The lights are on
This generation of consoles has brought small, creative
games that specialize in being different. Most indie games, although good, have
a limited audience. Bastion broke that trend when it released to widespread
acclaim last summer.
One could be excused for confusion upon first look at
Bastion. Is a top-down isometric shooter worth such fuss?
The visuals and original soundtrack stand out
immediately. Caelondia and the Wilds are drawn in vibrant colors and gorgeous
brushstrokes. The music is strange and wonderful. With that level of sensory
inundation, Bastion has more personality than most games could ever hope for.
The most striking part of Bastion is the narrator, Rucks.
His voice could seduce Sam Elliot. Rucks comments on the story, your mistakes,
your playstyle, and just about everything in the game. It's a gimmick, albeit a
Combat, like Rucks, is also creative. There are a dozen
weapons, each unique. Try them all, as they have radically different strengths.
If you don't like any, wait a mission or two. The game doles out new weapons at
Enemy types are varied as well. Each one requires special
tactics to defeat. Be aware that certain levels are much easier with the right
loadout. Weapons that work well initially may falter against later enemies. It
sucks when your favorite weapon becomes obsolete. Also, not all weapons are
created equal. Some of them (looking at you, Brusher Spear) just suck.
Although creative, Bastion is limited. The game is about eight
hours long. There are multiple endings and "idols" to add extra difficulty, but
that's it. Bastion not nearly as fun once the initial wonder wears off.
With that said, there is a lot of wonder. The art, music,
story, and narration create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Bastion is profound, emotional, moving, heartfelt, and genuine. It has
something unquantifiable that sets it apart. Where other games feel engineered,
Bastion comes alive with an ineffable spark of life. That's why people make a
fuss about it.
Like Braid, Bastion is best described as an experience.
It's refreshing in a market oversaturated with zombies and shooters. Few games
can be called beautiful. Despite the short length and limited replayability,
this is a title I'd recommend to almost anyone. When it ended, I felt distinctly sad.
So long, Kid... Maybe I'll see you in the next one.
Pretty much summarized all my thoughts on the game. When the credits started rolling, I stood up and clapped because I walked away from the game with so much more than I was expecting. Like you said (and what I've been saying before I read this), it's not just a game. It's an experience.