Bastion: A Review

Reviewed by Vladi

(Bastion Trailer)

Kid knows he’s the bee’s knees. He knows his game plays like a Caelondia tune on a fine-strung harp, and he don’t need to tell you twice. Hell, even once is one too many.

Ladies, bottom dwellers, and gentlemen, today we look at Supergiant Games’ Bastion. Bastion is an indie production developed in 2010. The game had much critical acclaim as it came out. It won the Game Critics Award at E3 for Best Downloadable Game, and was nominated for the Best Original Game at the same event. It continued to receive nominations, primarily for creativity and best soundtrack. All of them are well earned, as we are about to take a look at this beauty.

Bastion’s an action RPG set in in the fantasy world of Caelondia. Our story starts  as the Calamity has destroyed much of the known world. The floating cities of Caelondia have mostly all sunk. With civilization in tatters, the world is once again a savage garden, with monsters and bandits running amok, it resembles a very western Wild West. Our main protagonist is the Kid, a white-haired little bad-ass in rusty armor.

Kid means business.”

He remains entirely silent throughout this game. Our story is told entirely through our dynamic narrator, Rucks. Rucks has this amazingly bad-ass voice. It’s like a husky, Clint Eastwoodish, Film Noire voice. And the lines are written accordingly for it. I remember first playing this game, and a couple of minutes in, I more or less kept playing because I just wanted to listen to this guy say stuff. It’s really entertaining, and it really sets the mood/tone for the game. I’ve never before been impressed by a voice in a game, or narration for that matter. But this game knocked it out of the park with this narrator.

Unlike most games, you don’t have to trade one good thing for another. The gameplay is a lot of fun. You walk around platforms and use an arsenal of weapons to fight through levels. You have a good variety of weapons, all of which can be upgraded and equipped in different slots. The vista of possibilities really makes the gameplay enjoyable all throughout the game. If you get bored with one style, or it simply isn’t your thing, you can switch up your weapon slots, and thus change your approach to the combat. The customization is baffling in its simplicity. In fact, that is something I am going to come back to again and again with this game. Everything is very simple. It’s easy to do, and it provides for fun gameplay. You don’t have to spend hours learning how to play this game, you just pick it up and have fun. No need for tutorials or try-harding here.

“Kid needs to pick out his tools for pwnage. Folk in Caelondia loved killing things.”
“Now that the kid has something to pwn with, he needs to pimp it out. People in Caelondia loved pimpin’ their somethings.”

You’re also given one more way to customize your experience. We’re given the Distillery. Here you can activate potions you’ve managed to collect or buy along your adventure, which give you some form of enhancement. The cool thing about it is that there are sometimes trade-offs. You’ll get one good affect with a bad one. The Deardrum, for example, will give you 100% critical strike, but you have to be at 100% health to use it, making you have to play with great care and stealth. The Leechade will give you life-steal on strikes, but it will reduce Tonic potency by 66%, making you rely on your brute combat skill instead of special abilities. You have figure what kind of customization goes well with your style, or if fail that, just what would be pure fun.

“Kid has to choose his poison. Folk in Caelondia sure loved a drink.”

Now, if having an awesome Noire Clint Eastwood voice isn’t giving you an eargasm just yet, take this in. The soundtrack of this game is OUUUUUUUUTTTTTT offffff THISSSSS WOOOORRRRLLLLLDDDD! I don’t mean the ‘out of this world’ type where you youtube the first and last track once in a blue moon. I mean every single track on the list is off the hinges. Not only does it unhinge doors in every scene of the game, but it’s also addictively awesome to listen on its own. There’s a great versatility in the song roster. You get folk,  a bit of rock, some middle eastern tunes and everything in between. Just this crazy variety of sound and style you wouldn’t expect in just one game, or from just one composer. Darren Korb‘s the man. Between him and Logan Cunningham (Rucks), you’re in for an audiogasm.

Here’s a little sampler of the OST:

Honestly, in good conscience I can say that this is one of the best games I’ve ever played. At least one of the best all-around games. Nothing about it is strictly revolutionary, but it just does everything really, really well. You have gameplay that is engaging, entertaining, and easy to pick up. You have colourful and beautifully designed levels to draw you into the world that literally assemble before you as you discover them. You have a good story to keep you going. You have this great soundtrack to accompany your gaming experience, coupled with a narrator which adds all the colour and shading needed to give that extra dimension. Hands down, one of the best games created recently. I am not often impressed with games. There’s a lot of them that I like playing, or enjoy from time to time. But this game definitely did enough things right to earn my eternal props (can you really hope for more in life?) Definitely an amazing experience. Give Gaben your money and go download now!

Go on, Kid, give it a try.

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