Bastion – review

Title screen

I was on holiday last week, and instead of playing otome games I was playing Bastion… somewhat rather obsessively, I have to admit. I had planned to have one full day just playing otome games from morning till night… in the morning I thought that I’d just play 1 stage in Bastion, just 1, there should be no harm in that… next thing I knew it was already nighttime and I had missed lunch and dinner. And didn’t even feel it.  So kudos to Supergiant Games for making such a fun game.

Also, warning, while the images you can see in the official website are medium in size, the ones I have on this post are HUGE. All the better to appreciate the scenery pr0n with :3

The Bastion, daytime

First thing first… if you’ve played Seiken Densetsu 3 before and loved it, then you’ll love this game. Why Seiken Densetsu 3…? …it was the first thing that came to my mind when I first saw Bastion’s trailer. The vibrant colours and style of gameplay somehow reminded me of SD3. It’s a good thing, since I loved SD3 and had probably finished it 4-6 times. Bastion is a very fun game to play (if you like the gameplay), and that aspect alone made Bastion worth every cent. Also, all the CGs I put up here is how it looks like when I play it full-screen on my PC. I’m very much in love with the colouring *swoon* For those interested, the Art Director for Bastion is Jen Zee (and here’s her DevArt page).

The Bastion, dusk

The premise of the story was this: the Calamity had just happened out of the blue and destroyed much of the world… or what you knew of the world. Places you’re familiar with, ruined beyond repair. The people you knew, loved or loathed, turned to stone to crumble to dust at the lightest touch of a fingertip. So the main character (called ‘Kid’) made his way to the Bastion, where everyone was told to go in events of catastrophe… guided by a stranger’s voice as the ground formed beneath his feet along the way. The story that was told after the Kid reached the Bastion was something you have to read for yourself.

The Wilds Outskirts

The first thing I thought of when I first started playing Bastion was this: this game was made with a LOT of love. The gameplay, the visual, the music, the narration, the way the story was told, the attention to details… Everything was, in my personal opinion, flawless. But again that’s my personal taste and might not be the same for everyone else. With regards to “attention to details”, take the Bastion itself, a structure of refuge the Kid has to return to everytime. The Bastion’s not stagnant; whenever you come back to it, it might be raining, sunny, at dusk with fireflies floating around, cloudy, etc. The amount of care dedicated to it was astonishing. With regards to the stages in the games, there are lots of stages (I think more than 25…?)… and you only visit each of the stage ONCE in a whole playthrough. That all the stages looked distinct from one another…  I can’t even imagine how much time was spent on them.

delirium

One unique thing about Bastion as a game is its narration. Bastion doesn’t have your usual system, where the characters’ portraits would show up on the screen as they say their piece of dialogue… instead in Bastion, everything is narrated by a single narrator. Everything. The story, what the Kid does or failed to do, what the Kid say to the other characters and what the other characters say in return… all of it narrated by a single person. It’s strange to say, but having everything you do on-screen being narrated by a single person work very well in Bastion. I’ve read review of another game where the game itself was good but the narrator ruined the game by sounding too whiny or by not having the right kind of voice… no such thing in Bastion. The single narrator WORKS for Bastion. A perfect fit like a glove… kudos for the VA, Logan Cunningham for such an excellent job. The voice he employed for Bastion was… disturbingly sexy bordering on audio pr0n. …just try to listen to the trailer below.

 

Of course, an equal amount of love had been devoted to the OST. And fittingly, the OST to the game has a Western feel to it… I can’t even explain why it fits with the narrator, it just did. Below is a good example of one of the songs from the OST.

Below is another sample… that was rather odd. When I first listened to the song on its own, it was good but wasn’t special. The first time I encountered the stage with this song playing though… it changed the whole thing. Suddenly the song took on a haunting, melancholic feel to it… and became a song I really liked.

 

Jawsons Bog

With regards to the Bastion, it’s a bit of a homebase, you can upgrade your weapons, customise your weapons’ upgrades, choose which combination of weapons to bring with you (you can only bring 2 out of a possible 11), etc. You can even activate/request the assistance of gods, which counter-intuitively will make the game harder in exchange for more EXP and money. To go through the game while these gods are activated is an impressive feat on its own (which I’m yet to achieve since I’m too much of a coward). All of these offers a high replayability value… and speaking of replayability, the game has 2 major decisions to make at the end, followed by 2 choices of ending. That makes it 4 different ending combinations. If you’re going to play, I suggest selecting these: “Move on/Restore” on your first playthrough, followed by “Take/Evacuate” on your second walkthrough. It makes the story flows along nicely.

THAT TURRET IS THE CUTEST THING EVER.

Also, with regards to replaying the game… when you finish the game the first time around, you can start a New Game+ where you get to carry on your EXP, money and upgraded weapons from the previous game. It definitely helps to make the game easier in your subsequent playthrough. Also, if you’re thinking about getting this game… get the Steam version, as it has extra bits the XBOX Live version doesn’t have. Namely, the ability to summon turrets from Portal(!!) to help you. And knowing how much of a rabid Portal fangirl I am… the fact that Supergiant Games put in this Portal cameo in Bastion greatly endeared them to me.

In short… if you look at the gameplay and think that it’s something you’d like to play, go get it. It’s worth it. Now excuse me while I continue my New Game+ and neglect otome gaming altogether…

The Calamity gave us something else. A story. That may not sound like much. Well… wait till you hear it.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. DN
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 21:04:23

    I absolutely love this game. My friend bought it for me for Christmas this year. I am glad I am not the only one who thinks the voice over is sexy and awesome as heck for the game.

    Reply

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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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