Thursday, April 5, 2012


I'm going to kick things off by saying that Bastion may very well be the most impressive game I've played in a very long time. It's a perfect example of a game that didn't try to do too much, and therefore did everything exactly right.  The driving force of Bastion's impressive quality is something I really admire in a game: the warm fuzzy feeling that the game wants nothing more than for you to enjoy it (more on that later). Also, there's something to be said about a game where you honestly can't decide if it's strongest suit is the incredibly riveting storytelling style (The game is narrated real-time by a man that I wish I could pay to read me bedtime stories), the stunning art style of a world torn to pieces, or the gameplay that was polished to a mirror sheen that rivals the reflectivity of Picard's magnificent bald pate. 
Game Quality:
So,  more on that quality I was talking about. Many games feel like they're forcing you to enjoy the game by negative reinforcement. Through many small efforts, Bastion feels like everything its doing is for YOUR enjoyment, and if you choose to not utilize a particular aspect, nothing is withheld from you. Example: where most games would encourage you to explore by placing the best items in obscure areas, Basion also makes all the items you missed via exploration available at the 'lost in found' after the level is completed. And guess what? I still explored every corner of every map, cause I WANTED to. Increasing difficulty via the shrine is optional, and for your enjoyment. You are rewarded, but not with anything that couldn't be obtained through other means. Point is, everything you use in the game, you do because you WANT to. I never once felt bullied into using all of the gameplay mechanics, which happens more often than I'd like with most games.

Gameplay Overview:
Since I can't much cover the story without ruining it, and I don't have much to say for the art besides 'holy pretty batman!', I'll take some time to chat about the Gameplay. Bastion is an isometric hack and slash that sports some pretty slick gameplay augmentations. Its weapon collection/upgrade system is simplistic and efficient; Each weapon is unique, and designed to be fun in a different way. While I did have my favorites, I didn't get the feeling that everyone would choose the same weapons. Game difficulty is unique in that it can be controlled via a 'shrine' where you activate different idols, making your enemies more powerful and the rewards more lucrative. The 'distillery' is a new take character upgrades, and is surprisingly complex when it comes to testing different combinations.

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