Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment,
Publisher: Supergiant Games
This game has seemingly appeared from nowhere. Kicking off the 2011 summer of arcade on Xbox Live, Bastion has blasted its way onto the scene, taking many gamers by surprise. Although publicised, it arrived with little to no fan fair and after playing the game, the only question to be asked is why not?
Bastion is a top down RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world. Players take control of a character who wakes up in his bed, and discovers the world around him has been destroyed. The player is quickly informed that upon discovering such an event, the world’s inhabitants have been instructed to make their way to a structure known as the Bastion. The remainder of the game centres around the player’s character as he searches various environments for artifacts that will lead to the restoration of his world.
The controls of the game are simple and easy to pick up. However, to progress through to the end, players will need to master what turns out to be a well thought out and intriguing battle system. A reasonable selection of weapons, as well as the ability to upgrade each of them adds a level of depth that isn’t immediately apparent when you begin the game.
Accompanying the great gameplay is a beautiful art style. As the main character (known only as “The Kid”) progresses through Bastion’s environments, the path will literally appear in front of him as he walks. Not only is this simple, yet beautiful, it also provides a novel way to create hidden paths and loot drops.
Surprisingly, although absolutely gorgeous, the environment isn’t the best part of the game. What will really win the hearts of gamers is the way the story is told. Interestingly throughout the game, there is a narrator who commentates on almost everything that’s going on, whether “The Kid” is spending his time smashing rocks, or completing important story objectives. This results in a freshness that’s a welcome break from the usual patches of gameplay broken up by cut-scenes. It not only perfectly rounds off the artistic direction of the game, but adds an element of humour to the title that is extremely enjoyable.
Between eight to twelve hours long, those wise enough to pick up the game will encounter a few issues that will become annoying. Probably the biggest of these is the loading times. Each loading screen can take around twenty five to thirty seconds and for an XBLA title this is a bit steep. It may not seem like much, but when you’re waiting to play, this can feel like an age. Exposing this unfortunate fact, in an attempt to add a little variety to the game, there is a challenge room for each weapon. these will require players to master each item in turn if they want to achieve the best results. For some reason there is no restart option, meaning that in order to re-try a challenge that you have just completed, players are forced to go through 3 loading screens. This is a complete waste of time, and an odd oversight.
The playing area can also, at times be a source of frustration. Towards the latter stages of the game, the areas become littered will holes. Although normally avoidable, during battles these can become frustrating. Not only will players suffer at the hands of their enemies on harder difficulties, but they will also find themselves being knocked off the map. This has been deliberately implemented by the developers, but it can become very annoying.
For the most part, Bastion is a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable little game. The Xbox Live Arcade will be one of this generation’s greatest legacies and Bastion is a prime example as to why. Too short to be a full priced release, it is likely that this game would either not have been made or, at the very least, have been missed by the huge audiences that the consoles are able to supply. This is a must play title for any RPG fan, and for anyone looking for something a bit different, it’s likely that bastion will scratch that itch too. Although not without its flaws, for the majority of the time it’s a fun and totally engrossing experience that will definitely leave its mark on all of those who give it a chance.
|Graphics:Bright and colourful, Bastion is a gorgeous looking game, even if it is a little simple.||9/10|
|Gameplay:Very simple and easy to pick up, as players get into the game they will find that there’s a level of depth to the gameplay that’s not immediately apparent from the beginning.||8/10|
|Story:Classic apocalyptic premise that we’re all very used to seeing, the way the story is told and presented is more than enough to see it through.||8/10|
|Replayability:There’s so much to keep players busy in Bastion. Challenge rooms, idols (that when switched on increases the difficulty in return for more XP), the chance for players to carry their stats and weapons over from previous play-throughs and branching story lines all make replaying the game an almost must.||9/10|
|Overall:A fantastic little RPG that is absolutely brimming with character. This is one of 2011’s stand out XBLA games and a must buy for RPG fans or anyone that likes something just a bit different.||8.5/10Great|