Bastion Review

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Bastion Review

by Altius » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:02 pm


Released: July 2011
Platforms: Xbox/PC/Mac
Price: $14.99 OR beat the average on the Humble Indie Bundle (HIB) 5 to receive it along with 4 other games.

So you’ve been eyeing that new Humble Indie Bundle for a while now, huh? And you’ve also noticed a severe lack of Critsandvich-ness in all of those other reviews? Well, fear no more, since now you can read about why Bastion, one of the games in the bundle, is fantastic, from me, a CSn regular.

A quick note: The current average for the HIB last time I checked was $7.86. That is an insanely low price for 5 games, and I personally would urge you to pay more if you can. It supports the game developers and allows more Humble Bundles to be released for everyone. Ok, I’ll step down off the soapbox now and review the game.

Backstory: In Bastion, you play a character referred to only as “The Kid”. The game begins with the Kid waking up one day to find that the world around him has been destroyed. Apparently he is a pretty light sleeper, since he lived in the floating city of Caelondia and didn’t hear the whole darn thing fall apart. I won’t go in to the story too much, since it is one of the most moving and amazing stories I have ever experienced, and because many of the details are unknown at the beginning and become revealed to you as you play, through a narrator.

This narrator deserves special mention, because it is what sets Bastion apart from other games. As you play, the narrator comments on your actions and the events around you, slowly filling in the story. The comments are short and concise, and present the story in a way that is unintrusive, yet still engaging. It also helps that his voice is like warm butter. On pancakes. With whipped cream. Basically he has a fantastic voice. And if for some reason you desire to suppress him, you can mute the narration in the options menu, you horrible person.

Gameplay: The game plays in an isometric perspective (think Diablo or Fallout), and is fast-paced and rewarding. You unlock different weapons as you progress, and can bring any 2 with you to a level. There are a total of 11 different weapons, and each one can be upgraded with shards and materials that you collect as you play. Each weapon has 5 tiers of upgrades, and each tier allows you to pick one upgrade out of a choice of two. Basically this means that you can quickly change how a weapon is used, and the fact that you can switch between upgrades without paying more allows for versatility and ease of use. When you do use the weapons, it is guaranteed to be a blast, no matter what you choose. Each one feels great, looks great, and does something unique.

The combat is very much timing based, rewarding you for countering attacks with your shield and allowing you to dodge with a quick roll. The enemies are varied, although towards the end you will probably have figured out exactly how to deal with them. For me, the game was not incredibly difficult, but it did have some moments. If you think it is too easy, you can also unlock modifiers to the game in the form of statues. Each statue that you activate makes the game harder, yet also rewards you for the greater challenge with more XP and shards. If you are insane, you can try to beat it with all 10 statues activated in New Game plus, which is unlocked after you beat the game the first time. This mode starts you with every weapon and upgrade, and adds some unique bits of narration. Personally, I only beat the game once, since it is very story driven, but I can definitely see myself going back to it again sometime.

Design: The art and music for this game are both fantastic. Absolutely, utterly fantastic. I don’t know what else to say. Everything is beautifully imagined, and the environments are varied and incredible to look at. The music is some of the best I’ve heard in a game of recent years, and you can get it along with the game free on the Humble Bundle. Oh, and the world builds itself around you as you walk, which is pretty awesome. Be careful though; you can easily fall off the map. The penalty for that is very minor though, so even if you feel cheated when you accidentally roll or walk off, it won’t affect you in a terrible way.

I played it on Xbox, and the controls were perfect. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the PC controls, so perhaps someone could give a rundown on those below.

For anyone who thought this was TL and DR
How to Read

In closing, go buy this game. You won’t regret it. This game alone normally costs 15 dollars, and you can get it for half of that along with 4 others. What are you waiting for?

Humble Indie Bundle 5

Steam page

Thanks for reading.

Also, tell me what you like/don't like about this review, and if I should do more, or if I should go die in a hole, or what I should review next, or anything else you desire.
Last edited by Altius on Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Bastion Review

by FlamingOwlOfDeath » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:01 pm

So I got this as part of the Indie Bundle. I must say I agree with Altius, it is a truly fantastic game. While I did get it at the bargain price in the bundle, if I had known how good it would be I would have been happy to pay the full Steam price. Hey, I have even been listening to the soundtrack all afternoon--if you haven't listened it is a bit reminiscent of Firefly/Serenity, but more fanciful (trust me, just go listen to a bit).

Anyway, the real reason I am responding to this thread is to comment a bit on the PC controls. For the most part they were straightforward--the game tells you what to do as you go along. The way it denoted L and R mouse was a bit odd at first, but as soon as I figured out what it meant it was no big deal. I was also confused the first time I picked up a new weapon: it zooms to the bottom right of the screen (sort of your weapon toolbar) and makes it look like you can click and change weapons. So I tried to do that--no go. Basically, things like changing weapons or upgrading them can only be done at certain locations within the Bastion. It would have been helpful to have this told to you, since I spent some time fruitlessly clicking around my backpack trying to make certain items do ANYTHING.

The only other think that I found somewhat annoying was that for large chunks of many levels the Kid moves in sort of a diagonal direction. Now I understand that this would be easy with a joystick, but on a keyboard it means holding down two keys at once to get him to go in a straight line. Once again, minor complaint but kind of irritating at times, especially when the path got small and it was easy to fall off.

Overall, I am really enjoying the game. None of the problems I have mentioned have deterred me from playing, but I wanted to give some feedback on the PC version. Happy gaming!
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Re: Bastion Review

by medkitz » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:40 pm

FlamingOwlOfDeath wrote:So I got this as part of the Indie Bundle.

I gave like 3 copies of these at like 3 dollars each during Christmas away. Also I got my irl best friend the game + Soundtrack lol. :roll:
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Re: Bastion Review

by VoltySquirrel » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:38 am

I think I've made my thoughts on this game well known: it's just okay.
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Re: Bastion Review

by Vivi Hill » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:42 pm

Excellent, accurate review. I really liked this game. I played it on PC, and am happy to say the controls were excellent, controlled with keyboard and mouse in a good, intuitive fashion.

Another thing you might want to add: the (full, I think) game is free on the Chrome browser, so you can try it out before getting a more efficient version: ... pokoefkgid ... It runs quite well but I would recommend getting the full version since it will have a higher frame rate using the XNA version.
"Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect." --Benny Hill
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