Bastion Review – The Beautiful World Of Calamity

Bastion unclothes an Action RPG title for the Xbox Live Arcade which shows that the Microsoft arcade offerings are truly unique and unforgettable in offering uniquely creative content. Now announced exclusively on Steam as well, Bastion makes its debut to PC users. Supergiant Games’ Bastion is one of these examples of a title that does this for the Xbox Live Arcade to some degree minus a few blemished gameplay elements, but one that still provides a level of a journey with a reactive narrator that is hard to forget.  A lot of gamers take arcade titles for granted, and yet Bastion stands as an example where there are beautiful artwork pieces and audio directional cues which create a lively hand-painted journey. From this, places and levels of hand-paint art style décor with suppositious wonder come forth from Bastion.

Bastion begins with Kid, waking up, similar to Limbo’s unnamed boy in the forest narrative, while the world around Kid is crumbling with rocky formations, eroding at parts, and revealing a journey that will not be an easy one. A soft voice narrates the sequence as he wakes, and realizes he has to escape and create a world of Bastion as a line of rocky-formation defense craftily adjoined to the word of the same meaning. The landscape while calamitous is gorgeously beautiful and is the first thing to discover of the storyline, which blends in perfectly to the narration by Logan Cunningham. Bastion’s storyline is uniquely inventive and definitely one which contributes to a title with a unique perspective to offer of the world.

Bastion is primarily a bridge linear gameplay structure with certain elements of a platformer. In certain levels, players can fall between levels if they do not choose to fly to a specific point of the countryside of Bastion to collect pieces of the Calamity to create a safe haven against the unknown destructive forces of the world. This is truly a design perspective which is unique in its own right. Enemy types are the primary weaknesses of the gameplay for Bastion. Kid usually goes against a lot of great looking foes, but half of them are forgettable and attack types are lacking, where there is a unique method to every enemy or tactic. Most enemies might have specific ways to kill them, yet this presents an unbalanced wave of enemies where difficulty is based on enemy number and types of special powers given to enemies. Enemies do not have a precise individuality, and this is usually lacking in repetition of the elements of the world.

The narrator provides constant storyline pacing, which improves gameplay a lot because the narrator highlights details players might miss in terms moving forward in a level or defeating certain enemy types. As players traverse the land, multiple systems have been placed to allow players to customize weapons, add passive special skills, secret spells, and most of all allow a leveling system. Weapons include ranged weapons to even hammers and crossbows along with other surprises along the way. The various systems in Bastion are flawlessly designed, where the Distillery adds passive skills using potion bottles that are discovered, the Forge allows weapon customization using crystalline elements, scattered books provide special spell moves, and finally the leveling system heightens the rewards and allows for a difficulty meter for greater rewards. The designed system elements in the core of Bastion’s gameplay mechanics are well executed and serve a great purpose. The narrator brings a remarkable descriptor style of gameplay, decorating Bastion with lively character statue short stories and much more.

Bastion’s breathtaking art direction should really be applauded, and designer Jen Zee did a great job putting it all together.  The musical score is also a memorable one, offering a general sense of timing and flow of every piece, giving a real launch into certain levels and tempos in pizzicato.

Bastion is a memorable world, despite its lack of memorable enemies or a real threatening force. Surprisingly, even without this, Bastions triumphs in creating a title with a level of humanity that is memorable as it is another Xbox Live Arcade title that gamers must definitely try out at the very least at a friend’s house if they have any doubts in buying it. Bastion’s art direction is pristine and while the Bastion world has its mindless hack-and-slash issues, it is a world that should be seen.

I'm all about one thing: reviews that are easy to understand and make sense of.

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