Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bastion: Beautiful RPG Game


Bastion is the beautiful action role playing game from SuperGiant Games. Equipped with an assortment of weapon choices, a variety of upgrades, and difficult challenges, this indie game is sure to become a cult classic.
The Pros
  • Absolutely beautiful
  • Tons of customization
  • Can be as easy or difficult as you like
The Cons
  • Story is lacking
  • Constant narrator is distracting
  • Linear levels don't offer as much exploration

(DTB Rating: 9.25/10)
The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9.5
The game has the right combination of depth and difficulty along with a heavily customizable experience
GRAPHICS
9
The art style of the game is gorgeous; colors and sprites give the game a lively feel.
SOUND
9.5
Bastion has one of my favorite video game soundtracks and the narrator makes it all that better.
VALUE
10
Bastion packs in more content in a downloadable game than many full priced retail games. There are multiple endings to complete, a new game plus mode, and tons of challenges specific to the different weapons in the game.
FUN FACTOR
9
The game always provides you with a set of new content as you progress. That alongside a great story, fantastic gameplay, and amazing soundtrack will definitely provide a fun exciting playthrough.
OVERALL
9.5
Simply put Bastion is one of the best downloadable games available and is definitely one of the greatest and most unique experiences I have ever come across.

Game Description:The goal of Bastion is to construct a safe haven in the wake of the Calamity, a cataclysmic event that shattered the world into a series of floating islands. As players journey into the wild unknown in search of survivors and supplies, they will confront strange beasts, forge an array of customizable weapons, and gain new powers from specially-brewed spirits. The entire play experience of Bastion ...is dynamically narrated, gradually revealing a rich backstory as the narrator reacts to the player's actions in real time.

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The 2nd half of 2011 is looking to be a pretty crowded time for video game releases. The release list is huge and is filled with lots of compelling titles which makes it extremely hard to choose which ones to buy. If there is one title that should not be missed as part of this year’s release lineup it’s definitely Bastion.

Bastion is a downloadable action-RPG created by a small development studio called Supergiantgames. The game has a lot of hype behind it especially coming out of E3 2011. The art style is attractive, the gameplay felt fun, and the dynamic narrator in the background really gives the game its unique flavor. But just how did the final product turn out? Well to say the least, Bastion is definitely one of the greatest and most unique downloadable titles to hit this year’s calendar.


Bastion is set in a world which recently experienced a catastrophic event referred to as the “Calamity”. The Calamity wiped out most of the people in the world and left its areas scattered in ruins. You control one of the survivors of the Calamity referred to simply as the kid who suddenly wakes up at the start of the game. The kid immediately heads to a place called the Bastion which is where people have agreed to go in case anything went wrong. You arrive and much to your dismay the Bastion is nearly nonexistent.

The kid however meets an old man who says that the Bastion can be rebuilt by finding certain pieces that can bring it back to how it was before the Calamity. The old man also explains that if they work together they just might be able to do something about this whole situation caused by the Calamity. The kid hence embarks on a journey to find these pieces in order to rebuild the Bastion and hopefully find a solution to this mess.

The thing you will notice immediately when picking up Bastion is the narrator in the background describing the events as they happen throughout the game. This is not just a series of static dialog that simply explains the story and the background events of the game.  Rather the narrator actually comments on nearly everything the kid is doing. The narrator thus acts as your guide, commentator, and story driver. There were early worries regarding the narrator in that people were concerned that he would start getting annoying after a while of playing.

However since the narrator is dynamic and nearly 3000-4000 lines of narration were recorded for the game the narrator is nearly never repetitive. Unless you are really nitpicky the narrator in fact hugely enhances the experience of playing Bastion.


Bastion’s gameplay is similar to other action-RPG titles such as Zenonia, Diablo, and Baldur’s Gate. You have a top down view of your character (the kid) and you play through different areas in order to complete the objectives required. The game’s main central location which you will always return to after completing an area is the Bastion. The Bastion changes and develops as you start rebuilding it. It’s pretty amazing to see how slowly but surely this place is fixing up and how the true potential behind it is getting uncovered bit by bit.
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The gameplay of Bastion has a great balance of depth and difficulty which makes it relatively easy to pick up while still requiring a good amount of skill to complete the game. As you make your way through the game you will start leveling up the kid and choosing which upgrades he will acquire. After each level up you can choose one upgrade to assign to the kid. These upgrades vary in their purpose and will hugely affect the kid’s abilities. The game offers a great variety of upgrades to customize the kid with which gives you the choice of how you want the character to play like.

The game also features a large library of weapons to unlock and use in battle. The weapons diversify from your starting hammer all the way to shotguns and rifles. You can only however bring 2 weapons with you to combat. Your weapons can also be upgraded and enhanced by collecting materials and using them to purchase upgrades. The weapons are highly customizable giving you different routes on what upgrades you choose to give your weapons. This gives you 10s of combinations to go with which proves to be quite fun to try out. In addition to the weapons you equip you also get to choose one “secret skill” to use in combat. 

Secret skills are powerful attacks or temporary upgrades that often, but not necessarily, rely on which weapons you chose to take to battle with you. There is a list of secret skills provided to you at the start of the game, but as you progress the list grows in number and you eventually end up with a wide arsenal to pick from.

Throughout your adventures you will fight an array of monsters from different types, shapes and sizes.  It’s interesting to note that the monsters you fight are very different and unique from one another. There are always different ways to approach each monster and hence you need to find the right combination of weapons and moves to beat them. This is definitely one of the strong aspects of Bastion as it keeps the gameplay fresh and new as you progress throughout.

There are also a lot of optional things you can choose to do. You can complete challenges specific to each weapon you unlock  in locations called “Proving Grounds “which in return rewards you with different materials and items. You can also choose to activate certain idols a place called The Shrine located in the Bastion which makes the monsters in the game harder but in turn presents you with a variety of rewards. There is also a place called the memorial which presents you a bunch of side objectives that when completed can be redeemed for fragments to purchase materials and upgrades.


I had really high expectations for Bastion and the game didn’t disappoint one bit. I often felt myself highly engaged with the characters and the world which is something that is quite uncommon in games these days. The final part of the game also offered some hard moral choices that needed to be made. I don’t want to really give away anything about the game but let’s just say it’s something that many other games often fail to deliver in comparison. Supergiantgames truly did an amazing job with Bastion and people will definitely be on the lookout for their next project. Bastion is worth every single bit of its $15 price tag and is definitely one of the greatest and most unique experiences I have ever come across.


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