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For those who haven't completed Bastion: beware of spoilers ahead.
The end of Bastion relies heavily on the theme of choices. One choice at the end of the game is what to do with Zulf. He’s one of the few survivors of the natural disaster known as the Calamity. Zulf joins you after you find him hopelessly staring at the sky, surrounded by petrified people who weren’t as lucky. Zulf eventually discovers that the Calamity was Caelondia’s attempted genocide of his people, the Ura. Outraged by this, he sabotages the Bastion and unites the Uras to destroy it further.
The last level brings you to the remnants of the Ura civilization, where you fight to try to obtain something that will heal the Bastion. There I found some of the toughest enemies in the entire game. At this point I could hit very hard, but so could they. It hit that sweet spot between providing a challenge and frustration. But when I got my hands on that Battering Ram, things changed.
The Battering Ram is in a class of its own. Unlike every other weapon, this one is two handed and can only be used during the final level. Even though it is slow and unwieldy, it packs a crazy punch – one that is needed toward the end of Bastion. It tears through previous bosses, who spawn as minions near the end, with ease. Likewise, the Ura no longer pose any threat, despite them being competent and impressive foes earlier.
Eventually, you come across Zulf being betrayed by his fellow Uras. It is then you have a choice: keep the Batter Ram and continue on, or set it down and save Zulf. Killing him was a very compelling choice, as he caused a great deal of trouble. But I was feeling forgiving during my first playthrough of Bastion, and chose to save him. I regretted my choice just about as soon as I made it. I was sure I had just doomed myself to miserably difficult fights.
When you pick up Zulf, you walk just as slow as when you had the Battering Ram, but with the complete opposite effect. Enemies used to be defenseless against your attacks; now you’re the defenseless one. All you can do it trudge on as the Uras attack you. It’s confusing. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do something eventually, if I would die, if someone would save me, or any other possibility. I was sure I was about to die, but then something happens: the Ura soldiers eventually stop attacking you, and just watch.
Even though it is not the final choice you make in Bastion, it is the one that I think back on more than the others, especially since it varies so much to the alternative.
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