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Bastion Review
Posted on August 30, 2011 by OG

Xbox Live’s Summer of the Arcade is in full effect with its release of Bastion.  Many already want to give it GOTY, putting it in the same category of other small games creating huge waves in gaming like Braid.

Bastion is an isometric 2D action game.  Think Legend of Zelda, put it at an angle, and have the areas on floating platforms.  You play as “The Kid” who wakes up to find his world in pieces.  As part of the plan made before the world's destruction, he’s off to the Bastion where everyone is going to meet.  It’s from there that he and an old man name Rucks try to figure out what happened and what to do next for their world.



What a Soundtrack – Bastion has probably the best soundtrack for a digitally released game I have ever heard.  Geeks will fall in love with it. That is the best way to describe the music, as it is a cross between the soundtracks of Cowboy Bebop and Firefly.  “Point Lemaign” has the Firefly feel to it with the sounds of bluegrass like a banjo and harmonica mixed with some very smooth electric guitar.  The song “Safe Heaven” in particular, could have easily appeared on a Firefly or Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and fit in incredibly well.  Every stage has a new piece of music to enjoy and it’s all just so fresh to hear in a game.

A Reason to Play Again – Multiple endings in a game is nothing new.  What Bastion does to make their multiple endings more unique is the gravity of them.  During the final level of the game, there is a choice you have to make that will change how the rest of the level plays out.  It sounds like not that big of a deal at first, but once you see the results of your choice, all you can think about is how much you want to see what the other choice is.  Then comes the final choice that will decide your ending, leading to a credit roll of images giving insight into what happened.  To make it even more attractive to play through the game again, Super Giant Games added a New Game + mode letting you restart the game with all your current weapons and power-ups to let you breeze through it.  If you want an additional challenge in New Game+ , there is a shrine where idols can be activated implementing different changes in the enemies to make them more difficult such as increased health, increased damage output, or have them reflect damage onto you. 

This is How to Tell a Story – Many developers have tried different ways to storytelling.  What  Super Giant Games did in Bastion was make a dynamic narrative in Bastion.  Depending on your actions, the narrator (Rucks) can comment on it.  Every time you get a new weapon, item, defeat a large amount of enemies, destroy parts of the environment and so on, Rucks may comment on it. There’s a particular sequence where the Kid is having a bad trip requiring you to play through the first level with a much different commentary by Rucks that you’ll be used to up to that point.  Hearing that particular commentary really hits you on how some of the actions you do in a game, that simply come naturally, are kind of dickish.  It’s an innovative way to tell a story, and makes the game even more entertaining. 


Get on With the Story Already – Although the narrative is dynamic, it sends to be really drawn out in some cases.  When you’re at the Bastion, your safe haven, items you found from the previous levels can be shown to other characters that have come to the Bastion.  You hope for some delicious exposition when showing these items to the other characters, but instead you get one sentence, maybe two.  The real exposition doesn’t happen until the last few levels when Rucks finally goes into more detail than any other time before. 




Bastion is a game that works great simply about its narrative.  I’m almost reminded of the ending of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on how amazingly it worked.  The game is a definite play for anyone looks for a treasured piece of goodness amongst all major games out there.

OG - Editor-in-Chief / Original Gamer | all author's articles

How is the PS Vita launch going to be?

It'll be amazing with consoles sold out everywhere!
I'm sure anyone can pick one up without worrying about it.
There will be tons left on the shelves.
3DS sales will get a nice bump thanks to people realizing the PS Vita is a joke.
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