Bastion Review

As I mentioned last week, one of the many games I bought from the Steam Holiday sale was indeed Bastion. After playing the holy hell out of Mass Effect 2 for a while I decided it was time to put it away and move on. Well…Bastion I sort of played in between it and others when I wanted something a bit more light. Bastion did well in this scenario, but it had a bit more to it than I though it would. Doesn’t mean there is a lot of things that need to be covered in a review, but gameplay time and such I think was a bit longer and more challenging (if you add in difficulty) than I though tit would be.

First off, Bastion looks wonderful. The art style is very colorful and cartoonish, but fantastic. Very bright and beautiful and a joy to wander around in the world. The video trailer at the bottom should be just enough to give you the ides.

The game itself is an Action RPG. You play as a young kid that wakes up in a world where everything, and everyone is gone. The world is torn a part and you are alone. You get out of bed and begin to start searching only to find destruction. You grab yourself a giant hammer and begin to crush everything you see. All the while there is a voice narrating the journey and it is quite a good voice narration I must say.

Eventually you find yourself in the Bastion. The central hub for your character where you will upgrade your skills, your weapons, and other upgrades you have at your command. This is basically the hub for your RPG leveling elements in the game. You come here after defeating a level, or anytime and you are able to switch out your weapon loads, skills, or change around some of your level passive abilities. It’s not complicated, but you do have quite a few things you can upgrde. All this is quite simple and very low level from a planning standpoint. There are some thins you can do as a strategy with what you carry with you, or the potions you use for certain areas, but overall it’s not complicated and anyone could do it.

That brings us the combat when saying anyone can do it. Early on you have very few troubles. Enemies aren’t ‘easy”, but they are certainly easy for anyone with RPG, or gaming experience as they should be early on. As you get further into the game however, enemies certainly become stronger, but they added a neat little option to the game. You can find these “Idols” of gods that you can activate to increase difficulties. 10 in all, and they do things such as make enemies more aggressive, take more hits, or cause you more damage. The more you activate the more EXP, and drops. This can REALLY get tough if you activate enough of them. Especially in a special are an type world you will run into eventually that you need to go to if you want to get the best upgrades and EXP fast.

You fight with a melee weapon, and a ranged weapon (For some reason at first only can carry one of each, but for me eventually I had 2 ranged weapons equipped only). You also get to carry one skill with you that either relates to a carried weapon, or is a general “magic” skill. You have HP and you heal with potions. Your skills use another potion that is a black bottle. Once you use the stash of bottles (you start with 3) you must find more in the level in crates or enemy drops, or when you get back to the Bastion they will replenish. With the Leveling up you can add a special tonic to your shelves that gives you more power boosts, more HP, more bottles, etc. There are quite a few and can be changed in the Bastion at any time. This allows for a bit of strategy in how you defend/fight with enemies. The combat is very much action orientated. You shoot arrows/guns, or pound on things with a hammer, sword, etc. You have the ability to roll/dodge, and you even have a SHIELD you can carry that basically blocks everything thrown at you if used correctly (It’s not as easy as it sounds, and doesn’t make you even close to invincible. You may think you, are, but you will find out quickly when you die you weren’t).

AS you go through fighting through the levels you are searching for cores to piece your world back together, and to find other people that may have survived. All along you are meeting new people along the way and hearing about your adventures from a narrator during the fights. I mean the dude talks the whole way through the game as if he’s reading a story about your actions. It’s not annoying at all so don’t think that is what i meant. It’s not CONSTANTLY, but just enough to give you some good chuckles while playing, and to keep the atmosphere perfect for the game.

The story is simple, and the gameplay is simple. The art style is beautiful, and the narration is a joy to listen to. It’;s a very good action RPG. Very few flaws, if any. Length is probably around 10 hours or so if you take your time a bit maybe. It’s really not possible to take your time since when you beat a level there is not much reason to go back. It has a few challenge areas you probably need to complete if you want materidal to upgrade your weapons. You find materials and get cores so you can add buildings to the Bastion which if you don’t you an’t upgrade anything, or buy anything. This is quite a fun game and well worth the cheap priced I got it for of $5.09 on Steam which cost me about as much as an iphone case. It’s still only $14.99 full price I believe, which is worth it.

EDIT: Forgot to mention this in the gameplay, but it is VERY important info IMO. The game at default uses the keyboard/mouse control system. It does however offer the abilit to use a gamepad. Personally, I am using a PS3 controller with motioninjoy set to the 360 config. It is set up to work with a Microsft/360 controller by the way the buttons are displayed in game. HAven’t tried to configure it as a PS3 controller since almost none of the games work right if you do, but it is HIGHLY recommended that you use a controller. Wtihout a controller movement is rather limited and the combat becomes quite a bit more difficult.

I would say this game deserves about 8/10 as a final score. TOTALLY worth it if you get it on sale for Steam, and still worth it at the full price. It has a decent length main quest of over 10 hours, and it has replayability, but really only if you are interested in playing with a bit more challenge I would guess. Activating the idols makes it quite a different game experience. It has Steam Achievements as well which is another reason to keep playing obviously.

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