I don't "get it".

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#1 Edited by Questionable (619 posts) -

So what is making Bastion so special that everyone has been raving over it since its inception? Just that a former colleague of the GB team made it happen? I have played about 10 of the levels so far since it went on sale yesterday and while i definitely dont find it a bad game i also can not recognize anything (yet) that makes this a 2011 gem. Will the story totally fuck up my mind after a certain key event? am i under-valueing the narrator? what is it that you guys see and i dont get?

I always thought of myself as a pretty refined gamer being able to value the ICO series, visual novels and even able to distil the great story of NIER trough all the horrendous gameplay.

When i pick apart my current experience of the game i fail to encounter anything significant. Should i just keep playing and expect it to fall into my lap as i round the next corner or am i missing something vital?

(The combat is very basic, it is certainly functional but not something that would make me want to boot up the game like a real action/adventure game. The presentation reminds me of a well made flash game, again nothing special but functional for a tight budget project. The OST is well GREAT, really good music definitely top 5 list material as far as game soundtracks go.)

#2 Posted by evilrazer (489 posts) -

I think it's "one of those" topics.

#3 Posted by AlisterCat (5568 posts) -

The fact that you value the art of Jen Zee as a 'well made flash game' means we have nothing in common, and leads me to believe you never will get it.

#4 Posted by animathias (1186 posts) -

I think the combat is really good. The option to take whatever two weapons you want with you gives you the ability to play the way you want, but no matter what combination I took, it was never too easy or too hard.

As for the presentation, I think the art is gorgeous, the music is great, and the narration is awesome.

#5 Posted by TobbRobb (4650 posts) -

Stop thinking, just roll with it. The combination of the great visuals, the soundtrack and the narrator makes for a really great experience. Playing just made me feel good, that's more than I can say for many other games.
The combat is fairly basic until you start to mismatch weapons and elixirs and try to play with the different difficulty options going. You can radically change how you play the game.

#6 Edited by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

It's probably mostly due to the fact that they worked with Greg and didn't have high expectations to his game and therefore were very pleased with it which caused the Giant Bomb forum men to also speak highly of it. That's how these things usually go, and so you will need to apply expectation management. The opposite is true for games they won't touch, which is mostly Japanese games, in which case you will have to apply expectation enhancement. 
 
Know thine Bomb, or the Bomb will end up in your ass.

#7 Posted by Jimbo (9812 posts) -

Bastion was well received outside of Giant Bomb too.

#8 Posted by Christoffer (1823 posts) -

I think it's a neatly packaged game where every element works together perfectly. Like everone else already have said, solid gameplay, beautiful artwork, great music, strong narration in a unique and interesting way. For me it's one of the strongest games of the year. But I'm a sucker for well told small stories. I think those stories are more complicated to perfect.

#9 Posted by Vorbis (2750 posts) -

As someone who enjoyed Nier I think the ending may change your mind.

#10 Posted by DeanoXD (608 posts) -

i can't say what it was exactly but i bought it day one played maybe a hour of it and never went back. The game just never hooked me which got me thinking the same thing what is it that other people see, that for whatever reason i don't.

#11 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4811 posts) -

@Vorbis said:

As someone who enjoyed Nier I think the ending may change your mind.

That really is the heart of it, isn't it? That kind of existential question that the game forces you to answer (in Bastion's case, witness in Nier's case) is worth a lot more than "flash inspired" art styles and chunky animations. When the OP gets to the end of Bastion, I'd like to know what he thought, and what choice he made.

#12 Posted by ZagZagovich (763 posts) -

I whole heartedly understand the "flash" aspect of presentation. From the beginning I wasn't a fan of the animation technique they used but I was so worried that combat would be bad because of it that I was pleasantly surprised just how many options you had in your fighting style and just the way it felt really impressed me. Plus the need to combine all the tactics against different enemies wasn't something I expected to see. The game overall was just a really fun experience for me so I hope you will be able to enjoy it before it ends but if the atmosphere does nothing for you at this point I don't know if it will later on. Try to not take it as a flash game though, it's the main problem of it and it can ruin the experience.

#13 Posted by Winternet (8019 posts) -

Great art style, great storytelling, great music, the gameplay is very solid and fluid. You're always in control of the character's actions.

#14 Posted by bibamatt (1088 posts) -

Yeah, it didn't grab me totally either. I really liked it, but it didn't come anywhere near my top 10 (or even 20) for the year. I think it looks great, the narrator is awesome, but the thing that grabbed everyone else (whatever it was) just didn't quite get me in. I'm not gonna go all crazy and say it's not a great game (the overwhelming critical praise can't really be ignored), but I personally didn't get it. So yeah, I'm with you - you're not crazy.

#15 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

I didn't love it until I finished it for the 2nd time, then it grabbed my heart and everything was perfect.

Until then, I 'just' enjoyed it a lot. A lot. Comparing how it looks to a flash game ... ouch :/

#16 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

@drag said:

Comparing how it looks to a flash game ... ouch :/

#17 Posted by Brodehouse (9950 posts) -

Because the art is crisp and beautiful, the music is absolutely vital to the experience, there is a lot of depth to the combat, it rewards timing exactly as it should, and the storytelling is not just great in scope but in pacing. A lot of games have great depth or great moments, but are paced absolutely horribly. There is not a moment where Bastion bogs down in long stretches of exposition, or goes through so much action and twists that it just needs to stop and catch its breath. Rucks doling out the narrative through your already tightly timed (and player controlled) progression allows them to tell a properly paced story, which happens so rarely in games.

And the ending is alright, but the real emotional heart of that game happens at the climax. It's one of those moments people remember 10 years later. And what really makes it incredible is it doesn't rely on a reveal about the nature of a character like so many other important reveals (BioShock, Silent Hill 2, KOTOR)... it reveals the nature of an entire people, almost humanity in general. It's absolutely pitch-perfect, and if it doesn't have the same effect on you as it did me, I can only feel sorry that it doesn't.

#18 Edited by Questionable (619 posts) -

Thanks everyone for the replies,

I will continue my bastion adventure tonight and try to stop over analyzing all the different design choices and just attempt to put a heavier emphasis on the audio/visual presentation and narrator aspect.

#19 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Just finish it. Trust me.

#20 Posted by imsh_pl (3295 posts) -

I think there are many details which when combined elevate Bastion above the rest:

  • The music is really, really good and combines different genres and instruments in unique ways
  • While I didn't find the plot that exciting I must say there are a few good, unexpected twists
  • The combat is great, you have to be on your toes the whole time, the game encourages experimenting and literally ever weapon and tonic is useful in certain situations
  • The narrator is awesome and original
  • The elevating battlefield is awesome and original
  • The artstyle is beautiful
  • It has great replayability and enough content even for a $40 game

Many of these (all of them, actually) are subjective of course but I think what makes Bastion click is how well all of the above traits are implemented

#21 Posted by Getz (3013 posts) -

Bastion clicked for me almost instantly. You are a lost cause.

#22 Posted by emem (1968 posts) -

Well, it's a matter of taste and sometimes you are the person who doesn't get it. I don't like Trenched for example even though most people do (because I can't stand the way the mechs move).  
 
Sometimes you also have to play a game at the right time and in the right mood to be able to appreciate it, imho.

#23 Posted by Buscemi (1106 posts) -

You're a jerk, duder! 

#24 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5828 posts) -

I didn't think it was anything special either...

#25 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

It's a solid game but that's where it ends for me.

#26 Posted by Vodun (2370 posts) -

I tried the demo and I didn't like it either. You know what? I'm fine with that. You can't love everything.

#27 Posted by Ramone (2966 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

Bastion was well received outside of Giant Bomb too.

#28 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I think Bastion is a case where it either "clicks" for a player very close to the start of the game or not at all.

However, that's not to imply that those for whom it "clicks" are superior or the inverse playerbase inferior. Different strokes, or whatevs.

#29 Posted by project343 (2825 posts) -

Every aspect of the game simply nails it. That's why Bastion is so good. The music, the narration, the art, the gameplay--it's all pitch-perfect for what it is. Constantly finding new weapons up until the last level of the game, and the tight-as-fuck gameplay... it's overwhelmingly flawless.

#30 Posted by Thoseposers (785 posts) -

I'm in the same boat with the guys that it doesn't really do anything for. But that seems to always be the case for me with any indie game

#31 Edited by GaspoweR (3032 posts) -

I actually really liked Bastion even though I didn't follow Building the Bastion that closely. After I started playing and getting into the game, that was when I started watching the videos. I thought it was great with what they could do with the narration given resources they had at their disposal. I would say that the narration style of the game is very minimalist and it works. It fills in back story without it having you to stop and watch a cut scene and it keeps you engaged in the game. I thought the art design as well made it stand out. Even Ken Levine likes Bastion narrative style to the point that in during an interview with Guillermo del Toro, Ken actually recommended the game to Guillermo. I don't really know what else to say other than that.

EDIT: I actually wonder what Zodiac_MF's opinion on this topic would be...hmmm...

#32 Posted by NoelVeiga (1099 posts) -

I was actually put off by the GB connection and I still ended up loving the final product. The game just won me over. Being able to deliver that much emotional impact on what amounts to an update on Gauntlet is a pretty large accomplishment. But hey, opinions and assholes and all that.

#33 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

@FancySoapsMan said:

I didn't think it was anything special either...

I'm with you. I thought it was an ok, enjoyable game but that's about it.

#34 Posted by Dylabaloo (1549 posts) -

You can get immersed in the world, through the visuals and soundtrack; just let go and play.

#35 Posted by TehBuLL (612 posts) -

@emem said:

Well, it's a matter of taste and sometimes you are the person who doesn't get it. I don't like Trenched for example even though most people do (because I can't stand the way the mechs move). Sometimes you also have to play a game at the right time and in the right mood to be able to appreciate it, imho.

No one REALLY liked Trenched so don't worry about it.

#36 Posted by MajorMitch (518 posts) -

To me it's not necessarily any particular aspect, it's mainly the personality and enthusiasm of it. The entire vibe I get from Bastion (which comes from a lot of places, like the artwork, music, combat style, etc.) sparks my imagination more than most modern games. Maybe it's because I grew up playing similar styled SNES games, but Bastion felt like it had more heart than anything else I've played in a while, which is why I like it so much.

#37 Posted by Rhaknar (5939 posts) -

i played about 3 hours of it and couldnt get into it either, to eahc its own i say, we cant all like the same stuff

#38 Posted by TwoLines (2811 posts) -

If it just doesn't click with ya, it just doesn't. Don't make a thread about it, I really don't get why people do that. Do you want us to convince you? You don't have to like all the games that are considered good by the rest.

#39 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

These I Don't Get It threads are busted as hell. No matter what anyone tells you, you still won't get "it".

#40 Posted by EightBitShik (1334 posts) -

@imsh_pl said:

I think there are many details which when combined elevate Bastion above the rest:

  • The music is really, really good and combines different genres and instruments in unique ways
  • While I didn't find the plot that exciting I must say there are a few good, unexpected twists
  • The combat is great, you have to be on your toes the whole time, the game encourages experimenting and literally ever weapon and tonic is useful in certain situations
  • The narrator is awesome and original
  • The elevating battlefield is awesome and original
  • The artstyle is beautiful
  • It has great replayability and enough content even for a $40 game

Many of these (all of them, actually) are subjective of course but I think what makes Bastion click is how well all of the above traits are implemented

#41 Posted by NipCrip66 (125 posts) -

I am playing this currently and am saving judgement till I finish it (am fairly sure I am close to the ending now) but as things stand at the moment I can see both sides. The combat is very well done with a variety of enemies and an excellent array of weaponry. The ability to dynamically make the game harder is a nice touch and the fact that you don't have to go to the proving grounds unless you want to is a very good idea. The artwork is gorgeous and the soundtrack, while limited, is very nice. I would have liked to have seen a few more frames of animation but it is a small team and it doesn't distract from an overall great artistic style.

As I say I haven't finish the game so maybe the final story-twist will blow me away but so far I don't greatly care about it and am not particularly intrigued to find out what happens next. Whether this is due to the somewhat vague narration I don't know. As for the narrator himself I haven't found anything he's said particularly deep or hilarious. I've smiled at a couple of the lines but that's been about it. My wife yesterday even said "doesn't that guy talking over everything drive you mad?".

My only real irritant with the game is the ability to fall off the world. In a game where you have to evade attacks in a usually narrow path, it can be really annoying. I know it doesn't cost you much health but in the more challenging scenarios and with some rather vague art assets it can be a bit of a pain.

In general I think the game does a lot of things right and one or two things wrong and, while it hasn't grabbed me as it obviously has others in this thread, it has been enjoyable and one of the XBLA highlights of the year. I'm just glad I picked it up for half-price.

#42 Edited by Questionable (619 posts) -

@TwoLines said:

If it just doesn't click with ya, it just doesn't. Don't make a thread about it, I really don't get why people do that. Do you want us to convince you? You don't have to like all the games that are considered good by the rest.

Even if i don't find a game personally appealing it is nice to know what sets it apart for people so they can look back on it fondly, ico was a pretty average game if you would aproach treat it as a mere adventure game but the story and atmosphere presented was phenomenal, sometimes a game just calls for a different aproach to really shed its collours. i kinda want to be informed and be in the loop, even if i missed my train to GOTY ville

#43 Posted by TwoLines (2811 posts) -

@Questionable: Fair enough.

#44 Edited by hollitz (1520 posts) -

I'm not really seeing what's special about it either. If I had purchased it during the summer I might have played it to completion, but I've put about 2 hours into it and I'm probably never going to pick it up again. Too much other stuff I'd rather be playing. Oh well. I don't feel like it was money wasted though. I'm all for supporting indie ventures.

Also, I don't think it's unreasonable to make a thread about a well received game not working for you. Sometimes you just need some assurances that your taste isn't fucked.

#45 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

I played the demo on the PC and didn't like it that much. Didn't buy it during the steam sale either. Don't really care.

#46 Posted by ichthy (513 posts) -

I wonder what the average age of people who don't like it are. Nothing against those people, but I think one of the reasons I love Bastion so much is the simplicity of the gameplay. In Tetris, you rotate and drop blocks. Super Mario Brothers, run to the right and jump on things, occasionally shooting fireballs. Simple gameplay mechanics executed to perfection with no complex AI patterns or wonky physics engines to gum up the experience, which allows these games to be timeless classics. I feel like as games are becoming bigger, they're also are becoming increasingly complex to the point where no matter how great a title is, there's always, always, some annoying problem that detracts from my enjoyment and is due to some technical issue that I can't prevent. If you're somebody that started playing games when mechanics like camera control were already an issue that you had to deal with, then maybe you might not find this game to be quite as special. But for me it's that perfect execution of simple gameplay combined with gorgeous artwork, amazing soundtrack, and an interesting story in a well-paced packaged that makes the game a GOTY contender.

#47 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1766 posts) -

I'm in the same boat, for the most part. I've played a similar amount and while I find it in no way a bad game, I'm not drooling over it either. I think it's champions put a lot of stock in it's presentation, and if that isn't grabbing you then you are "missing" the best parts.

#48 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

Bastion is an awesome game, One of the Year's Best for various reasons expressed across the internet. If someone "doesn't get it" I really don't feel compelled to make a case... it's whatever their loss

#49 Posted by maxB (314 posts) -

Amazing art, great story, tight controls, great arsenal of weapons, and a awesome narrator.

#50 Posted by Commisar123 (1792 posts) -

I think the music is a huge part of it, also the ending is very effective and emotional. I also love the gameplay, but I could understand if someone doesn't.

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