Bastion

SuperGiant Games

 

The Preamble: Replayability is a big thing in games. Gamers want to get their moneys worth while developers want people to keep hold of the game rather than trading it in so they can get the best return on their hard work. Some games do this by reguarly updating content in the form of the Marmite of downloadable content (DLC) others focus on multiplayer to keep people playing while others use choice and story. Choices that really make a difference to the story will encourage people to go back and play again to see the other side of the 'what if' moments. The awesome Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic did this superbly as did Dragon Age: Origins (Ed: I love that game) and so does Bastion. Plus it also has a new game + mode where you play through again with tougher enemies but you keep all your kit. The question is, will I want to play it through again or will I abandon it to the recesses of my Steam account? Let's find out shall we?

Ah Dragon Age... what a brilliant game you are...

 

The Plot: You play The Kid, you awake in the aftermath of the Calamity, a catastrophic event that split the world into several floating pieces, disrupting its ecology and reducing most of its people to ash. Seeing the world turning to shit The Kid heads to the Bastion where everyone was supposed to go in troubled times. The only other person to make it to the bastion is an elderly man named Rucks, the game's narrator. The Kid must collect the cores that power the Bastion to start up Rucks device that will save the world. No pressure Kid...

 

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The Review: The look and feel of Bastion is fantasic, The Kid's moves are fluid and the Kid himself the monsters he fights and the world they inhabit is nothing short of beautiful. It is a world full of little details and has a real feeling of life that you don't get in too many games; it is a world that is easy to get drawn into and easy to love. The music of the gameis, if anything, even better than the graphics. I downloaded the soundtrack after playing the games for a couple of hours and Build That Wall, Mother, I'm Here and Setting Sail, Coming Home are still regular tracks on my iPod three of only 5 songs from games to make the cut. Then there is the narrator briliantly voiced by Logan Cunningham; he narrates everything you do... I mean it run off the edge of a ledge and listen for yourself... genius. It really helps with the immersion and makes you want to keep playing on to see what the next area has to offer to your eyes and ears.

  

You can't say that isn't a stunning looking game

 

I know you get it the game is pretty and sounds nice but is it any good to play?! I tell you what, it bloody well is. The story is not groundbreaking but it manages to keep the game ticking along and there are a couple of interesting characters and some touching moments; the first time I found Zia I remember just sitting back for a while to hear her sing (Ed: here he goes again about the damn soundtrack).

The action revolves around the Kid visiting the various zones of the fractured world and battling his way through the ferral wildlife to retreive the cores.  You can take two weapons in to battle and each has a number of skills or special attacks associated with it. There are a surprisingly large variety of weapons at your disposal from spears and machettes to rifles and mortars, each has it's own strengths and weaknesses and it's own mini-game challenge at the proving grounds to unlock bonus kit. Weapons are unlocked steadily throughout the campagin and really help to keep the challenge fresh.

The game gets more challenging as you progress with new and meaner monsters in each of the new zones. If the challenge isn't enough you can also make the game harder by praying in a shrine with each of the gods adding a different challenge from monsters inflicting increased damage to becoming temporarily invinsible. The bonuses are stackable too so for the ultimate challenge you can switch on all ten and have super fast, tough and damaging enemies at every turn.

The Gods offer bonus XP in exchange for a tougher challenge...

 

If that wasn't enough there is also there is also Who Knows Where. Here the Kid has to fight off waves of increasingly tough foes to score bonus experience and also earn those all important acheivements.

 

The Score: 9/10 - Bastion is an accomplished action-RPG that is beautiful and engaging and most importantly fun to play. If you have even a passing interest in the genre you really should give it a shot I assure you that you won't be disappointed. Oh and while you're at it pick up the Soundtrack too; its effing brilliant.