Initial NA Release Date: July 20, 2011
Review Date: October 15, 2015
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PC, iOS
A ¾ perspective action role-playing game with some platforming elements mixed in?
I had a tough time describing what Bastion was exactly when I first played it, but what I came up with was a 2.5D Narrated Action RPG.
Yes, narrated. Bastion has its own play-by-play commentator in a form of Rucks, a man who instructs us, a young boy only known as “The Kid” to collect the cores in order to restore what was before the Calamity which turned the entire city of Caelondia into fractures.
Presentation – When pieces of a crumbled down city form beneath your feet as you walk, you know you’ve stumbled into a pretty cool art style. Bastion’s painting like aesthetics never gets tiring to look at, areas varying from fiery plains, jungle terrains and icy paths all ironically make the aftermath of the Calamity a beautiful sight.
However, as good as the game looks—and it looks great. Bastion’s soundtrack steals the show. I found myself sometimes just walking around exploring instead of keeping on with the objective just so I could listen to the stage longer. One of the better soundtracks I’ve listened to in a while and the game’s strongest attribute in my opinion.
Gameplay – Will it be a giant hammer, a quick dagger, how about a gun or two? Bastion lets you try them all. The RPG elements come into effect with the game’s combat, which is mostly just hitting things until they die, but how you do it is the fun part. Collecting spirit particles to upgrade your arsenal and choosing the best two weapons to your liking as well as a special skill make combat a pretty smooth and fun experience. The game has pretty smart A.I. and enemy variety is also impressive as the game isn’t particularly long.
As far as getting around, I found that mobility isn’t the Kid’s strong suit as his walk speed is relatively slow, which forced me to roll often, a pretty quick method of getting around, but due to the Calamity creating gaps everywhere, falling through the cracks isn’t too difficult and gets frustrating at times.
Speaking of the Calamity, the overall story is okay at best, it’s there to serve The Kid’s mission, but one that I didn’t give much thought to. At times I felt Ruck’s plot narration was unnecessary and felt I could’ve gone without it. However, the story is not as bad as the game’s loading screens, as they show up relatively often and although not horrendously long, do chug quite a bit.
Final Impression – Fun weapons to choose from, cool upgrading system, gorgeous art style and an excellent soundtrack, Bastion packs a pretty loaded punch. Narration gets a bit much at times and stage design can get a little frustrating but neither are really game breaking. The story could’ve been better, but it doesn’t hinder from the overall experience. With exception of the loading screens, Bastion delivers a pretty stellar experience when it comes to action RPG’s. The two different endings as well as new game plus potential lend the game reason for replayability considering its relatively short length.
Ultimately Bastion’s unique art style and narration give it a cool spin on the action RPG genre, the game’s length feels just right and with fun combat and a great soundtrack, Bastion is a game I recommend for all those looking for good fun.
+ Gorgeous art style
+ Excellent soundtrack
+ Fluid action, fun weapons and upgrading system
– Uninteresting story
– Chugging loading screens
Final Score – 8.0/10 Great