|And you thought your commute was bad|
|Me in early 2008, first year of university, Pink Floyd and North by North-West on my dorm room wall. Trilby on my head. This has not gone well.|
Picking up the PiecesVisually Bastion borrows more from the Disgaea series than fallout and it is beautiful. The world ending event (known only as "the Calamity") that starts the game's narrative launched the parts of the world it didn't destroy into the sky and the Kid possesses a magical emblem which draws in parts of those shattered lands as you progress.
This means the game world literally builds itself around you; dead ends become new paths and impassable chasms become bridges as you approach them. You literally put the pieces of your broken world back together as you move around, no side quests or back tracking, just your presence. It's very satisfying.
Your Weapon is Choice
Gameplay wise Bastion is simple but endlessly varied. You unlock new weapons as you progress though the game. These include a fast slashing machete, a blunderbuss, dueling pistols, a spear, a bow, a sledge hammer, a flame thrower and many more. Each weapon has a special move you can take with you on your missions to various levels allowing you to mix and match to find the combination that suits you best. There are also various unlockable tonics that augment the Kid and give him extra passive abilities in combat.
Many people will find themselves settling into a specific two weapon and special move combination mid way through the game allowing you to play Bastion your way. The weapons and tonics are well balanced as well and most enemies can be beaten using clever application of any weapon you choose so no back tracking to the hub world to rub a specific item on a specific monster so you can progress.
An Oral History, An Aural World
One of the things that impressed me most about bastion is the way it tells it's story. From beginning to end your journey through the game is narrated by a character called Rucks. As in literally narrated; Rucks praises your choice in weapons, urges you on when times are tough and helps you find your way if you are lost. He also feeds you small snippets of information as you rebuild the world hinting at how things got so bad. This may seem like it would get annoying but it's done so well that you come to love him as if he was actually there fighting alongside you. Also he sounds like a prospector from the old west which makes the game feel like the post apocalyptic tale Mark Twain never got round to writing.
|Have I ever told ya a tall tail I heard about a kid named Huck Fin?|
On that subject the music of Bastion is also a masterpiece of sound design; somewhere between ambient electronica and good old boy western folk it hits all the right notes at all the right moments. Also specific characters have specific musical cues and songs attributed to them which have hidden meanings that become clearer the more you learn about them.
Bastion: An Individual Amongst Indy Games
Bastion stands proud of it's Indy game compatriots largely due to the relaxed way that it tells its story and the use of simple mechanisms to create a compelling game world that speaks for itself. It tells an honest, somewhat depressing but ultimately hopeful story in a simple, honest way. Visually it's beautiful, gameplay wise it's balanced, varied and fun and its characters are realistic, relateable and compelling. Why are you still reading this? You should be playing it!
Stay Crunchy Internet