up loving every minute of it. Turns out the narrator is a character named Rucks, a wise old man who lives in the Bastion — a safe haven and retreat one would go to if something awful ever happened (like some sort of Calamity). Once your character (who is never given a name and is simply referred to by Rucks as “The Kid”) reaches the Bastion, the story unfolds.
In order to repair the Bastion and keep it strong, you travel about the ruins of Caelondia and collect “Cores”. Each Core you collect in each of the various levels lets you build a new structure in the Bastion — giving way to a slew of items, weapons and power ups that help you progress through the game. Although new weapons are found in the field of battle à la Metroid, Upgrades for those weapons can only be performed back at the Bastion once you have constructed the proper building. The same goes for Spirits, which are kind of like passive buffs to your character.
You can collect Spirits and swap them for newer ones, allowing you to earn higher experience and wealth, but in turn increasing the game’s difficulty. Considering the enemies in Bastion are ridiculously simple to defeat, placing some modifiers on them might be the best thing to keep more experienced gamers engaged.
Bluntly put, Bastion plays extremely well. There’s never a graphical glitch or crash to be had. Considering this is a console game port, that’s rare nowadays. The game is as smooth-running as a game can be, with controls that are slick and responsive.
The visuals are also stunning. Everything is so bright and vibrant, and no two stages look the same. Everything from your characters movements, to the enemies you fight, and especially the terrain you explore, all of it is so stylized it’s hard to believe that what you’re looking at is a video game and not a comic book. Top it off with a killer soundtrack filled with techno/western beats and even a hint of Arabian music, Bastion will keep taunting you, continuously swimming in your thoughts until you surrender and load it back up again.
Bastion isn’t without its downsides, however. It’s extremely easy. You’ll find yourself upping the difficulty sometimes simply because the gauntlets they throw at you aren’t as challenging as you might expect. Granted, there are a few challenge stages which are difficult, such as having to do crazy things with different weapons and abilities; but I’m more concerned with the meat of the game.
A lot of fights take place through the course of the main story that are just laughable. Once you get comfortable with a weapon and a special skill, the enemies will lose all semblance of intimidation. There were also times where a stage would start to collapse, forcing you to run to the end before you fall off and die. However, in this game, falling off the edges of the stage will simply negate a small portion of your life bar. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this, but if you do fail to catch up, and do fall into the abyss, the game sometimes will respawn you onto a rock that is about to collapse, causing you to fall yet again. One time I manged four falls in a row due to the game’s inability to put me on some solid ground. Now, these incidents are few and far between, but I digress. It can get annoying.
Speaking of falling, I have one small gripe with the controls. Running diagonally is more difficult than it should be – it requires some button mashing. Since I don’t have a gamepad, that meant that all too often I slipped up and fell into the abyss. But I’m a caveman when it comes to gaming technology. I’m sure many of you already have a gamepad at the ready, and so for you it won’t be a problem.
The Bottom Line
If you’re going to ask me the most clichéd question in the universe, I already have the answer for you. Is Bastion worth buying? Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I would recommend Bastion to anyone interested in video gaming in the slightest. The game is seriously for everyone: be they children or adults or somewhere in-between. Bastion will charm the pants off of you, and you will love every minute of it.
Game Play: 9/10
Replay Value: 9/10
- Steam Store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/107100
- Reviewer playthrough: blip.tv
- Metascore: 90