The lights are on
I was a little late to the Bastion party. I picked it up during the Steam sale in August, and never really played it until a few weeks ago. I blew through the game. I went in with little expectations, and everything was surpassed. The very first time I played the game I was wandering around trying to get used to it all and almost immediately fell off of the appearing path. The narrator declared in a deadpan voice, "the Kid falls to his death." Crap. "Just kidding." And as I appeared back on the pathway I knew I was hooked. This kind of humor is carried throughout the game and one of the reasons I love it so much. I looked forward to each time the old man talked.
The husky voiced narrator is how the story is unfolded, but you're kept in the dark for most of the game as to what's actually happening. I obviously won't reveal the story, but it's set in a type of post-apocalyptic sky-land. It's like nothing I've played before, and engaged me the entire time. The gameplay is much like an older Legend of Zelda, with upgradable weapons and special abilities. The arsenal seemed a little off, however; you have four or five weapons for most of the game and at the end you suddenly seem like you get one every new level. It got slightly overwhelming with the choices at the end; with each weapon operating differently and no time to perfect how and when to use them I largely just skipped them, which seems a shame since there is some cool weaponry here.
There were some cool ideas in Bastion's execution. First, how the land appears in front of you is one of the coolest things I've seen and it never lost its novelty. The world was lush and colorful and the enemies were cleverly designed. The entire game just had a different feeling to it, and it worked. From interchangeable spirits that give you bonuses to the gods you can activate to make the game harder to play, you can customize how you want your experience to be. And I think that's impressive.
The game comes packed with a new game+ option, which I definitely plan on using in the future. I'm not certain exactly how it's operated; I don't know if I still keep the weapons or start back with just the hammer, but I think it will have the game make more sense anyway. The story is something that I honestly didn't care too much for, and is the only part of the game that underwhelmed me. The ending especially was disappointing. I heard that it was one of the most groundbreaking endings in a video game, striking people on an incredible emotional level. I thought it was cool, don't get me wrong, but it was not amazing. It seemed appropriate and fit with the game, nothing more. After such a buildup, it let me down a little.
All in all, Bastion is a game that I will recommend to anyone. It has plenty of action, a definite challenge if you beef up the bad guys, and one of the most incredible soundtracks I've heard in a long time (reminiscent of the music in Firefly). It's inexpensive, and with an eight to ten hour campaign and a new game+ it's definitely worth it. Try it out! Thanks for reading!
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