Over the course of the summer, I had the chance to play (and finish) a few games and Bastion was one of them. I am glad I played it, and I can heartily recommend this Action RPG without any hesitation (it’s only $14.99 on Steam, but as usual I will provide you with an option to purchase below).
Of course, I might be a little biased. After all, the Action RPG genre is one of my favorites. From A Link to the Past to Secret of Mana to Ys, there are a great many titles that underscore its sublime beginnings. When it’s good, it’s good.
Naturally, there have been a few duds too. PC games don’t always port well over to consoles and sometimes vice versa. This issue isn’t a new one, as you are surely beginning to see.
Regardless, for those who like the Action RPGs already mentioned (although this one is definitely less RPG focused), and for those who liked Braid (although this title is definitely less puzzle focused), Bastion will surely satisfy.
Not much to say here. The controls are fluid and responsive, and I played with my USB Xbox 360 controller plugged into my quad-core Windows laptop. The only oddity is that you can sometimes walk right off the map (after you fall, you are dropped back on the map in the same general area; you take a bit of damage). Sometimes you’ll wind up in a pinch where enemies are ganging up on you, so falling and re-spawning puts you in even more of a sticky situation.
I liked the variety of weapons that are available in-game, and their configurability. Each weapon can be upgraded several times, and each time you have a choice between two options. The one selection typically increases the efficiency of the weapon, and the other the power of the weapon.
Bastion may not be on the cutting-edge of CG technology, but it has its own esthetic that proves effective and appealing. It is a very colorful and detailed game with plenty of action.
Visually, it took some getting used to. At higher resolutions, I found it a little difficult to read the text, and I also found that the colors sometimes run together, making it difficult to differentiate the terrain from the abyss below from the hero from the enemies. The maps kind of have that cobbled-together feel, so I guess this is just part of the esthetic, but it took time for me to acclimate.
The music in Bastion is diverse and beautifully composed. My only complaint is that there isn’t more of it. Though this certainly isn’t a long game, if you wanted to grind and collect all of the items and unlock the achievements and upgrade all of your gear, you would be playing for a long time. That means a lot of repeated listens to the same tracks.
Well… I like it. Or at the very least, I tried to like it.
See, most of the story is narrated by the deep-voiced narrator. I found it a little challenging to pay attention to everything being said (as it is sometimes in the midst of a swarm of enemies or boss battles), and put the puzzle pieces together to form a cohesive narrative. I suppose that could be one of the joys of a game like this though; joining the fragments together to develop a holistic view.
The gist of the storyline is that you’re in a post-apocalyptic world where you go on a quest to gather various items to reconstruct the Bastion. The Bastion is your “home base” where, as you progress, you can build more buildings and unlock more upgrades and extras.