When you blend a sublime artistic style with deep and engaging gameplay you have the ability to make a lasting impression. Bastion from Supergiant Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment not only creates a lasting impression, but it offers and opportunity for gamers to escape into an enchanting and wondrous game world. While the art style may be striking, how does this Action RPG stand up against its peers?
Bastion Got Right
Captivating Art - One look at Bastion and you are immediately drawn into the world thanks to the gorgeous art on display. Every asset has been lovingly hand-crafted to perfection, whether it be the environments themselves or the multitude of enemies you will find along your quest. Special mention should be made to the subtle, yet impressive effects such as foliage and remnants of destruction that you will see throughout many of the environments. The art almost acts as a character of it own - the great use of colour really adds some emotional context to the game.
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The Narrator - Bastion has a rather quirky feature; the entire story is told by a narrator. This isn't just a standard narrator that might chime in at scripted sections, but the narrator follows your every move and provides commentary dependent on your actions. If you fall off the edge you can bet the narrator is going to have something to say about it, kill a bunch of enemies with a hand grenade and the narrator will applaud your actions. The fact that the narrator is a dynamically changing entity goes a long way to creating a unique and interesting narrative.
Soundtrack - Bastion boasts a varied and fantastic soundtrack that features a multitude of musical styles that slowly seep their way into your brain. While the music never manages to stand out, by the time the end credits roll you'll be humming the tunes at your desk for days on end. We suggest picking up the soundtrack which is also available on Steam to cure that problem.
Weapons, Spirits and Idols - You'll find more than your standard hack and slash weapons in Bastion which adds a great amount of depth to the frantic combat. You'll come across a number of great weapons such as dual revolvers, swords, muskets and bows which all add to create a varied system. When you match that with a number of spirits that offer different abilities, upgrades for your weapons and idols that offer bonuses at a cost you have a highly customisable arsenal at your disposal.
Replay Value - Bastion gives you plenty of reasons to come back again and again. Featuring a full leader board allowing you to compete against friends for the best score, two endings to make your way through, a number of proving ground sections and dream segments to complete there is plenty of content on offer. The inclusion of idols; statues that provide you with bonuses such as more XP for kills at a cost for faster enemies offer a new kind of challenge for gamers as they come back again and again.
What Bastion Got Wrong
The Calamity Failed - Bastion tells the tale of "The Calamity" that destroyed the world, however at times the story seems a little deficient in context . The player is moving through to rebuild The Bastion however we never really seem to connect with what life was like before the event, and it lacks the weight needed to create a real emotional connection. That's not to say the story is bad, it gets the job done but it feels like a missed opportunity.
The Final Verdict
Bastion provides an unforgettable experience that uses art and music to create a magical and wondrous experience. With deep and varied combat mechanics, and plenty of replay value Bastion is definitely one of the most enticing titles available this year, and would have to be in contention for game of the year. Supergiant and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have released a true gem in Bastion, a title that will continue to impress for quite some time.
By Stephen Heller
Published Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Windows PC, Xbox Live Arcade
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MMGN game reviews are rated out of 5 stars