Bastion game review: The pieces fit
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Platform:PC/Xbox Live Arcade/iPad
It’s time to rebuild the world one step at a time.
Bastion is a single-player role-playing game that drops you into the shoes of The Kid as you fight to rebuild the shattered world of Caelondia. A mysterious event known as The Calamity has fractured and destroyed much of the old world.
You control The Kid from a third-person isometric viewpoint as you blast, slash and smash your way across the world to restore the Bastion, a sacred sanctuary, and discover the mystery of The Calamity.
Bastionoffers a wide array of weapons, ranging from swords and hammers to pistols and mortars that are collected throughout the game. Before each mission you can pick two weapons and one special ability.
Special abilities range from decoy dummies that will confuse enemies to powerful grenades that can wipe out entire groups of foes. These abilities are tied to a potion called Black Tonic. At the beginning of the game, The Kid can only carry a maximum of three Black Tonics and three Health Potions, but more potions and tonics can be found in abundance throughout Caelondia.
As The Kid levels up, you unlock slots for “Spirits” that boost The Kid’s attributes. Spirits can be purchased or unlocked as you journey through the game with varying effects. Some offer minor buffs like increased health, while others will give you a bigger boost at the cost of reducing another stat like increased critical hits and decreased health.
Bastion’s graphics are reminiscent of vivid watercolors that shimmer and glow in a dreamy haze and immerse you deep into the game’s atmosphere. The Kid traverses the sundered world of Caelondia, and the ground rushes up from the void to lead him to the next piece of the puzzle.
This component makes the game very easy to navigate and almost impossible to get lost in. Enemies and obstacles often fall from the sky, keeping you on your toes and keeping the action continuous.
Much of the environment is destructible. Players who take their time and destroy as much as they can are rewarded with shards that are used as currency in Bastion.
The game offers a unique alternative to standard difficulty modes in the form of shrines and idols. Once you progress to a certain point in the game, you can restore the Bastion’s Shrine. This structure lets you invoke the gods, powering up enemies in varying ways.
Players who choose to do so will be rewarded with an increased percentage of experience gain and shard collection. Idols can be activated or deactivated before missions in the Bastion and unlocked or purchased as the game unfolds.
The game’s most notable achievement is in the sound effects and music department. The game features a revolutionary reactive narrator that guides The Kid through the adventure.
Bastion’s soundtrack is a masterpiece that never gets old. A blend of old west, the blues and eastern instruments is perfectly timed to raise the intensity of a battle or give a reflective calm to the game’s cut scenes.
Despite being a single player game, you never feel alone. Keeper of the Bastion, The Stranger, narrates The Kid’s quest with mysterious morsels, encompassing the history of Caelondia to the enigma of The Calamity. The Stranger will also comment on real-time events such as The Kid’s effectiveness in dealing with enemies and obstacles.
The only disappointment with Bastion is the game takes less than 10 hours to complete. Luckily, after you finish your first run through, new modes are unlocked like Score Attack Mode and New Game Plus mode that make a second play through enticing.
At the relative steal of $15 or 1,200 points on the Xbox, this game is a must-have that will keep you returning to Caelondia over and over again.