Bastion is an action RPG developed by the newly formed Supergiant Games. What immediately sets Bastion apart is the fact that the entire game is narrated dynamically. Almost every action you make will be commented on by the smooth voiced narrator known as "The Stranger". The idea of an ever present narrator has the potential to turn sour, but Bastion pulls it off brilliantly. The unique narration, beautiful hand drawn graphics, moving music, interesting story, and fast paced gameplay combine to make Bastion one of the best download only games available.
In Bastion you play as The Kid who is one of the survivors of what is referred to as the calamity. He finds himself in a safe haven, not surprisingly called The Bastion. It's been badly damaged by the calamity and needs to be repaired. Your job is to find cores that can rebuild it. In order to collect the cores you'll need to visit new areas and fight through hordes of monsters. Along the way you'll gain experience, money, and items.
Initially the combat system seems shallow and easy, but that judgment quickly fades away. There are numerous enemy types in Bastion and they're coming at you almost constantly. In order to tackle the varied enemy types The Kid is equipped with a wide variety of weapons. At first you'll only have two weapons to choose from, but that arsenal grows at a rapid rate. There are melee and ranged weapons, but most melee weapons also have a ranged attack. With melee weapons you just mash the button to cut your opponent. With ranged strikes you hold down a button and release when you're ready to attack. If you release when kid is glowing green you will pull of a critical hit. You can equip two weapons at once, which allows for you to deal with various situations.
In the beginning its easy enough to hack at your enemies or shoot them down, but the difficulty ramps up quickly. This is where the dodge roll and shield come in handy. The dodge roll allows The Kid to move around quickly to escape situations. The shield blocks almost all damage when its out. If you put it up right before taking a hit The Kid will counter the enemy attack to damage them. The timing is hard to master, but it's certainly worth it on later levels. In addition to these defensive moves The Kid can equip various combat abilities. These can be anything from frag grenades to creating friendly monsters.
Bastion's combat system is all about choice and playing the way you want. The wide variety of weapons allows for many different play styles. This may be why I never found myself becoming frustrated with the combat. It helps that health is never really an issue, because you carry healing potions with you and they are easily restocked. While the enemies do get stronger as the game goes on, so do you. There are numerous materials to collect that can be used to upgrade weapons. This is another instance where choice comes in. Each level of a weapon makes you choose between one benefit or another and it all depends on how you want to play. The upgrades can easily be switched, which is a nice bonus.
When he's not defeating enemies to get a core, The Kid is in The Bastion. Returning a core to The Bastion allows for the placement of a new building. These allow for The Kid to switch and upgrade weapons, or upgrade his own stats. There are a few more acquired later in the game that relate to challenges.
The final piece of the puzzle is the narrator. He's constantly involved with everything I've described so far. He never repeats himself and almost everything he does flushes out the world that Bastion takes place in. Paired with the mellow music and the hand drawn visuals the narrator helps to make Bastion's world feel unique.
I would highly recommend Bastion to anyone. The story took me around six hours to complete, but the game still has much more to offer. There are numerous in game challenges and a new game plus that make it worth going through at least twice, if not more. Words don't really do Bastion any justice. It's one thing to hear me describe it, but it's a whole different thing to experience it for yourself. The PC version of the game has a demo, which is a good way to get a taste of what it's all about. Supergiant Games hit it out of the park with their first release and I hope to see more of the same from them in the future.