Bastion – Mini Review

Bastion launched for the Xbox Arcade, July 20, 2011, as part of their summer arcade lineup.  There has been some buzz about this game when it was first revealed for its colorful visuals and unique narrative style.  Bastion is simply a marvel.  Watercolors and floating islands that form right under your feet, scatter the landscape as a gruff voice reminiscent of Jet from Cowboy Bebop narrates your adventure as you undertake it.  The style of game play is defiantly a throw back to the Super Nintendo era of video games as you brawl your way through enemies and upgrade your weapons.  It is truly a unique experience.

The narrator is what separates this game from hundreds of others.  As you pick up a weapon he talks about it, as you kill a giant boss he tells of your epic fight and victory.  The deep voiced man quite literally narrates your adventure as you play the game.  The floating landscape that forms up under your feet also helps play into this story telling vibe.  It feels like you are playing a story and it is being created as you play.

Combat in Bastion is simple and satisfying.  You obtain many a weapon along your journey, but you may only equip two.  Weapons vary greatly from one another from a crushing hammer to a machete that slashes foes to ribbons, while also serving as a ranged weapon.  Upgrades also differ enough to warrant multiple changes to your weapons to see what style you enjoy the most.  The combat can become tiresome though as nothing really changes along the way only the weapons help freshen up the experience.
Besides the main quest there are a few challenges you can do that require you to have mastered your weapon to the fullest.  These are usually quick easy distractions that are only a momentary detour to your main quest.  The main quest is what will keep you playing this relatively short game.  The quest of “The Kid” and his goal to help repair the Bastion and the mystery behind the Calamity are what will engage you into this title’s tale.

Bastion is a fresh take on an old formula that simply works.  The addition of a narrator is a risk that more games need to take.  This delightful title is well forth its price tag and should at least be experienced if you are nostalgic to the Super Nintendo era or are intrigued by its unique mechanics.  Be sure to check it out.

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