We talked about (and argued, but it’s been lost to the archives) Halo 4 on the podcast but have yet to commit anything to digital ink, as it were. This is because Halo 4 felt like it deserved a bit more than a gut reaction to gameplay and graphics. This deserved some inspection into story and polish. 343 did not have it easy here, they were following in the footsteps of a highly vaunted developer in Bungie. This is the company that along with Epic lifted the XBox up into new heights. 343 had to come in and not just keep a series fresh, but make make it their own without pissing off legions of fans. Did they accomplish this task? You’ll have to read on.
“Yeah, you clicked on the link. You started to read a review hoping to understand a little about this game Bastion. As you read the words you begin to realize that this review may not be what you expected, where are the ratings, the listed points. The reader definitely feels a little out of place, but as the last few words hit their eyes they push forward.”
In Bastion you play “The Kid”. A born fighter who lives in the aftermath of the calamity. If this reviews opening was any clue, in Bastion, your entire life is narrated. When you wake up, when you go nuts breaking jars, when you die, when you change weapons. All of these things come with the comfort and soul of the unnamed narrator, voiced by Logan Cunningham. The music and scenery falls into place piece by piece as you walk through wilds outside of bastion. The point of the game, at least at first, is to collect pieces of the core and build up your home town. This allows you to grow your arsenal, modify it and add potions. As the game goes on and you build more of Bastion out, more pieces and upgrades are unlocked.
The fighting is hack and slash in Zelda-esque way. All of the weapons feel unique. I’ll be honest I didn’t notice the upgrades affecting the weapons power too much, but the difficulty also begins to crank up along with the weapons. It may have just kept things even as opposed to the upgrades not doing much. The varied amounts and kinds of enemies keeps your fighting style on your toes and prevents boredom from creeping in.
Your load out includes three slots, two of them are for your weapons and the third is for a special. Your weapon load out will include ranged and melee weapons. Things like a revolver, a machete, a hammer and a bow. The revolver will help with some auto-aiming and fires relatively rapidly but at a low power. The bow powers up depending on how long you hold the button and the machete included a ranged throw, while the hammer…well it hammers things. I found the best plan is to choose two-three weapons and stick with them. You’ll be able to upgrade the weapons as you go. My favorites were the machete and bow. The machete is fast and the bow has good power. Allowing you to stay at a range and unload and when things get close you have the speed to take them out fast.
Bastion is the first game of the fabled summer of arcade on XBOX Live and if this is the sign of games to come, we are in for one hell of a summer. The gameplay is fun, the atmosphere is calming and the narration adds a layer that makes the game that much more engrossing. The cost is 1200 fake microsoft dollars, otherwise known as $15 in the real world. To let you in on my final thoughts I will quote a conversation Scott and I had over Microsoft messaging:
Scott: “Do I want to buy Bastion?”
Scott: “Direct and to the point.”
Also, if you pickup every game in the summer of Arcade, next up is Dust, you get a free copy of Crimson Alliance. So download and enjoy.