Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Gamespot Score: 8.5 (Great)

My Score: 8.0

(+) Pros: - Intriguing story and world, - Great visual and art style, - Amazing narrative makes the game more interesting, - Multitudes of ways to approach combat with the massive variety of weapons and abilities, - Good soundtrack, - Plenty of challenges and ways to spice up your experience.

(-) Cons: - Combat gets repetitive later in the game if you don't switch things up, - Not really difficult unless you play on the hardest difficulties.

Gameplay Time: About 10 Hours

Now here's a game that I've been LONG overdue to play. Back in 2011 I couldn't get this damn game to work on my PC, and not too long ago, "Bastion" was on sale in Steam, so you can guess what game I bought. "Bastion", even for a 4 year old game, is pretty damn solid, and for its asking price, its a damn steal. I've always had a soft spot for these kinds of low budget/indie games on the PC, I'd always thought that games like "Limbo" were cool, and "Bastion" is no exception. A top down, action RPG at heart, "Bastion" holds its own against the big boys, and even though these sorts of "indie" games are quite commonplace nowadays as compared to many years back, I can still recommend it as one of the best ones out there. "Bastion" is one heck of a unique and interesting experience, and there's not quite much like it.

You play as the Kid, a young wanderer who wakes up one day to see that his world has turned upside down. The world is hit with the Calamity, destroying everything far and wide. People turned to stone, and the world is filled with hostile creatures that attack anything on sight. Nobody knows what made the calamity, and the kid thinks that he's the only survivor. He traverses through his town, which has already fallen and been invaded by Gasfellas. He makes it to the Bastion to find Rucks, an old man who calls himself the Stranger. The Bastion is a fort meant to withstand the damage from the Calamity, and has an unknown power that can "restore" the damage that the Calamity has done. For that, the Kid has to travel to different lands to collect cores, and from there, his quest to restore the Bastion begins.

Them Gasfellas don't take too kindly for the Kid
trespassing in their territory...

First thing's first, "Bastion"'s world, story and lore is certainly quite interesting. It might be just me, but I'm really a huge sucker for stories that revolve around a collapsed world with only a few people left in it, with the protagonist being one of them. "Bastion"'s story, is interesting. You want to know what happened, you want to find out more about the Calamity, you want to know more about the Kid, the Bastion...you want to know everything. The game gives you these story pieces bit by bit, and items you pick up during journeys can be explained by various characters you know. The world slowly unfolds before you, you understand the characters more, and while the game possibly only has one character interacting with you throughout the entire game, its done so well that you're always hungering for more information about this world.

The game, even 4 years later, looks pretty fantastic. Technically, its not amazing, but artistically, it sure is. Environments are brightly colored and are full of detail, they also come in massive varieties, making each trip to get a core or shard a magnificent one. The post apocalyptic feel only enhances the experience. All of this is enhanced by an amazing narrative by Rucks. He makes comment after comment as he talks about the Kid's adventures, and it only makes everything else feel so intriguing. He keeps a constant, scruffy, cowboy tone throughout, and as he talks about monsters surrounding you as you do battle....its quite entertaining.

That there mech bull is not something you want to mess with.

Being a top down, action RPG, you'll get to see a lot in this game as you play as the Kid. The game is easy to understand, its sort of like an action based "Diablo". You navigate the Kid around with WASD and use the mouse buttons to attack your enemies, its a relatively simple game with minimal depth, you'll quickly learn how to make the most out of what you can do. While the game starts your options off as limited, you quickly get more and more added to your arsenal, with a mixture of melee and ranged attacks. The hostiles of Caledonia are crafty, and they come in many different shapes or sizes, many even utilize different tactics to take down a single kid, you'll need to be armed with your best and most favorable weapons if you want to survive. Minions and bosses galore, you'll have your fill of battles in this one.

Every weapon plays differently, each with their own abilities attached to make your combat experience richer and more interactive. Some weapons focus on speed (Machete, Repeater), some power/aoe (Hammer, Motar), while others focus on precision (Pike/Carbine). You can only take a combination of 1 melee weapon, 1 ranged weapon and a single ability so you'll really need to focus on what you want and what fits you the most. You're also given tonics with passively grant you effects on the field, though these are only awarded to you as you level up by defeating enemies. There are only 10 levels in the game, which is deceptively low, but its actually pretty damned hard to level up in this one. Other than that, as you progress throughout the game, you can upgrade the various facilities in the Bastion, allowing you to further upgrade your weapons and abilities, allowing for some progression.

Better get to it Kid, you've got a Bastion to rebuild.

Throughout the entire game, as you fight through monsters and explore the wilderness, the game is accompanied by a great soundtrack that somehow always manages to fit the current mood of the game. Its seemingly calm when you explore barren, worn down areas, or beautiful, stretched out plains of grass, and gets violent when you are attacked by a group of monsters. A flurry of orchestral instruments make the OST pretty amazing when it counts. Of course, while the game is relatively simple to catch on, you can spice up your experience with all the little bonuses that the game has to offer. For one, you'll unlock a shrine to worship the gods on your way through the game, you can invoke some blessings which make your game harder, in exchange for more rewards.

Obviously, this benefits the more daring players, as things get drastically more insane the more blessings you decide to invoke. There are also plenty of mastery challenges scattered throughout the game. These test your might and skill with the plethora of weapons that you've obtained throughout your journey, with each weapon having a trial of their own. Besting the game's challenges with said weapon grant you more bonuses and rewards, but these are tough. They ensure that you're DAMNED good at a weapon if you ever want to get that tasty first prize, and with so many weapons to master....the completionists are going to have a hard time.

Damned winbags sure make things tough.

"Bastion"'s cons come as simple complaints. For one, if you don't switch up on your weapons throughout the game, combat is going to get pretty repetitive. Thing is, you're going to find a style that suits you, and most of the time, the new weapons that come may or may not interest you. It will NOT benefit you to upgrade and focus on every weapon that you get, some weapons are better for some situations, but its ultimately better to focus on a few powerful, suitable ones that match your playstyle. Secondly, the difficulty, unless you're playing on the harder difficulties, the game is too damned easy on default difficulty. Even on the toughest of the memory boss rush segments, there isn't much that you can't handle with the proper weapons. If you want a true challenge, invoke the multiple gods at once.

"Bastion" is probably going to be one of those timeless indie games that will always shine apart from its competition. Its a fun adventure, and while it may lose some of its charm towards the end, its still a great journey to follow from start to end. More importantly, with multiple endings and a proper, satisfying conclusion, this is a game that ends on a high note. At its asking price, its not a stretch to recommend this game to those that haven't played it,.

Happy Gaming!