STAFF REVIEW of Bastion (Xbox 360 Arcade)


Monday, August 15, 2011.
by Adam Dileva

Bastion Box art The kid started playing Bastion, a new release for the yearly Summer of Arcade schedule on Xbox Live Arcade. He enjoyed the bright hand painted watercolor world so deeply that he felt he needed to write about it for everyone else to read so that they can enjoy the world of Bastion as well.

Supergiant Games first release is a charming new adventure title that has a narrator throughout the whole game that describes the Kids every notable move and action, the surroundings, your weapons, the enemies and even more. While at first you might think the narrator is a gimmick, it becomes an essential part of the way Bastions story unfolds and youll learn so much about The Kid (our protagonist) through this deep and gritty mysterious voice (which is done to perfection). As you walk forwards pathways will unfold and form in front of you, coupled with the on the fly narration, Bastion truly feels like its story is happening as you play. Once you start playing through Bastion and it starts unfolding itself to you, youll become hooked in a deep story and gorgeous world that will have you never wanting to leave.

Bastion begins with the silent hero known as The Kid waking up in a bed from a deep sleep only to find the world around him has been destroyed. As you make your first steps in Bastion the narration kicks in describing how he stands up and starts walking down the path. When you find your first weapon the old man will make comments on how youve missed your best friend (the hammer) and how sturdy it is. Turns out the world was destroyed by an event called the Calamity as you slept. It seems there are no survivors but you press on to find out what has happened. As you make your way to the Bastion, an isolated structure created by the first survivor in your path, the Old Man, he reveals that it is able to restore the world to its former glory once you find all the missing and shattered fragments needed. It also turns out that the Old Man is also the narrator of The Kids adventure.

As the story progresses it becomes vastly more interesting and I dont wish to give any of the entertaining plot points away, those will be saved for you to enjoy as it unfolds. As you find new treasures and the shards to repair the Bastion, the narrator will constantly be giving you backstory and information thats relevant to an item you just found or to progress the pace onwards. Logan Cunningham voices the Old Man / Narrator and his performance is so perfectly done that it never comes old with how much you will hear him throughout your 10+ hour journey.

The Kid will have access to two weapons at a time and a shield to defend himself. Youll eventually have access to a plethora of melee and ranged weapons that vary from hammers, machetes, pole arms, bow and arrows, dual pistols and more. Which weapons you choose to use are completely up to you to suit your play style and youll be introduced to a new weapon almost every new level, constantly keeping things fresh and interesting. Each weapon you gain access to will also have a corresponding challenge trial where you can test your skills with specific weapons. Do well enough in these trials and youll unlock components to upgrade your weapons later on in the Bastion. With such a variety of weapons, youre able to completely customize your play style meaning you can be all melee focused, ranged based or a blend of both. Some weapons are better suited for different enemies so youll constantly be playing with different load outs to find what works best for you.


Your shield will be able to block almost any attack thrown at you, but you need to make sure you block oncoming attacks from the front, as your back side is always vulnerable. A well timed block will actually counter an attack for massive damage. Youre also able to roll as well to avoid enemies and projectiles so youre never left defenseless.

As you unlock more shops in the Bastion youll have more access to various buildings that will help The Kid in restoring the Bastion. The Forge will be where you upgrade your weapons that will add new effects, damage and more that can be swapped at any time based on what you need (homing arrows with the Fang Repeater is so powerful is almost seems unfair). Youll also be able to choose one elixir per character level that adds passive perks such as more health, damage, inventory space and more. If you like a challenge you can also invoke shrines to turn up the difficulty for more rewards should you choose.

Near the end of the game youre given a choice of what you want to happen in the end of Bastion. These choices were quite difficult because they are neither a good or bad choice as its all left up to interpretation but they were both very rewarding and fulfilling. There arent many games that I instantly start a second play through once Im done the story, but this is one of those rare occasions that I instantly started the New Game+. What makes it even more enjoyable the second time through is that the narrator will even say slightly different things as if youve done this before. You already know what happens next dont you? is just an example of the amusing quims that will catch your ear the second time through.

Bastion has an incredible visual art style thats completely unique, loads of weapons that differ from one another, special abilities, perfect pacing, a worthwhile story all wrapped up in a narrative that will be remembered for quite some time. Logan Cunningham seriously has done some of the best narration Ive ever heard and Id actually put it on par with the narration that was in Alan Wake as well (which was brilliant).

Leaderboards and a New Game+ mode are not the only reasons for replay value as I tried playing with completely different weapons the second time through and it felt like a completely different game. Bastion has a very memorable soundtrack and score and is easily on par with some of the best XBLA games ever such as Limbo, Shadow Complex and Braid. Supergiant Games is forever on my radar from now on and I cannot say enough great things about how much I enjoyed my time saving the Bastion.



Suggestions:
Make a sequel!


Overall: 9.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10

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