Bastion was a game that I was absolutely aware of leading up to the games release last year, thanks almost entirely to the fantastic pre release coverage that Giant Bomb provided. But despite following the game from it's infancy, I never really latched onto it. I watched the videos and laughed along as I tend to do while watching some good ol' GB content but never did I think "Man, this looks like one of my favourite games of all time."... and boy was I wrong.
I ignored Bastion when it was first released. I saw it come and go and figured that I'd play it when I had nothing else to do, or when it became so cheap that it leave much of a dent in my wallet. It took about 8 months before I finally picked it up on a whim when I had noticed that it dropped down in price 50%. Later that night I decided to start playing and see how the finished product had finally turned out, and was absolutely floored by what I saw, heard, and played. I knew the main gimmick of the game was the narrator, played by Logan Cunningham, going in, but what I didn't expect was just about everything else. The tightness and accuracy of the controls were wonderful, the art style was stunning, but what surprised me the most was the music.
My god, the music. Even as I sit here writing this I am listening to soundtrack on my phone, as I have been doing almost every day since I played the game. What could have been generic fantasy music was instead not only pushed aside but thrown off a cliff by composer Darren Korb who managed to bring in such an unique style that really helped the game stand out for me. It's amazing thinking about all of the elements and instruments that he manages to bring into this soundtrack and not have it sound the least bit cluttered. Whether the song features violins, a xylophone (!!), horns or just an acoustic guitar, all of the songs have their own unique and cohesive feel. On the couple of occasions that vocals are introduced,
The soundtrack is, as I said, fantastic, but it could go unnoticed if it were not for the songs being played at the right moment. Instead of being lost in the shuffle of all of the other great things in this game, though, SuperGiant manages to place them perfectly. On the couple of occasions that vocals are introduced, I found myself freezing in place not only in game but in my seat, just absorbing the perfect moment that I have just stumbled into and doing whatever I can to make it last as long as it possibly can. There is a moment later in the game where one of these songs hit, and the moment is so well down that I became completely lost in the moment and had to do what I could to hold back a few tears. Even as I sit hear listening to Build That Wall, one of the sang songs from the soundtrack, I have to grab a hold of myself to concentrate because all I do is think of the first time I heard it. Needless to say, I think that you should go out and buy the soundtrack now. Like, right now. I did, you wouldn't want to feel left out, now would you? All the cool kids are doing it.
I could honestly go on all day talking about just the music in Bastion, but there are so many other things going on. As I said, the gameplay itself is great, after you get used to the controls and choose the weapons that you wish to use, you will moving in whichever way you want without the game catching up to you and telling you no. It's really a great experience... and then, finally, there is the art.
Immediately after beating Bastion I did two things. First, I ordered a physical copy of the soundtrack, because ohmygodyouguys, and second, I ordered a print from SuperGiant signed by Bastion's resident totally awesome artist Jen Zee. The art style for the game is breathtaking and attention grabbing. As soon as you turn the game on you are greeted with vibrant but not overbearing colours and just some fantastic design. The characters and monsters have a very distinct feel to them, and the Bastion itself is quite a stunning piece to look at when you first arrive there. Unfortunately I burned myself out a bit with my fanatical music talk, but one look at a screenshot of this game will tell you just how great the art style itself is.
Now, we find ourselves at the end of my insanely long supposedly little blog about Bastion. If you are like me and are one of the people who followed the game up through it's development but never decided to pull the trigger and actually play it yourself, I beg you to stop that right now and stop being stubborn, please and thank you. If you already have, good on you! You are awesome, and I love you.
Bastion took my expectations and threw them back in my face. I expected a fun weekend, and instead I got an incredibly memorable, fun, beautiful and absolutely gut wrenching experience that I will never forget. If you've read to this point, you are an absolute mad man (or mad woman), but I thank you for listening to my sometimes incoherent rambling. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some music to go listen to.