Indie Review: Bastion
Bastion is a revelation of Action RPG genius packaged in an artsy veneer and is a storytelling treat. It has great fast-paced combat, addictive levels and a genuinely atmospheric soundtrack that makes the game a sight to behold.
- Worth The Time?It's worth every minute, hour and day.
- Things LovedI loved the use of dynamic narration and the atmospheric soundtrack which moulded well with the fast paced combat system, and general overarching story. Bastion is a really engaging title and offers all the awesome character and story elements of a mainstream RPG packaged in a budget friendly wrapper. A multiplicity of weapon pairings and combat tactics means Bastion never dulls as it progresses, and remains exciting throughout. It has great replay value with an abundance of challenges and rewards for the dedicated player. It's a really enjoyable game for any RPG fan.
- Things HatedThe only real flaw with the game is the overwhelming nature of the scenery which means it can become hard to distinguish where one can fall off in certain levels. The lack of any equipment besides weapons and potions may put off hardcore players. Otherwise, the game is really well focused and shows a strong development ethos from the guys at Supergiant Games.
- RecommendationI highly recommend this game and suggest you go and download it off Steam or XBLA right now. Do it, you won't be disappointed.
- Name: Bastion
- Genre: Action RPG
- Players: Singleplayer
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Steam, XBLA
- Developer: Supergiant Games
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Price: R100
- Reviewed On: PC
Bastion is a steam punk inspired action RPG developed by Supergiant Games, with an indie heart of gold boasting enough content to make it competitive with even the most mainstream of RPGs. From the very beginning, the game begins with a breathtaking narrative which sweeps the player into the enchanting tale of The Kid. Narrated by a wise strong willed man named Rucks, eerily reminiscent of a crime channel host mixed with a calm intensity (like a younger Morgan Freeman with a tad more gruffness); the game flows and ebbs effortlessly as every action you take is given voice by Rucks who really brings the story of Bastion to life. The overall appeal of the game is further enhanced by the visual style of the game which is bright and colourful, cartoonish in design with hints of anime influence, which conveys the world of Bastion so vividly. All of this, is within an isometric perspective harkening to older RPGs of 2D pixel heritage (like Breath of Fire, Grandia, Baldur’s Gate and even Diablo). This odd infusion works, whilst sustaining a sense of charm and wonderment with rock solid storytelling, and well rounded characters.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
Bastion itself focuses on the story of The Kid, a youth lost in the chaotic after effects of the Calamity which shook the very foundations of the fantasy world of Bastion into cataclysmic chaos. So shaken was the world that every part of it was separated into lone floating islands. It is the job of The Kid to reform and reunite the world into peaceful bliss once more, beginning by bringing The Bastion, a floating fortress which is the only surviving ‘bastion’ of hope left in a world ravaged by the Calamity, to utter completion. This is done by collecting cores which enable the addition of main buildings to the Bastion. On top of the cores, later in the game, Shards are available which add secondary features to the main buildings increasing the functionality of the Bastion. Buildings in Bastion include: the Arsenal (an armoury where weapons can be equipped), the Distillery (where potions can be utilised), the Shrine (where customisable gods can be selected, and add in-game effects such as higher difficulty curves, even affecting greater experience returns for your character), the Lost-and-Found shop selling items for weapon upgrades and new special attacks, the Memorial which cites all the challenges and rewards available in the game, and there is also the Forge where weapons can be upgraded. Many items can be bought with the in-game currency known as Fragments which are incurred through bashing the hell out of enemies, and destroying the landscape as you scurry along level by level.
Bastion implements a fast paced combat system with two primary attacks interchangeable between long range weapons, short range weapons, or weapons with variable ranges. The player is not forced into any predefined weapon set and therefore nearly any combination of weapon is plausible in Bastion. Weapons range in variety from the first in-game weapon a simple maul hammer, to a long bow, war machete, mortar gun, cannon, flame thrower, rapid fire crossbow, pike as well as a shield which originally is suited to defensive purposes and can also be utilised for blocking enemy attacks, and counteracting them rendering enemy attacks deadly to the enemy. Besides the two main attacks designated, there is also the special attack button that accommodates a variety of customisable special attacks (obviously dealing more damage than normal attacks). Each weapon has its own special attacks which can be equipped in the Arsenal. However, special attacks are limited by the number of black tonics you carry. So you have to be specific in their usage; otherwise, you might end up dead quicker than you realised. Healing can also be quite restrictive, as blue tonics carry that purpose. Yet enemies diligently drop loot and healing blue tonics, including the black counterparts which are plentiful. As a result, if you’re finding Bastion to be a few notches too easy for your tastes you can always up the difficulty through the Shrine where you can select different gods whom create varied conditions for battle, leading to a hefty increase in the magical steroid in-take of enemies. Even with the variety of enemies in battle with: Turrets, Scumbags, Gasfellas, Squirts, Wallflowers and Stinkeyes. All of the weapons offer diversity in a game which favours a more upfront and casual approach to the RPG tradition, and through simple combat nearly any type of player is accommodated. Each weapon also offers a proving ground which is a place to practice and refine one’s skill with a certain weapon whilst also competing at certain challenges to obtain experience and loot.
In playing Bastion, one notes that the game truly doesn’t alienate any potential player and goes as far to eliminate the need for any type of equipment such as armour. Rather, Bastion focuses on a few core aspects like fast paced combat, refined levels and consistent art design instead of deviating into a huge complicated structure, that at times in other RPGs can become cumbersome and a tiresome effort for players to get their heads around. It’s like a restaurant which has only a certain number of dishes on its menu, in comparison to a restaurant with a huge roster of dishes. The quality of the food will greatly differ in most cases. However, there are exceptions and Bastion includes a variety of battle skills to liven up combat. So excluding special skills, there are also a variety of in-combat skills such as the ability to roll and dodge enemy attacks, and later on jump through enemy barrages. If attacks are well timed, The Kid is able to perform a power shot with a number of weapons on offer in the Arsenal and increases damage points inflicted on enemies. The power shot is essentially a powered up version of a normal attack and comes in very handy in the heat of battle.
This is helpful because The Kid is quite slow and many of the enemies become increasingly faster than you, and a few good dodges plus power shots with a well timed hammering are warranted by the increasing difficult. Due in part, to the nature of Bastion’s game design which is level based and allows The Kid to explore a range of city ruins, wild locales and even unknown lands all which have fallen prey in some way to the effects of the Calamity. From a first glance, some might get the feeling that Bastion is a glorified dungeon crawler masquerading as an artsy indie RPG. But it’s really not that type of game and many of its flaws are alleviated by a succinct effort on the part of Supergiant games to produce a game which is a truly a work of art. Bastion offers a rich world with glorious eye candy which may be overwhelming in the heat of battle leading to a few misplaced steps and an untimely death, but nonetheless anchors Bastion as something special in a market of mediocrity. The dynamic narration of Bastion is also another positive and solidifies the humanity of Bastion with a message about the ills of a technologically driven society that might be missed by many gamers.
Bastion takes all that we perceive an RPG to be and really twists expectations. I think the game may not only be one of the best indie releases of the year, but one of the best RPGs this year (bar Skyrim which will be released later this year). The awesome soundtrack should also get a mention as it aided in truly helping Bastion to become an immersive experience. I highly recommend this game for any indie fan, or gamer looking for an RPG alternative to their mainstream titles. Bastion is a hugely great example of a game as art which is highly playable, interesting and thought provoking even after the credits roll. Give it a chance, you won’t be underwhelmed. Bastion is a childhood memory that lingers forever. It’s like the pages of a long oft forgotten fairytale that still lives on in the recesses of your mind, long after you’ve fallen asleep.