Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review: Bastion

Bastion is an action adventure game developed by Supergiant Games and published by Warner Brother Interactive. It's features include: arcade style combat, full voice narration, base building, player tailored difficulty, mini-challenges and much more. Released as an indie developed game, Bastion was created with a small team and minimum budget.

Bastion is set after an apocalyptic event called the Calamity. The Calamity has either destroyed or warped what remains of a once populated and industrious world. Players assume the role of "the Kid", a young soldier who survived the Calamity, and now ventures to learn the truth and to restore the bastion - a beacon of hope in a broken world. Along the way you will meet other surivors, like the wise narrator Rucks, former ambassador Zulf and outcast Zia. As Rucks narrates, the Kid moves from area to area recovering artifacts to restore the bastion.

Gameplay is arcade style, with players choosing weapons, weapon skills, alcoholic passive buffs and enemy difficulty scaling. Weapons in Bastion have an associated challenge area and prizes are won with each level of difficulty. Increasing game difficulty, through a set of god idols, also scales currency rates and XP bonuses. Players have a shield for both defense and counter attack, and an evading roll to tumble out of danger. The action is fast paced, but for the majority of the game players can go at their own speed, taking their time and planning their next fight.

Bastion's music, art design and narration are delightful, making Bastion a very unique experience. As an indie development, Bastion really showcases how much quality you can deliver with a minute budget and small development team. It is also unique in the way it hands gameplay decisions over to the player, a very interesting design choice, trusting the player to tailor their own experience.

The game does have a few minor faults, some difficulty choices make certain weapons generally useless; for example, close range melee weapons are handicapped once the monsters have contact and explosive damage upgrades. Bastions also tends to rely heavily on static turret based monsters, I would have appreciated more lively encounters similar to the first and last quarter of the game.

Bastion is a solid gaming experience, a tour de force for Supergiant Games and independent game development. Bastion's storyline delivery is quite unique, and all types of gamers should enjoy Bastion's adventure, story and arcade style combat.

Bastion is available on Steam and a wide variety of other platforms here.


Note: This is a review of the PC version of Bastion using mouse and keyboard.

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